CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Innovation and Skills. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is growing confidence within the construction industry in the state through trade construction skills training?

The Hon. D.G. PISONI (Unley—Minister for Innovation and Skills) (14:56): I thank the member for Hammond for his question, who I note is a very good bush carpenter himself. I am surprised that some of those structures he has made on the farm are still standing—but they are.

The Marshall Liberal government's $4 billion stimulus has delivered critical support to the South Australian economy, with our state among the nation's strongest performers in terms of economic performance during the COVID pandemic. South Australia is the only state to achieve an increase in apprenticeships and traineeships over the last financial year, including a 7.7 per cent increase in construction trade commencements, and this is despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marshall government's pandemic and economic management and our stimulus measures have all seen a high demand for skilled workers in the construction industry. South Australia’s construction industry has recorded strong growth, with payroll jobs showing a 5.1 per cent increase from April to December 2020, and this equates to 3,000 new jobs in the construction industry. It is one of the top industries requiring new trades for 2021, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,600 new workers needed in the state by the end of this year.

The Marshall Liberal government is delivering a skills-led recovery from COVID-19, getting more people into skilled careers and meeting industry needs. This week, of course, the Department for Innovation and Skills announced an extension to the popular GTO (Group Training Organisation) Boost, which gives host employers a $5,200 discount for taking on an apprentice as a host employer in their business. It has been very successful and very popular with employers, particularly those who are trying the GTO system for the first time.

The $200 million Skilling South Australia initiative, a partnership with the Morrison government, is delivering results, achieving 33,000 new apprenticeship and traineeship commencements since we launched the initiative. We have funded more than 160 Skilling South Australia projects, bespoke co-designed with business and industry, to boost apprenticeship numbers across a variety of industries.

In fact, 700 participants working in 32 Skilling South Australia projects worth $6 million are supporting the building and construction sector, including the MBA's Building Pathways Project developed in partnership with the non-government training provider Carey Training. Other projects include the non-government RTO Civil Train—Women in Civil project, to address the under-representation of women in the civil construction sector, and a career path for Indigenous ex-offenders.

A partnership with the Department for Correctional Services and Carey Training is offering around 15 ex-offenders the opportunity to enter the construction industry through pre-apprenticeship training that develops skills in steel framing. Again, it is a brand-new trade that didn't exist under the previous government. We have responded to industry needs, and we now have an apprenticeship in steel frame training. There is training in civil construction—another brand-new apprenticeship under this government—concrete and general construction.

I was pleased to see the figures presented to me by MBA CEO, Will Frogley, last week that showed South Australia was leading the nation as the only state to have more people working in the construction industry now than at the same time last year.