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Builders call for new CommunityBuilder grants


Master Builders is calling on the Federal Government to fund a new initiative, CommunityBuilder Grants, in the October Federal Budget to activate the construction of community and non-for-profit facilities, in its Pre-Budget Budget Submission released today.

“We are calling for the Federal Government to adapt the highly effective HomeBuilder scheme model to do for the commercial construction sector what they done for the housing sector,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Commercial construction activity will suffer a major fall of more than 17% in 2020/21 according our latest forecasts,” she said.

“This will put under the viability of thousands of SME commercial construction businesses and the jobs of the thousands of tradies they employ, unless the Government steps in with measures such as CommunityBuilder,” Denita Wawn said.

“We propose that CommunityBuilder would involve the Federal Government providing applicants from the not-for-profit and community sector with grants to fund 25% of the construction, up to a capped amount for example $5 million, for facilities such as community centres, toilet blocks, libraries and training centres,” she said.

“Grant recipients could supplement CommunityBuilder grants with state and local government grants, but they would need to come up with the rest of the funds. Grant recipients with ‘skin in the game’ increases the impact of taxpayer’s stimulus measures and ensures projects will be constructed with value for money in mind,” Denita Wawn said.

“Our modelling shows that an investment of $3.8 billion in CommunityBuilder would return a $6.8 billion boost to GDP and create 13,000 new jobs,” she said.

Since the onset of the pandemic the Prime Minister has always advanced the protection of jobs as his highest priority. The Governor of the Reserve Bank has consistently shared the PM’s sentiment and he reinforced it again on Friday when he told the Parliament that government’s should more worried about unemployment than anything else and that “fiscal spending with get people back to work”.

“Our industry has more businesses on JobKeeper than any other sector of the economy and Master Builders is gravely concerned about their continuing viability and the livelihoods of the people they employ,” Denita Wawn said.

“That is why we are calling on the Government to including funding of our the CommunityBuilder grants proposal in the October Budget. As the sector with the third largest economic multiplier effect in the economy, commercial construction is vital to building a bridge to economic recovery and saving jobs,” Denita Wawn said.

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