Tasmania will need to find up to 7000 more workers in the construction sector over the next five years to meet workforce demands with $16 billion in public and private projects and 30,000 homes to be built, industry leaders say.
The two major parties have released policies in an attempt to attract more locals into the construction and civil engineering sectors to avoid workforce shortages, particularly in light of a $3 billion public infrastructure construction blitz.
The Liberal Party has promised $8 million over four years to Master Builders Tasmania and the Civil Contractors Federation - $1 million each per year - to help them identify skills gaps and work with firms to provide links with training, including TasTAFE.
The funding would also be put towards marketing campaigns to promote careers in construction.
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Master Builders Tasmania executive director Matthew Pollock said the construction workforce would need to increase by 25 per cent over five years to meet demand.
"What this policy announcement does today is it shows a strengthened relationship between industry and government so that we can deliver on those demands," he said.
"It provides the funding that's required so that we can support the development of the next generation of Tasmanian tradies."
Other aspects of the party's policy include developing a memorandum of understanding with both organisations for "collaboration" on infrastructure projects.
Bill Abbott, of the Civil Contractors Federation, said the vast majority of firms in the sector had fewer than 10 people, and needed support in increasing their capacity.
"They simply haven't had the time to put into developing their own workforces, and we are hoping to use the funding to work with them to make them develop their industry development plan for their organisation and work with the various training organisations and funding bodies to deliver that training and build their capacity," he said.
Premier Peter Gutwein described the policy as developing a "high vis army".
He said it was important that all Tasmanians - whether young, mature or in regional areas - were aware of the job opportunities in construction.
"The challenge is we don't have enough people to do the work that is in front of us. The opportunity is to work with the industry sector to ensure that we engage, build capacity and at the end of the day we provide those opportunities for Tasmanians," Mr Gutwein said.
Labor was critical of the government for only providing funding during an election campaign, when it was aware of looming skills shortages.
Labor's TAFE, university and skills spokesperson Michelle O'Byrne said their free TAFE policy would be able to quickly train Tasmanians for the construction sector.
"Labor released its fully-costed free TAFE policy two years ago which includes $40 million to provide free training in areas of skills shortages including building and construction," she said.
"Labor's plan will support another 20,000 Tasmanians to get a foot in the door to a good job and provide certainty for key sectors like building and construction."