The construction industry in Australia has welcomed the Coalition victory in the federal election, but challenged the new government to put in place long term policies to underpin a sound economy and a strong building sector.

In a statement, Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch has challenged the new government to adopt measures to put the economy on the right track ‘not just for the next three years but for the next three decades’.

“The building and construction industry looks to the Abbott Government to put as a high priority sound economic management, a return to sensible industrial relations policies, bringing back the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and dealing with the under supply of housing and the issue of housing affordability” Harnisch says.

“The normalisation of engagement with the business sector should be another high priority that should include wide consultation, the preparation of rigorous and transparent regulatory impact statements and proper parliamentary scrutiny for the introduction of new legislation. This is crucial to restoring business confidence.”

Harnisch’s comments were echoed by Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Officer Innes Willox, who paid tribute to the work of the Rudd/Gillard government in areas such as developing business capabilities, building networks and linking business and research organisations and improving Australian Industry Participation but says Australia needs to do more in areas such as workplace relations; education and training; taxation; the high regulatory burden on business; infrastructure; secure, affordable, sustainable energy; and business innovation.

“Tony Abbott won broad community support for the Coalition’s ambitious agenda and business wishes him well as he takes on the role of Australia’s 28th Prime Minister”  Willox said in a statement.

Building and industry excitement over the Coalition win follows the release last week by Master Builders of a ‘scorecard’ ranking major party policies against 13 key criteria relevant to the building and construction industry, which showed overwhelming support for the Coalition’s policies but a flat rejection of those of the ALP.

Whilst the Coalition’s victory is positive from an employer perspective, however, it is not welcome news for building industry unions, and more than likely will cause some concern amongst the industry’s workforce.

In an earlier message prior to the election, Construction, Forestry. Mining and Energy Union President Dave Noonan wrote to union members urging them to ‘vote for your rights’ and warned an Abbott government would reintroduce the ABCC, place fewer restrictions on the 457 visa system and remove important worker protections under the Fair Work Act.

“Tony Abbott is not a man who cares about working people” Noonan says. “His fluoro vests and hard hats are simply fancy dress. He is determined to fight our efforts to create a better life for working people at every turn.”