Business News Releases

Building approvals continue to fall as rates rise - HIA

BUILDING approvals in April 2023 remained at their lowest level in over a decade, with declines continuing for both houses and multi-units, according to Housing Industry Association (HIA) senior economist Tom Devitt.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released its monthly building approvals data for April for detached houses and multi-units covering all states and territories.

“Detached house approvals declined by 3.6 percent in the month of April and multi-units fell by 16.9 percent,” Mr Devitt said.

“On a quarterly basis, this leaves detached house approvals 15.4 percent lower than the same time the previous year, and multi-units down by 38.9 per cent.

“This continues the long-lagged response of Australian homebuyers to the RBA’s interest rate hiking cycle, with further declines expected in the coming months," he said.

“The combination of construction cost blowouts, labour uncertainties, increased compliance costs and taxes on investors has seen approvals for multi-units fall.

“These disappointing approvals numbers are occurring as population growth surges with the return of overseas migrants, students and tourists.

“This imbalance will see the affordability and rental crisis deteriorate further,” Mr Devitt said.

Total building approvals were down across all the jurisdictions in the three months to April 2023 compared to the same period last year. In seasonally adjusted terms, decreases were led by Victoria (-35.3 percent), followed by New South Wales (-28.7 percent), Western Australia (-14.6 percent), South Australia (-12.1 percent), Queensland (-4.2 percent), and Tasmania (-2.2 per ent). In original terms, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory saw declines of 49.8 percent and 27.3 percent respectively.


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Public Hearing – Australia’s Space Command and capability

THE Defence Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade will conduct its second public hearing in support of its inquiry into the Department of Defence Annual Report 2021–22 on May 30.

The Subcommittee will hear evidence from an academic panel on the inquiry’s second focus item: Space Command and capability. Witnesses will also be invited to contribute to Defence workforce recruiting and retention issues.

Chair of the Subcommittee, Julian Hill MP, said, "Space is now a contested domain. Defence must be able to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing operating environment as well as ready itself for future competition and conflict.

“Leading experts will publicly share their views on Australian Space Command’s relationship and interoperability with coalition partners, its evolving mandate, space-based operations, and its approach towards capability realisation in light of the Defence Strategic Review.”

Further information is available on the inquiry webpage.



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Workforce Australia Committee examines failures in key elements of the employment services system

THE Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services will seek evidence from key stakeholders at a public hearing in Canberra on Friday May 26, continuing its focus on people with disability and First Nations peoples.

The committee will also hear about the assistance available in Workforce Australia for people seeking self-employment, and about key issues with and opportunities to reform the jobseeker assessment process.

Committee Chair, Julian Hill MP, said, “Evidence indicates that First Nations peoples and Australians with disability are too often underserved by employment services. Reforms must fully understand the service ecosystem for these citizens, respond appropriately to their unique needs, and better connect people with employers.

“Big and interesting questions are raised by submitters regarding assessment processes. Employment services are a gateway human service, almost unique as society uses the power of the State to compel people to engage with a threat to income," Mr Hill said.

“It’s absolutely critical that the jobseeker assessment process properly identifies a person’s personal barriers and directs them to the right services and supports to become job ready. This is especially the case for disadvantaged jobseekers. Evidence suggests that current assessment tools often fail to do this. The committee is interested to learn more about best practice assessment processes used in other sectors and jurisdictions.

“Self-employment is a pathway to financial independence for many Australians, and there is evidence that participation in Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) can help build the skills and confidence of jobseekers seeking employment on the open market. It is vital that reforms to employment services consider the role of SEA, and how it and other specialised programs might be enhanced and better integrated with the broader system.”

Further information about the inquiry, including Terms of Reference, future public hearings, published submissions and hearing transcripts, is available on the inquiry website.

Public hearing details

Date               26 May 2023

Time               9am – 2.30pm

Location       Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, Canberra                           and by videoconference

Witnesses    Department of Social Services                            Department of Employment and Workplace Relations                            National Self-Employment Association                            Asuria People Services                            ABS Institute of Management                            Access Care Network Australia                            Australian Centre for Career Education                            Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation                            Yilabara Solutions

The hearing will be live broadcast via the Parliament’s Watch, Read, Listen website.



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Can AI revolutionise the three Rs?

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has launched an inquiry into the use of generative artificial intelligence in the Australian education system.

Chair of the committee, Lisa Chesters MP, said, "Artificial technologies are increasingly available in education settings, presenting both opportunities and challenges. This inquiry will examine the ways in which these technologies may impact education outcomes for students in the Australian education system.

"We will have a particular focus on the emergence of generative AI technologies, and the benefits and the risks they may hold for the Australian education system, now and into the future," Ms Chesters said.

"The committee encourages submissions from stakeholders in this field, including industry experts, researchers, educators and others interested in the issue."

More information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on making a submission, can be found on the committee website.



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Committee getting grounding in VET with NRL

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training continues to hold public hearings for its inquiry into the perceptions and status of vocational education and training (VET).

“The committee is approaching the end of the public hearings for this inquiry,” Committee chair Lisa Chesters MP said. "As part of today’s hearings, the committee will hear from the National Rugby League about its role in addressing negative perceptions of VET through the NRL-VET program.

“The hearings will also examine student experiences of VET with witnesses from the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice, Australian Industry Group and the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia,” Ms Chesters said.

More information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on upcoming public hearings, can be found on the Committee website.

Public hearing details

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2023Time: 11am to 1pmLocation: Committee Room 1S5

The hearing will be broadcast live at



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