Skilled migration fundamental to property industry: HIA


The Housing Industry Association has called on the federal government to develop clear policies on migration to give the housing industry certainty on future demand and the supply of skilled labour.

In its Federal Budget submission to the federal government, HIA is urging government consult with industry to develop a visa that will enable the residential building industry to alleviate trade shortages through skilled migration.

“Recent population growth directly links to our housing needs. Without a clear policy on skilled migration for both the short and the long term, it is extremely difficult for the home building industry to prepare and meet the demand for housing which is already at crushing highs”, said Jocelyn Martin deputy managing director, industry and policy at the HIA.

“Population growth has always been a fundamental part of Australia’s economic and social development, with growing migration to Australia, governments need to devise a targeted policy that attracts skilled migrants to work in the building sector if we are to have any hope of building the required number of homes needed to house our growing population,” said Ms Martin

“Australia is experiencing a relatively fast rate of population growth. There are extensive economic benefits to a healthy immigration intake, particularly in terms of ensuring we have adequate working age people against a backdrop of Australia’s ageing population.

“And there is an important role for skilled migration to increase skilled trades workers, particularly where acute demand emerges as is presently the case.

“But the residential building industry requires migration pathways to enable the long-term structural shortage of workers to be addressed through permanent migration, and pathways that enable industry to recruit skilled workers for short periods to alleviate acute shortages.

“While permanent and short-term visas are part of Australia’s skilled migration program and the building trades that have been in the most acute shortages are included on lists of eligible occupations, there has been very little take up within the construction industry, particularly the residential building industry.

“Several aspects of these visas render them impractical for use by residential building businesses.

“Growth in Australia’s population is essential for the economy to thrive, but at the same time, we must ensure that that growth is accompanied by sufficient housing supply to meet growing demand,

“Australia should promote and maintain a population growth rate sufficient to secure ongoing growth in Australia’s economic performance, workforce capacity, national productivity and standard of living,” concluded Ms Martin.