The NSW economy is bustling and the construction industry is a major contributor to the increase in activity. A record $80.1 billion infrastructure pipeline is the largest program ever undertaken by any state in Australia. Construction employment rates are predicted to grow by another 13 per cent by 2022, resulting in a workforce of almost 400,000.
The NSW Government also recently announced funding for 100,000 free apprenticeships, as part of an unprecedented level of support for apprentices. This will ensure there is a strong pipeline of skilled workers across the state.
Given this vibrancy, it’s sobering to learn that the construction industry continues to battle high injury and illness rates when compared to other industries. Even more alarmingly, over 46 per cent are major claims, indicating that construction workers are far more likely to suffer significant injuries than those in other industries.
As Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, I am passionate about ensuring everyone gets home from work safely at the end of the day. To address specific risks in the building and construction industry, we have worked closely with businesses, workers, associations and unions to develop this work health and safety sector plan.
It takes into consideration key themes that stakeholders raised, and is designed to focus industry on the issues that we will be prioritising in the coming years. It will be supported by detailed sub-sector action plans and innovative safety intervention programs.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the development of this plan. I commend you all. I am in no doubt that we will continue to work together to drive down serious injuries and fatalities, while ensuring that workplaces in the building and construction industry are safe and supported.
The Hon. Matt Kean MP
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation
Member for Hornsby