The building sector has urged greater investment in housing construction to get it through, and past, the coronavirus crisis.
One Canberra electrician says work for next year is already drying up as businesses avoid new projects due to the economic uncertainty.
The Master Builders Association has already said three-quarters of builders have seen a 40 per cent loss of business because of COVID-19.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese wants the government to throw more money into social housing to kick start the industry, which would keep people in work while addressing housing problems.
“We need a plan that looks after the people and (their) employment, this will be a transition out of COVID-19,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
“We won’t wake up one morning and be through this crisis and be back to where we were.”
Canberra electrician Dave Marich says suppliers have also told him they’re scared about a materials shortage.
“For the time being, it’s been okay. Long term, we’re really not sure. No one’s really sure,” he told AAP.
Mr Marich has enough work for next year but beyond that it’s looking sparse.
“There definitely will be a downturn in commercial fit-outs,” he said.
“I can’t see there being many new businesses starting up.”
The Housing Industry of Australia has welcomed moves by the Victorian government to extend the First Home Owner Grant for another year in the state’s regions.
Victorian executive director Fiona Nield said it was critical to help prop up building activity.
“This boost also provides a much needed stimulus to regional jobs and employment which can help to stabilise activity,” she said.
Last week, MBA chief executive Denita Wawn said the building sector was in a dangerous situation unless urgent action was taken.
Ms Warn said governments should accelerate the start of local building projects while the commonwealth expanded access to the home loan scheme.