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Builders and tradies are facing an imminent crisis with most set to run out of new work in the next few months according to a survey on the impact of Covid-19 released last week.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said the results are alarming. Some 73 per cent of respondents reported a substantial fall in forward work on their books, while overall the amount of business lost averaged 40 per cent.

“While projects that commenced prior to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis are providing short term work for many, for the overwhelming majority of our 32,000 members new orders have fallen off a cliff,” she said.

“The situation is dangerous. At risk is the viability of nearly 400,000 building and construction businesses, the jobs of 1.2 million Australians and the industry’s capacity to aid the economic recovery.”

It is a situation likely to have a serious impact on the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

“The home building sector is being hit especially hard. Confusion about how domestic building activity fits in with government safety rules combined with job losses and business closures is having a devastating impact on demand for new residential building activity,” Wawn said.

“The nation’s commercial and civil construction contractors also urgently need a forward pipeline of work. Our calls for governments at all levels to accelerate the construction of social, defence and transport infrastructure projects will continue to be relentless.”

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is calling for an infrastructure-led recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19 to boost projects that drive sustainability across the built environment and its supply chain.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO Davina Rooney has called on the Australian Government and state governments to maximise the potential of future rebuilding efforts, once the pandemic health impact has stabilised.

“Infrastructure development will play a key role to deliver the jobs and economic growth we will need to regenerate quickly once the health crisis passes,” she said.

“Governments and industry have the opportunity to build in sustainability across Australia when they roll out these projects.

“We know this would generate both immediate and long-lasting gains because green projects continue to produce benefits for generations.”

The GBCA has released the Building to Bounce Back policy statement outlining the potential productivity gains and broader community benefits of a reform agenda that seized the benefits of future construction and reconstruction projects..

It notes the 2019 summer bushfires as a powerful example of how growing risks from environmental changes are driving the need for infrastructure that is resilient to future shocks and extreme weather events.

 She said Australia had the skilled workforce and the sustainable-building experience to make the most of this opportunity.

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