Stable migration setting crucial to boosting building activity says HIA

THE HOUSING Industry Association (HIA) has put its opinion forward on the need for the Federal Government to form a "well-rounded" migration policy.

“It is time for the Federal Government to form a well-rounded and integrated immigration policy, as part of an overall population policy, based on need, instead of being driven by an artificial cap on migration,” HIA deputy managing director for industry and policy, Jocelyn Martin said today.

“A strong building industry is a crucial driver of a strong economy. It creates jobs, trains apprentices, drives wider economic growth and builds communities,” Ms Martin said.

“The building industry employs one in 10 Australians and had helped pull the national economy out of its first recession in nearly 30 years. Today’s building activity figures confirm the market is still strong but will start trending downwards in 2023.

“Over the past two years the industry has had a roller coaster ride along with the rest of the economy. From activity stalling at the start of the pandemic, to the biggest boom on record, building activity is set to contract again during 2023 due to the rapid increase in interest rates," Ms Martin said.

“Australia’s population is ageing, and we have an acute shortage of skilled trades, also the downturn in migration has meant that the population needed to stimulate supply of housing has dropped.

“An ageing population means natural increases in Australia’s population continue to be well below a replacement or growth figure, meaning migration is critical to make up the shortfall.

“A return to stable population growth, with a focus on attracting skilled workers creates economic growth and can facilitate an improvement in productivity and participation across the economy.

“Population growth should not be used to grow the economy just simply to increase activity," Ms Martin said.

“As outlined in our pre-budget submission it is vital that governments of all levels prepare for future economic growth by increasing the supply of land, above the undersupply of the past decade, to accommodate future economic growth.

“We have seen over the past decade a number of ad-hoc cuts to immigration based on the false premise that infrastructure bottlenecks, commuter congestion and stretched education resources are somehow the fault of migration rather than poor planning.

“In its pre-budget submission, the HIA has expressed a willingness to work with all levels of government in 2023 to ensure the nation’s immigration policies deliver benefits, not detrimental impacts, to current and future generations of Australians wanting to buy their own home,” Ms Martin said.



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