Canary’s Song: Australia Needs Social Housing, Other Big Construction Projects

interior of architect's offices
Turner Studio Architects, Sydney Australia photo by Turner Studio is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Offices of architectural consultants — canaries for the construction industry?

Australia went at COVID-19 ‘hard and early’. It is now moving on to recovery schemes well in advance of countries such as the United States, which continues to struggle with its first waves of infection.

But the price the country is now paying is an uncomfortable peek into the future as it attempts to revive industries essential to the economy. One of the giants is the construction industry. Can it recover without significant government spending on large public project developments?

Early national government kick-starts have focused on small scale attempts to lure private dollars to the construction industry. For example, a HomeBuilder grant scheme now offers private homeowners a modest subsidy for home improvements or reconstruction. That program has been met with little but scorn by critics. So far there has not been much interest from private homeowners.

By contrast, the housing industry is lobbying the government to invest in public projects such schools and hospitals as well as augmenting the nation’s sorry supply of social housing, the need for which has only become more evident during the pandemic.1

Without major government investment in infrastructure, how badly will this important industry be hurting in a few months? An article in the Australian Times examines the ‘early warning system’ unique to the development of both residential and commercial construction. Read more about the grim results now being offered up: If architecture is the canary in the coalmine, the outlook for construction is appalling


  1. Nor is the housing industry a single voice in the wilderness. Try: Strange COVID-19 Bedfellows Press For Social Housing