Doorstop Interview – Canberra – Wednesday 26 August 2020

SUBJECTS: Residential construction industrybloodbath; Michael Sukkar and Victorian Liberal Branch stacking; construction in the ACT.
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING:  More bad news today: the Australian Bureau of Statistics has just released the housing construction data for the last 12 months. It shows that housing construction has dropped by more than 12 per cent in the last year. What’s of concern is not just that, but that it’s likely to get worse in the next 12 months.
These are the housing forecasts by Treasury and by the housing industry for the next year, and it shows that housing construction could drop by as much as 27 per cent in the next 12 months.

The red line is Treasury. The blue line is the Housing Industry Association. The green line is the Master Builders Association. They’re all showing roughly the same thing. They’re all going in the same direction and that’s down. When these lines go down people lose their jobs; tradies lose their jobs. This is a disaster for tradies. This is a disaster for those small mum and dad businesses with their name on the side of the ute. It’s a disaster for almost a million people who work in the housing construction industry. It’s why last week the Master Builders Association said this is a “bloodbath, there’s simply no other way to describe it”. And all of this is with the HomeBuilder Scheme already factored in.
Part of the problem here is we’ve got a Housing Minister who’s just not focused on this. He’s more focused on stacking branches then helping tradies stack bricks. He’s more focused on the bloodbath in the Liberal Party than he is on this bloodbath in the housing industry. Michael Sukkar is making Scott Morrison look like a sucker. He’s making him look weak. 60 Minutes on Sunday on this Minister cold. You’ve got a written document setting out how they were misusing taxpayers’ money to stack branches in the Liberal Party. The person who wrote the document had to resign two days ago and the Minister who signed it off saying “good summary” should be sacked this week.
I’ll give you a good summary: Michael Sukkar is making Scott Morrison look like a sucker. Have a look at the Ministerial Standards signed off by Scott Morrison. It says that Ministers shouldn’t use public office for private purposes. Well, what the hell is this? Misusing taxpayers’ money should mean that this Minister goes. The standards say if you’ve got a prima facie case of a breach of the standards, the Minister should be forced to step aside. Well, if this is not a prima facie case of somebody breaching the Ministerial Standards, I’ll give it away. The Minister needs to be sacked and the Government needs to take action quickly to turn these forecasts around before more tradies lose their jobs.
Thanks very much. 
JOURNALIST: Are they Australia wide?
CLARE: These forecasts are Australia wide and they’re even worse in Sydney and in Melbourne.
JOURNALIST: In ACT it seems like tradies are flat out.
CLARE: Tradies have been able to keep working over the course of the last few months unlike some other jobs. But people aren’t signing contracts for houses and that means cement isn’t going to be poured in the next few months for new houses. Even with the HomeBuilder Scheme baked in these lines are going down and that means less work for tradies and the biggest hits are in Sydney and in Melbourne. Thanks very much.
JOURNALIST: Thank you.