Build-it’s budget breakdown for tradies and construction workers

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
7 Min Read

With the government handing down its 2024/2025 federal budget last night, plenty of commitments were made set to impact Aussie tradies. 

Often wrongly ignored by some as “more boring political nonsense”, the budget arguably impacts construction workers more than any pre-scheduled announcement on the political calendar. 

The document declares how the federal government plans to collect and spend money in the coming financial year – and either directly or indirectly affects the finances of all Australians. 

And with the zeitgeist of the previous 12 months heavily centred on Australia’s exacerbating housing shortage, ongoing rental crisis and cost of living concerns, the government has ramped up the spending in a bid to help address those matters.

If you are a tradie, construction worker or even a home renovating hobbyist, plenty in the 2023/2024 Budget could potentially affect your day-to-day life – including what work is available to you and how much you have left in your wallet at the end of the week. 

But rather than leave our readers digging through hundreds of pages of boring budget blabber, Build-it has constructed it’s very own ‘site inspection’ on last night’s announcements, cherry picking the most relevant changes for those working in the building industry:

Housing Help

Unless you’ve been living under a rock,  it will come as no surprise that housing has been a primary focus of this year’s federal budget. 

With the country currently amid an ongoing housing crisis and the government making an ambitious commitments to build 1.2 million homes by the end of the decade the government was eager to ensure housing remained a core foundation of this year’s budget. 

The new funding announcements for the sector will build on the $25 billion already committed to housing.

The government will spend $11.3 billion to help address the nation’s housing problems, which includes $9.3 billion for a new five-year plan to increase social and affordable housing. 

 $10 billion has already been promised to the Housing Australia Future Fund, designed to help build 30,000 social and affordable rental homes.

Meanwhile, a further $1 billion will be gifted to states and territories to help build the vital infrastructure needed to support more housing developments and social housing supply. 

The government has also promised to talk with universities to construct more purpose-built student accommodation.

Apprenticeship Support 

With the federal government’s large-scale housing targets set, more tradies will also be needed to build them.

The construction industry has long been facing a shortage of skilled workers, with insufficient tradie numbers available to construct the homes Australia so desperately needs. 

This years budget included funding for more than 15,000 fee-free TAFE and VET places to get more workers on the tools as soon as possible, with an extra 5,000 pre-apprenticeship places provided from 2025.

The package, revealed by Build-it earlier this week, will cost the government over $90 million but will become an integral part to patching up the industry’s waning tradie numbers. 

Pre-existing schemes have also been expanded to help young apprentices boost their skills, with those undertaking clean energy, automotive, electrical housing and construction apprenticeships eligible to receive up to $10,000 in payments. 

Meanwhile, debt relief will also be available for apprentices who owe money through the VET Student Loan program or the Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan.

Future Made Australia

Another big part of this year’s budget is the federal government’s commitment to funding numerous projects under the Future Made in Australia policy.

The policy aims to give Aussie manufacturers, particularly those involved in zero-carbon industries and businesses, an extra hand to revive domestic manufacturing. 

The package is worth more than $15 billion and will support local industry and innovation, especially in the renewable energy space as the government seeks to achieve its net zero by 2050 national carbon emission targets. 

The Future Made Australia Fund includes support for: 

  • $1 billion to bolster solar panel manufacturing. 
  • $330 million towards clean energy and emissions-reduction projects. 
  • $566 million for critical mineral and rare-earth deposit mapping. 
  • $2 billion for green hydrogen industry investment. 
  • $470 million to build the world’s first “fault-tolerant” quantum computer. 
  • $840 million for the development of a rare minerals mine and refinery. 
  • $230 million to assist lithium battery resource companies. 
  • $400 million to create Australia’s first high-purity alumina processing facility.
  • A $1 billion export deal to supply Germany with military equipment. 

Infrastructure Improvements 

The budget will also see the federal government help pick up the check for part of many critical infrastructure projects across the nation, helping them get off the ground. 

With Australia’s population set to reach just shy of 31 million people over the next decade, new roads, public transport, and infrastructure projects will be critical to support the growth.

In NSW, $1.9 billion has been allocated towards roads and rail projects across greater Western Sydney.

Meanwhile, the government has committed $3.25 billion to Melbourne’s North East Link toll road and $50 million to extend the Canberra light rail network.

Another $467 million has been announced for upgrades to the Bruce Highway in Queensland, and $33.5 million towards planning works to support the construction of a future port in Kwinana, Western Australia.

There will also be $100 million to construct more bicycle and walking paths nationwide.

Cost-of-living help

Some tradies will also benefit from cost-of-living support measures provided in the form of changes to stage three tax cuts, which were already announced at the start of 2024. 

While low and middle-income workers will see the most cash back in their wallets, tradies earning more than  $150,000 will notice a more subtle tax reduction than expected. 

Ultimately, The tax cuts will see the average household up to $1888 better off in 2024-25, giving them more money to spend. 

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.