The Housing Industry Association and Master Builders have welcomed a recent announcement by the Western Australian state government to allocate $47.6 million in its upcoming budget to address the housing challenge. Aiming to boost the skilled residential construction workforce, and recognising the urgent need for skilled workers to meet the demand for housing in the state, the proposed measures have been highly praised.
Budget incentives to attract workers to the building and construction sector
The budget is scheduled to be allocated in several key ways, including:
- Initiatives to incentivise and attract workers to the state's building and construction sector.
- Increase the Base Employer Grant for third- and fourth-year apprentices by $26.9 million, and
- Offer a one-time completion payment of $2000 to encourage apprentices to finish training.
It has been acknowledged that Western Australia needs to attract approximately 55,000 workers, including 26,000 tradies and Western Australian painters, by November 2026 to tackle the building crisis.
To further assist, $2.7 million will be allocated to expedite occupational licensing approvals, and $11 million will be channelled towards visa subsidies up to $10,000, placing Western Australia as the preferred destination for skilled migrants, and helping employers fill vacant positions. Training Minister Simone McGurk expressed confidence in the newly announced migration initiatives.
Master Builders executive director John Gelavis said, “Construction is the backbone of the Australian economy, employing approximately 1.3 million people, providing infrastructure, commercial and community buildings, and homes for the growing population.”
Hopes to alleviate supply-demand pressures on housing market
The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has joined in the conversation, reconfirming the ongoing issue of supply in the property market. Facing an acute housing challenge and an urgent need to assist in the delivery of 21,500 homes currently under construction, the recently announced government initiatives have been greeted with positivity and were seen as crucial steps in addressing the existing supply-demand imbalance. Growth in population in the state coupled with delays in building completion, and labour and material shortages are having a flow on effect the housing market is hoping will be alleviated soon.
Housing Minister John Carey has again emphasised the government's commitment to the industry and to boosting housing choice with the increase of the supply of social housing. The government's measures to invest in the residential construction workforce are expected to have a positive impact on the housing supply, working to alleviate the housing challenge in Western Australia. With a future seeing an increase in the availability of skilled workers and migrants as well as an influx in apprentices, these state-wide initiatives are a step in the right direction.