HIA welcomes focus on skill shortages, labour supply

March 22, 2024 BY

HIA managing director Jocelyn Martin is pleased the ministers have pledged to make labour and skills shortages a key area of focus in the National Skills Agreement.

With the recent release of the HIA New Home Sales report showing an increase in sales of new homes lifting by 5.3 per cent off the back of months of slowing sales, it is timely that labour and skills shortages are being discussed at a strategic level.

Federal, state and territory Skills and Training Ministers have been in talks with industry associations and have relayed to the HIA that they recognise the critical impact that labour supply and skills shortages is having on the building industry.

HIA managing director Jocelyn Martin said her association was pleased the ministers had pledged to make these issue a key area of focus in the National Skills Agreement.

“Labour, along with supply chain problems, is one of the top issues now facing the building industry in Australia, and no stone should be left unturned to increase workforce capacity and skills shortages if we are to reach the goal of building 1.2 million homes.

“Financial incentives which encourage the employment of an apprentice and improve retention have proved invaluable to helping the construction industry to access more workers.

It has been a downward trend from the highs of 2021’s new home sales but February’s figures show a lift in sales of 5.3 per cent.


“These incentives work, without employers willing to train and support an apprentice it will be difficult to offer people a start in the industry.”

The HIA have explained to the government that often the role of an employer taking on an apprentice is missed, and it is important that the financial commitment, time and resources put into the training and development of an apprentice over the course of their apprenticeship as well as their mentoring role is recognised.

“We acknowledge the Australian Government has committed to a strategic review of the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive System which will take into consideration funding arrangements,” Ms Martin said.

“However, with submissions to the Review not due until May, presumably followed by a period of consultation, employers will be left in limbo with the current funding arrangements to cease on June 30.”

At a time when it is critical to avoid anything which will impact the ability to supply homes, HIA is encouraging the federal government to maintain the existing national funding arrangements for apprentices and employers by a further 12 months while the review is conducted.

“Labour and skills are a whole of government issue and HIA stands ready to work with government to suggest more ways to increase supply of labour to our industry, it’s only after this issue is addressed properly will there be an increase in the supply of housing and an easing the affordability problem,” Ms Martin said.