Infrastructure-focused Budget offers plenty for the HVAC&R industry
The 2017/18 Federal Budget has put forth infrastructure spending and skills growth which is of huge value to the HVAC&R industry, says AIRAH.
Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) chief executive Tony Gleeson says that the proposed $75 billion towards infrastructure will make a huge difference to Australia and the industry as a whole.
“A Budget focused on rail, road and airport spending is obviously a boon for the construction sector, and for trade opportunities. As an integral component of the industries that assemble our built environment and also provide health and comfort, the HVAC&R industry will benefit too,” says Tony.
“And with the establishment of the Skilling Australians Fund, the HVAC&R trade sector is getting quite a leg-up, which we tentatively support while we await more detail. The Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices program, which has had $60 million set aside for it, is another excellent initiative.”
Due to the scrapping of the 457 visa for foreign workers, the government is set to implement a skills-shortage visa which also has stricter guidelines; employers who want to hire foreign workers must contribute to the Fund.
Tony says he is very happy with the government’s $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility that eliminates any hurdles when building new homes.
“We also applaud the directive for researchers to engage more closely with the industry than has occurred in the past,” says Tony.
“Indeed, we are already seeing this happen, where academics have come down from their ivory towers and actively engaging with industry and with AIRAH itself to kick-start some fantastic initiatives. This will help Australia build skills and capability for the jobs and industries of the future.”
Despite the good news for the industry he is a part of, Tony is disappointed that the Budget didn’t have more of a focus on climate change. However, AIRAH will make sure to participate in those policy reviews and voice how important it is for Australia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“Although there are some very admirable elements in the 2017/18 Federal Budget, the Institute will continue to talk to those in power about those things important to us and our members,” Tony says.
“We will continue to be the leading independent voice for our industry on resilience, sustainability, compliance, innovation, and the transition to low-GWP refrigerants.”
Please visit www.airah.org.au/advocacy to see more information on AIRAH’s advocacy positions.