HomeBuilder: What it is and how it works
A new $25,000 grant plans to get labourers back to work and push the economy out of recession.
Celebrity tradie Scott Cam has raised questions about the necessity of the Government’s new HomeBuilder scheme, claiming the industry was currently “flying”.
Appearing on Today this morning, The Block star was asked about the Government’s new grants and whether it would help the industry.
Cam, who was appointed as national careers ambassador to promote vocational education – a plum new role with a staggering $345,000 salary for 15 months’ work – said he believed the handouts would help “down the track” but hinted there may be little immediate need for it.
“The building industry at the moment is going really well, people are doing a lot of renos in isolation and things like that, but I think down the track at the end of the year things are going to tighten up,” Cam said this morning.
“I believe that maybe this is going to be great for the industry. If you do get the $25,000 and it’s a $150,000 renovation, you’ve got to use tradesmen, it’s not a DIY project, so tradesmen will be employed and it might jog people to do that reno they were going to do if they get the extra $25,000 to get the building industry moving forward.
“At the moment the building industry is flying! Everybody is doing work. I know, speaking to the hardware stores that we deal with, they have had the busiest two months of their lives in the hardware game. That’s DIY stuff and all that sort of stuff.
“The renovation industry is really moving forward. I think down the track at the end of the year is when this scheme will probably come into play.”
His comments came soon after fresh details of the government’s HomeBuilder scheme were finally revealed after days of frenzied speculation.
We now know the latest coronavirus-fuelled stimulus package will involve cash grants to eligible Australians to be used for the construction of new homes or substantial renovations on existing ones.
It’s all part of a plan to help Australia’s economy get back on track in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prop up the housing sector, which is facing a looming drop-off in the months ahead.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison fronted the media this morning to share more details of the scheme and how it could help the nation’s building sector, which he described as “one of the most important industries we have got in our country”.
“You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else other than Australia. Particularly in times like this,” Mr Morrison said.
“When we look around the world and we see what’s happening, and Australia is certainly not immune from the difficult challenges that are being faced, but here in Australia we are doing better than many and better than most. That’s not just on the health front.
“Even with the difficult news that we had yesterday (that Australia was now in a recession) that the Treasurer had to share Australia is making its way, and importantly we are making our way back.
“It’s going to be a hard road back. There are many lives and livelihoods that are going to be impacted by the dreadful impact of the coronavirus, both on the health impact and on the economic impact. Jobs lost, businesses closed, but Australia is reopening. Australia is in that battle for jobs.”
Mr Morrison said the Government’s “battle for jobs” involved both short and long term challenges, and that one of the immediate concerns was propping up construction.
“In the short term we know that in the residential building construction industry on the other side of September the pipeline of works that they have been working on will really start to dry up quickly. Some 30,000 homes or thereabouts won’t get built,” he said.
“That means jobs not just for tradies and apprentices but all the other industries that feed into the home building industry and all the jobs that depend on that. The retail jobs and the jobs more broadly throughout the community.
“That’s why we believed it was important that as part of the many measures, the many supports we are putting into our economy at the moment supporting our home building industry, and not just new homes, significant renovations of homes, knockdowns and rebuildings, $25,000 to support those Australians whose dream it was to build their home or to do that big renovation. A dream that they thought might have been crushed by the coronavirus.”
The PM said the scheme would support jobs and also help families achieve the Australian dream.
“We are here to tell them we are going to keep that dream alive for them and the dreams alive of the jobs and the dreams alive of the jobs and the builders and apprentices and tradies, all of those who depend on this critical industry across the country,” he said.
He explained the $25,000 cash grants would be available to singles earning up to $125,000 and households with a combined income of up to $200,000, and said measures would be put in place to stop the package from being exploited.
“We have kept to our principles when it comes to these programs of using existing delivery methods so we can make sure the money goes to where it needs to and we can protect against any integrity issues that can arise,” Mr Morrison said.
“It’s another important step in the road back. We have got the plan to get out of this, we need to keep applying ourselves to it, taking those steps each and every day and assuring Australians that just as we look around the world today and we can see that Australia is faring better than most, this is a great country to be in.
“Particularly at a time when the country is going through such difficulty and the world is going through so much hurt.”.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also stressed we were “on the road back to recovery” as coronavirus restrictions began to ease across the nation.
“But despite those restrictions being eased, there are still some sectors of the economy that are going to do it tough for a while yet and the housing sector is one of those sectors,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“It’s worth $100 billion a year to the Australian economy. Around 5 per cent of GDP.
More than a million people are employed in the construction industry more generally across Australia.
“Today’s announcement is designed to get our tradies back to work. Our plumbers, our carpenters, our sparkies, our painters, to get them back to work.”
He said the package would not only support tradies on job sites but also those involved along the “supply chain”, and that the announcement would help to “fill that void in the housing sector” that would open up between now and the end of 2020.