Release type: Joint Media Release


Growing Australia's Construction Workforce to Build More Homes


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness
Minister for Small Business

The Albanese Labor Government is investing $90.6 million to boost the number of skilled workers in the construction and housing sector, as part of a big focus on housing in the 2024-25 Budget.

This funding is essential to help close the national skills gap and provide the skilled workforce the economy needs to increase housing supply.

It will help Australia get to our ambitious national goal of 1.2 million more homes.

This Budget continues to remove cost barriers to education and training, and incentivise Australians to train in areas the economy needs them most, with $88.8 million for 20,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE training places to increase the pipeline of workers for construction and housing, including: 

$62.4 million, working with States and Territories, to deliver an additional 15,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places over two years from 1 January 2025.

$26.4 million, working with states and territories, to deliver approximately 5,000 places in pre-apprenticeship programs over two years from 1 January 2025.

Our Government’s 20,000 additional Fee-Free training places will grow our skilled housing and construction workforce, building on the success of Fee-Free TAFE in 2023. 

Places may be offered by both TAFEs and industry Registered Training Organisations that provide specialised and high-quality training in the sector. 

To 31 December 2023, Fee-Free TAFE supported over 355,000 student enrolments nationally. 

Enrolments in Fee-Free TAFE were strong across all priority sectors, with over 24,000 construction sector course enrolments in 2023. 

Of these 24,000 enrolments, over 3,000 of them were by women.

The new pre-apprenticeships places will support more people to move into a construction apprenticeship and succeed in training, by providing students with a taste of industry experience before choosing to become an apprentice. 

Engaging migrants is also critical to meeting skills needs in Australia’s construction and housing sector. 

That’s why the Budget also includes $1.8 million to streamline skills assessments for around 1,900 potential migrants from countries with comparable qualifications who want to work in Australia’s construction and housing sector, and prioritise the processing of around 2,600 Trades Recognition Australia skills assessments in targeted occupations.

This will mean more skilled workers to help Australia build more homes. 

It also builds on the commitment in the Government’s Migration Strategy to improve the approach to skills recognition and assessments.  

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor MP:

“This Budget continues the Albanese Government’s work to build a stronger Vocational Education and Training sector which is what we need to skill Australians for the future, and support more people into secure, well-paid work.   

In the previous National meeting of Skills Ministers, we added delivering housing supply to priorities on our national skills agenda, and these investments will support and strengthen Australia’s residential housing capability.

This is a great opportunity for people to gain a trade whilst accessing government incentives and reduce cost of living pressures through more affordable housing.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business, Julie Collins MP: 

"Our Government knows that building more homes is the best way to address Australia’s housing challenges, which is why we have an ambitious national target to build 1.2 million homes. 

More homes mean more affordable options for everyone – whether they’re buying, renting or needing a safe space for the night.  

But to build more homes we need more tradies, and that is what this announcement will deliver. It’s just one way we’re working across Government to build the homes Australia needs.”