The building industry has welcomed the federal government's move to provide employers with incentives of more than $3,000 for each new construction apprentice they recruit.
Senator Chris Evans announced this morning that the Kickstart program would begin in December, with $3,350 available for each new apprentice.
Master Builders Australia chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch said the initiative would give the industry a much needed boost.
"Kickstart will help the industry boost apprentice rates to train the next generation of tradies that are necessary to meet future workforce needs of the industry," Mr Harnisch said.
"Currently this is also made difficult by a low apprentice completion rate. Close to 42 per cent of apprentices do not complete their trade in the building and construction industry."
The Master Builders Association also welcomed the initiative, with managing director Shane Goodwin applauding the government for introducing the bonus.
"These new incentives are also timely as the residential construction industry is currently struggling, with home building activity recording its lowest levels for decades," Mr Goodwin said.
"Apprentice employment unfortunately is the first to suffer when business confidence is down.
"Yet although market conditions are currently tough, there remains a chronic undersupply of housing across Australia and a structural shortage of skilled tradespeople.
"It is important that when building activity picks up that there is sufficient workforce to deliver to the community the quantity of housing required, at the quality demanded."
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, however, was more cautious in welcoming the new initiative.
"The adjustments to the incentive payments for part-time or casual trainees, whilst logical, may yield unintended consequences, including reducing employment options for young Australians, particularly females and in the regions.
"It will need to be monitored closely."