Master Builders’ campaign opposes union bullying and changes to property taxes

Master Builders WA and national board member Robert Shaw, Master Builders WA executive director John Gelavis, Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn and Master Builders Australia president Hedley Davis at today's launch.
Master Builders WA and national board member Robert Shaw, Master Builders WA executive director John Gelavis, Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn and Master Builders Australia president Hedley Davis at today's launch.

PROPERTY taxes and union bullying in the construction industry are the two issues underpinning the Master Builders Australia election campaign, which was launched today.

The Strong Building, Strong Economy campaign calls for the support of Master Builders’ policy ‘wish list’ to back small business, stop the bullying on building sites, boost house building activity and train more apprentices.

Australia-wide advertising will focus on opposing the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and an increase in capital gains tax and restrictions on negative gearing.

“Both of these issues are of the utmost importance to our members – the builders and tradies that underpin a strong economy in cities, towns and regions around the country,” chief executive Denita Wawn said.

“Union bullying in the construction sector is not tolerated anywhere else in the community but unions persist in using bullying tactics to hold the industry and the community to ransom.

“Union bullying drives up construction costs by 30 per cent, forcing the community to pay more for schools and hospitals and other taxpayer funded infrastructure.

“Doubling capital gains tax and restrictions on negative gearing will mean that up to 42,000 new homes are not built, up to 32,000 less jobs will be created and that up to an $11.8 billion hit on the building industry will occur.”

RELATED: Reiwa says no to property tax changes

Last year Master Builders Australia commissioned Cadence Economics to review Federal Labor’s policies on negative gearing and capital gains tax and its report found the changes would lead to up to 2500 fewer homes being built in WA over a five-year period, residential building employment would be reduced by up to 2000 and output in the construction sector would drop by a further $858 million over the first five years of the policy change.

WA’s building industry is already struggling, with a trend of falling housing approvals and Master Builders WA executive director John Gelavis said the imposition of these policies would only further delay any hopes of a residential building recovery taking hold in WA.

Denita Wawn and John Gelavis in front of one of the campaign advertisements.

The building and construction industry is Australia’s second largest industry and Master Builders Australia also analysed the nation’s 150 electorates based on 2016 electoral boundaries and 2016 census data to determine the importance of the industry to local economies and communities.

They were ranked according to the proportion of people employed in the industry and three WA electorates placed in the top 10.

They were Pearce, (construction formed 12.5 per cent of total employment), Moore (12.2 per cent) and Canning (12.2 per cent).

All are currently Liberal seats.

“Our industry makes a huge contribution to a strong economy so Master Builders does not want to see economic growth put at risk by policies that give a green light to union bullying or result in less new homes being built,” Ms Wawn said.

“Both major parties boast of their plans for a strong economy.

They must acknowledge that as the nation’s second largest industry, largest provider of full time jobs and with more than 370,000 small business, a successful building and construction industry is fundamental to achieving economic growth and higher living standards.”

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