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Construction industry faces jobs crisis – says Access Economics

19 August, 2009

The CFMEU Construction Union has called on the Rudd Government to develop a crisis industry plan for the building industry, in the wake of an independent report predicting massive jobs losses in the next three years.

The Access Economics report finds the construction industry facing a serious and sustained downturn following the loss of 35,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

The report, commissioned by the CFMEU Construction division also finds:

  • Construction sector employment may decline by 8.2 per cent over the next three years, resulting in the loss of 81,000 jobs.
  • Construction sector output will decline by 12.1 per cent over the next three years.
  • The number of construction apprentices may fall from 54,400 in December 2008 and trough at around 48,500 in early 2012.
  • CFMEU Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan said the report clearly identified the lending practices of the major banks as a key threat to the industry.
"What Access Economics has found is that the lack of available credit to fund business investment is a key factor in the bleak outlook for the industry.

"The Federal Government has guaranteed banks, but this seems only to be translating into huge profits for the bank and not practical support for the economy."

Noonan said the predictions of a ten per cent fall in apprentice numbers should give cause for particular concern - as this will undermine the industry's capacity to grow out of recession over the coming decade.

"While the Prime Minister's announcement at National Conference yesterday on the creation of long-term green jobs is welcomed, this report shows urgent and immediate action is needed in the construction industry.

"Construction workers will be looking to the Rudd Government to develop plans that safeguard jobs in this industry and minimise what is shaping up as a disastrous three years.

"While employers continue to bray on about the powers of the ABCC and to talk the industry down, the real issues facing the construction are more profound - and these are issues the CFMEU is prepared to take a lead on."

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