We’re expecting an announcement soon from the federal government on how it plans to stimulate new housing construction as part of its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be critical in supporting jobs and economic activity as the economy reboots following the pandemic. Support for new housing was a key feature of our recently-released Seven Point Plan for Economic Recovery.
Residential construction is a huge jobs engine and is facing a demand ‘perfect storm’ as unemployment grows, migration plummets and confidence is understandably weak. The Property Council has argued strongly for the need for a big and bold demand stimulus to turn this situation around. The country needs housing construction to be a driver of economic recovery, not a drag on it.
We have been encouraged by the engagement we have had with the federal government to date on our proposal and the Prime Minister’s confirmation that it is considering a reform package to address this challenge. Today’s release of the March quarter GDP figures will no doubt reinforce the need for this.
Leadership from the federal government is vital, but state and territory governments will also have an essential role to play in increasing and broadening support for new builds through their own stimulus measures. This needs to be a truly national endeavour.
While we have continued our strong focus on supporting our members and industry through this period, we’ve also been taking steps to ensure the Property Council is well-positioned for the economic challenges that lie ahead.
We’ve introduced a staff interim operating model as we all adjust to the new business environment. This includes some reductions in working hours across most of our team and some redeployments within the organisation. Unfortunately this has also required temporarily standing down some of our team until we are in a position to scale up our physical events program again in line with the easing of public health restrictions.
Another difficult decision we have needed to make has been the postponement of this year’s Property Congress. Uncertainties around travel and health restrictions are just too great. We have rescheduled this signature event for our industry for Hobart in October 2021.
Hopefully by then we’ll be well and truly down the road to economic recovery and able to reflect on the tremendous resilience shown by our industry and its people.