Restoring the Status of the Construction Industry

Before the advent of the disastrous bush fires and the debilitating and deadly effects of the Covid 19 lockdown, the infrastructure boom in Australia was already underway. This created the construction Paint Supplies Ipswich and demand challenges that economic authorities had correctly anticipated.

The demand for new home constructions as well as renovations on existing structures

had become the central focus for governments across the country. The main thrust was to provide sufficient workforce capability and capacity to meet the growing demand.

At that time, the national unemployment rate for the country is pegged at 4 percent, the lowest since 1974. This had played within the newly-formed Australian Labor government

whose main slogan is “creating secure well-paid jobs” and is taking its stock of current state play action the country.

Side lights

Amidst all this, there had been several reports that had been published with discussion centering on the gap between the workforce demand and supply in the infrastructure sector.

The reports include workforce and Skills Supply Report, and the Delivery Outcomes ReportInfrastructure Australia’s (IA) Infrastructure Market Capacity Report, and the Infrastructure Workforce. 

Main mechanism for job creation

The infrastructure construction sector has been the backbone of COVID-19 economic recovery, and has long been the primary mechanism for job creation, across Australia.  

Alongside Australian Rail Association’s Building Australian Rail Skills for the Future, the above reports highlighted the critical risk for the market,if immediate and intentional action is not taken to attract, retain, develop, and upskill people from all walks of life and intersections.

Australia’s IA had predicted in the past that that by mid-2023 more than 105,000 jobs could go unfilled while the governments across Australia pursue delivery of an unprecedented infrastructure pipeline worth over $200 billion in the next five years.  

IA also estimated that Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania will experience the greatest risk of labor shortages between 2021-2025. It is expected all three states will require a workforce that is approximately twice the size of the projected supply available within their borders.  


A labor supply therefore must be attracted and retained if the identified shortfall is to be addressed in the short and long-term. In this respect creating jobs is not enough. 
There was need to have that strategic focus aimed at solving the problem. 

This must be given to attracting, training, and retaining a sustainable workforce willing and able to take up these opportunities.

In Ipswich, for instance, all of these are taken into consideration in view of the fact that construction is not just any one factor that is driving the boom.On one significant part, construction does makea significant contribution to the economy of Ipswich. Its level of activity signified that it remains a buoyant sector of the economy.

The Strategy

The National Workforce Development Strategy (the Strategy) was released in March 2022 by the then Australian Government. The Strategy adds further weight to IA’s findings, citing skills and labor shortages. 

Further, new ways of working have emerged from globalization, demographic changes, technological advancement, and digitalization. These have been rapidly exacerbated due to the global pandemic.  

COVID-19 recovery

The recovery in Covid 19 had been driven by jobs and investment in infrastructure.The regional governments across Australia have leveraged investment in infrastructure to underpin the COVID-19 recovery. 

Such approaches have focused on using existing procurement mechanisms to stimulate opportunities for local people and businesses. 

For instance, in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, there had been a significant focus on apprentices, trainees, and other vocational education activities to meet the skills and jobs demand. 

At that time, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia were also looking to advance local content priorities alongside existing social procurement frameworks. Victoria, like many other jurisdictions, were then looking towards a skills focused recovery.

Victoria experienced the greatest and longest impacts of COVID-19. Together with NSW it has one of the largest infrastructure pipelines in Australia. With this, it had the most opportunity to leverage targeted, long-term investment to drive jobs and skills growth, providing social, economic and industry benefits.   

Central elements

From the Central the Government Procurement Report, there were four central elements 

that were drawn to formulate the thematic thrust of the reforms. 

First, the importance of digitalization is recognized to increasing productivity in the sector and sovereign security by building the industries capability and capability, moving to a digital by default model rather than by exception.

The second one is improving the gender diversity in the industry. This is critical to de-risking and improving the long-term sustainability and capability of industry to meet labor demand.

The third element isattracting, retaining and the development of skills of the right worker 

For the right jobs is to ensure the infrastructure workforce is well positioned to deliver on the infrastructure pipeline.

Finally, a focus on local content and providing opportunities for small to medium enterprises. This is also formed to have tier 2 and 3 contractors to expanding the available skills and resource pools.  

The Government Procurement Report identifies several of the best practice examples across Australia that are addressing these themes to reduce market risk and stimulate greater opportunities. Specific to Victoria are their procurement strategy, commercial framework, and risk allocation approaches.  

Old conditions

In the reported increases in commodity prices (especially metals), the situation is being compounded by shortages in construction materials. Previously stockpiled goods have been used, and imports are suffering from delays and increased logistics costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia’s ‘Black Summer’ bushfires in early 2020 had also created further constraints The fires destroyed a large proportion of local hardwood and softwood, driving suppliers and contractors to alternative supply routes overseas. But sourcing timber offshore has also proven challenging.  

Before the pandemic, timber imports accounted for approximately 25% of Australia’s total supply. In the current climate, these imports have dropped significantly, largely due to constraints on global freight and shipping containers.

The problem now extends beyond commodity prices and logistics. Physical demand for materials exceeds the industry’s capacity to supply. Manufacturers and suppliers using allocation systems to avoid major shortages.

At present, the volatile supply and demands regarding availabilities have already eased up in the construction industry. Things have been back to the previous growing construction demands. The shelves of construction supply shops are now filled up again including paint supplies.

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