QBuild rebirth will give with one hand, take with the other says building rep
Dennis Bryant of Masters Builders Queensland has described the State Government’s promise to rebuild QBuild as “long on rhetoric and short on details”.
On August 26, Premier Palaszczuk announced the government would rebuild QBuild depots, such as the one in North St, Rockhampton, and hire apprentices to work on schools, hospitals and social housing.
Mr Bryant, Master Builders’ regional manager, said the move would take work away from the private sector at a time when the industry is “staggering”.
“The money people are willing to put up for major building, residential or commercial, is nothing compared to four or five years ago when things were buoyant,” he said.
“It seems rather an inopportune time to be taking jobs away from private contractors and builders.”
Mr Bryant said the “nature of competitiveness” meant private builders were able to work cheaper, whereas QBuild could name its own costs.
“No one walks up to a private builder and says ‘here’s the job’,” he said.
“They have to cover their labour, costs, materials and GST, they have to satisfy minimum QBCC requirements in terms of tangible assets and turnover.
“The last thing we need is the Government pulling the rug out from under their feet.”
Mr Bryant said the move could prove a “double edged sword” for clients such as the principals of rural schools.
“If a principal has to organise complex works then that’s a burden on them, and QBuild may well be able to provide a programmer,” he said.
“But if they charge more, and the principal has to work to budget, then they win one way and lose another.”
Mr Bryant also questioned whether the proposal to reinvigorate QBCC would create actual jobs or “just move things around to give the appearance of creating jobs”.
He said the private sector already made a significant contribution to creating skilled trades workers for the future.
“Sure, their apprenticeship fees get paid under the current system but a builder probably loses 30 - 40 per cent their own ability to work by having to supervise an apprentice,” he said.
“The government says ‘look at us creating jobs’ but if, in effect, they’re costing jobs in the private sector, then they’re not helping anybody.
“All the work the private contractors and builders have geared up to do will be taken away from them.”