Effects of Labor’s lockdowns still hurting Victoria’s building industry

Despite being warned about the long term effects of the world’s most devastating lockdowns, Daniel Andrews continued to impose his draconian restrictions without a thought for the future.

It is no surprise that, while the whole country faced COVID-related challenges, Victoria accounted for a third of all building and construction insolvencies across the nation in 2021.

After speaking with industry representatives at the Independent Builders Network forum today, Shadow Minister for Planning, Ryan Smith said it was clear is that two years of disruption and uncertainty had compounded the impact of labour shortages and the surge in the price of building materials.

Among the range of restrictions and directions imposed on the building industry were:

  • Restricting the numbers of workers on site, despite the majority of work being done outside.

  • Imposing a cost for a COVID Marshal at every site.

  • Restricting movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, limiting the ability for tradies to continue work.

  • Locking down residential builders, while allowing government projects to continue.

The direction to give Government project workers the green light to operate while locking down small residential builders had no basis in health advice, and highlighted the Government’s contempt for private builders.

Every one of Daniel Andrews’ lengthy lockdowns meant hundreds of kitchen renovations delayed, extensions postponed and new builds rescheduled, leaving hundreds of families living in half-finished renovations wondering when they could move into their new home.

Is it any wonder that we are now facing labour and materials shortages and price increases as the industry struggles to catch up on two years’ of delayed and cancelled jobs?

We have seen the long term impacts of Daniel Andrews’ restrictions on our kids’ mental health and on the still-struggling hospitality sector. The building sector could be the next to feel the devastating aftermath of the government’s short-sighted restrictions.

Industry groups repeatedly warned Daniel Andrews of the future impacts of his lockdowns, but he refused to listen. Victorians are now wearing the cost.

Ryan Smith MP

Shadow Minister for Planning