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Tradies Moving to Queensland at Record Pace

Tradies from the southern states are flocking to Queensland in record numbers as skills shortages hit the construction industry.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission has had its biggest jump in licensee numbers in more than five years from interstate tradies.

It approved 821 mutual recognition licences from Australian states and territories, and New Zealand in 2021, compared to 795 in 2020 and 578 in 2016.

Building approvals in Queensland remain above pre-pandemic levels for houses and the apartment sector is also gaining momentum.

The number of cranes in Brisbane increased at the fastest rate in country—the Gold and Sunshine coasts beat other regional cities’ crane counts across the country in the past quarter.

South-east Queensland is also proving popular with interstate buyers—66 per cent of property enquiries came from NSW, according to Domain.

Queensland licence approvals from interstate

Location 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

NSW 408 367 306 300 315 283

Vic 161 154 83 77 89 85

ACT 17 21 18 16 11 22

NT 5 6 14 6 9 12

SA 52 77 42 59 55 51

Tas 7 6 6 5 10 10

WA 28 22 31 21 26 31

NZ 6 16 9 10 17 18

Total 821 785 541 550 573 578

^Source: QBCC October 2021

QBCC interim commissioner Richard Cassidy said Queensland’s building and construction industry had remained strong during the pandemic.

“Queensland has been the place to be during the pandemic and we’ve kept building sites open across our great state,” he said.

“Tradies in Australia have jumped at the chance to share in our building confidence, deciding to move north for the career opportunities we have to offer.”

The move comes as skills shortages constrain the industry across all labourer types including bricklayers.

This was not only due to lockdowns preventing people from working on site but due to international border closures and the huge increase in building demand.

Queensland has created a taskforce to unlock land suitable for residential development, including nearly 50,000 lots between the Gold and Sunshine coasts since November 2020.

Meanwhile, property prices have increased 18.3 per cent in Brisbane and rental vacancies dropped to 1.3 per cent.


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