Major parties must recommit to growth following worse than expected GDP figures

| March 6, 2019

Both major parties need to re-commit to policy agendas for economic growth following the worse than expected performance by the Australian economy in the closing months of last year, according to Master Builders Australia.

“The latest GDP figures from the ABS show that the economy grew by just 0.2% during the December 2018 quarter, a weaker result than expected,” Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said.

“Australians know that we need strong economic growth to boost living standards, provide jobs and provide the certainty and incentive for business to keep investing.

“As the nation’s second largest industry, building and construction is already a major driver of growth in the economy but worryingly, a number of components of the economy actually shrank during the quarter including new home building activity, home renovations and commercial and civil construction,” she said.

“We want both major parties to show their commitment to an economic growth at the upcoming Federal Budget so that the slide can be halted and the policies for a new period of economic growth delivered.

Ms Wawn said as the economy’s largest provider of full-time jobs, construction must be at the centre of the recovery.

“Government needs to explore ways to reduce the burden on an already heavily taxed sector, and look accelerating public works programs,” she said.

“We want to see more shovel ready infrastructure projects out the door for construction to commence not just languishing on lists.

“We want policies that will actually increase the construction of new homes and jobs in the residential building sector rather than taking them backwards.

“Stimulating building activity not only boosts demand over the short term. Well-targeted construction projects would expand the economy’s creative potential for decades to come.

“A strong construction industry builds a strong economy,” Ms Wawn said.