Roadmap to recovery – construction improvements welcome and urgent stimulus essential

The Property Council of Australia (Victoria) welcomes the Victorian Government’s roadmap for the safe reopening of the property industry and commends Government, Industry, and the Unions on their collaboration in developing the sector plan.

The Property Council acknowledges that lifting restrictions is a balancing act and all stakeholders must remain vigilant about safe reopening at every stage of the roadmap.

The detailed roadmap sets out phased limits for the numbers of workers allowed on site under four public-health scenarios: closed, the current ‘heavily restricted’ setting, the next ‘restricted’ phase and a return to “COVID normal” with COVIDsafe plans in place.

Under the roadmap, large scale construction sites may be able to return to eighty-five per cent workforce capacity as early as 28 September. The Property Council is working closely with the Government on refining practices and guidance on display suites and real estate transactions and how to safely and productively move forward in these areas in the coming week.

With an outline for recovery now in place, the Property Council continues to urge the Government to bring forward its desperately needed industry stimulus package. It takes months for construction and real estate businesses to access government relief schemes. Planned stimulus measures need to be brought forward as soon as possible.

Recent estimates suggest that the Victorian economy is losing 300 to 400 million dollars a day during the Stage 4 lockdown. The Property Council stimulus plan, released in June, outlined a series of measures that could see $24.4 billion worth of economic activity injected into the economy.

Measures proposed include:

  1. A housing construction economic kickstart.
  2. Catalyse projects to accelerate growth.
  3. Automatically extend all current unexpired development permits for, at least, two years.
  4. Resetting the housing affordability equation for Australians.
  5. Tax settings to drive productivity.
  6. Remove the brakes on development activity.
  7. Supercharge planning to support Victorians’ new way of life.
  8. Downsizer grants to support older Victorians.

The Property Council again acknowledges the Victorian Government’s engagement with the sector in developing industry return-to-work plans and remains keen to work with Government, industry and the unions on a safe return to full activity, especially on real estate inspections and transactions for renters and buyers.

As noted by Property Council of Australia, Group Executive, Policy, Mike Zorbas

“The Property Council welcomes and supports the Victorian Government’s roadmap, and we hope to see it accelerated, and economic stimulus delivered.

“Victorians simply cannot afford an endless cycle of easing and tightening restrictions on the industry, and we must all play our part and be vigilant about safe reopening at every stage. The economy won’t recover as long as people who should be in work boots and hi-vis are at home in tracksuit pants.

“We also seek the acceleration of the forecast economic stimulus where it will create the most jobs. It takes months for construction and real estate businesses to access government relief schemes; stimulus measures need to be brought forward immediately.

“The fact is both the construction industry and the Victorian budget rely on rental and purchasing transactions to create demand and new projects. We will now work closely with the Government on safely getting those settings right as soon as possible.”

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