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Worst skilled trade shortages since 2008
Released 26 October 2010

The latest Housing Industry Association-Austral Bricks Trades Report highlights a further deterioration in the availability of skilled tradespeople in the residential sector. The HIA said in the September 2010 quarter the HIA-Austral Bricks Trade Availability Index showed a shortage of skilled tradespeople in nine of thirteen trades. The Index was at its lowest level since the September 2008 quarter.  

The HIA-Austral Bricks Trade Prices Index increased by 0.8% in the September 2010 quarter compared to the June quarter. The annual rate of growth in the index was 3.5% in the September 2010 quarter, up moderately from 3.2% in the June quarter.

HIA’s Chief Economist Harley Dale said as the lagged impact of previous stimulus measures continues to boost dwelling completions, it is clear that the structural shortage of skilled labour remains a considerable constraint for the housing industry.

“Now is a more important time than ever to put the foot down on advancing domestic training and apprenticeship programs and reforms. Furthermore, the effectiveness of current skilled overseas migration programs to help address residential sector labour shortages needs to substantially improve,” Dale said.

In relation to advancing domestic training, HIA has called on the Federal Government to extend the Apprentice Kickstart Bonus beyond the 12 November end date to at least capture 2010 school leavers.

HIA Executive Director – Industry Workforce Development Nick Proud said the Kickstart Bonus has been welcomed by industry and now needs to extend through past the New Year, which is the traditional time for apprentice sign ups.

“What also needs to be considered is that the wind down of this Bonus will coincide with the closure date of the Securing Australian Apprenticeships Recommencement Bonus and the Securing Australian Apprenticeships Completion Bonus. Both incentive payments have an end date of 31 December 2010, but really should be extended in light of this report.

“With trade shortages worsening, now is not the time to wind down apprenticeship employment incentives,” Proud added