On balance, the Budget should have a positive impact on the building and construction industry, but not without pain.
Overall, the Government’s roadmap to structural budget repair and a return to surplus should be a positive for business, home-buyer and investor confidence, despite the temporary Deficit Levy.
The building and construction industry particularly welcomes the Government’s $50 billion infrastructure package.
But roads are not everything and the Government will need to focus on broadening infrastructure investment to include urban investment in the post-Budget period.
Master Builders welcomes the cut in company tax while recognising that many small building firms are not incorporated.
In contrast, Master Builders is deeply concerned about the negative impact of several initiatives on the building and construction industry.
The cessation of funding for the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) makes it doubly important for the Government to find more effective methods of tackling the lack of housing supply and providing more affordable social housing.
The cessation of funding for the Tools For Your Trade program is disappointing but is offset by the Trade Support Loans for apprentices.
The phasing out of skills programs such as the Apprenticeship Mentoring Program and the National Workforce Development Fund is another disappointment which will place pressure on the Government to implement a viable apprenticeship reform program to guarantee a skilled workforce for the future.
The imposition of the fuel levy will hit tradies particularly hard because of the amount of travel they undertake. Their increased transport costs will be passed on to the consumer.
As the Treasurer has acknowledged, this Budget is “just the start” and Master Builders is looking to the Government for more detail of its National Economic Strategy in coming weeks.