The 2020 Federal Budget, delivered early in October, does little to support apprentices in the long term and is a missed opportunity to spark a construction boom, says the CFMEU National Construction Division.
"Construction of social and build-to-rent housing would stimulate the economy and create jobs today," says Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary, "long before the infrastructure spending announced in the budget comes to fruition."
Noonan points out that economists, unions, industry and the wider community have been calling for investment in social and affordable housing as a powerful stimulus measure that would create jobs, put money into local communities and address Australia's affordable housing crisis.
"It is disappointing that the Government's ideological aversion to social and affordable rental housing has clouded its judgement," he adds.
"The Morrison Government may favour homeowners over renters, but with one-third of Australian households now renting, it is time for [Government] to accept that it is a significant and growing part of the housing market requiring reform to ensure its affordability."
On the budget's announcement regarding apprenticeships, Noonan says ,"The wage subsidy for apprentices is only available during the first year of the apprenticeship, which raises the question of whether employers will take on new apprentices without a guarantee of future work.
"If the Government is serious about supporting apprentices in construction, it needs to change procurement guidelines in the Building Code to require the employment of apprentices on Federal Government funded projects."