Government throws a lifeline to HomeBuilder hopefuls
The federal government has thrown a lifeline to thousands of people struggling to qualify for the $15,000 HomeBuilder grant by giving them an extra year to start building.
Applications for the grant closed on Wednesday, but many applicants were facing an uphill battle to meet the final qualification - that construction begin within six months - because of a shortage of builders and building supplies.
The announcement that time frame will be changed to 18 months will be made today by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Housing Minister Michael Sukkar. It comes ahead of the May Budget, which Mr Frydenberg says will be focused on aged care.
Speaking to The Saturday Telegraph, the Treasurer said that extending the construction commencement requirement would "smooth out the HomeBuilder construction pipeline, support jobs in the construction sector, and ensure that existing applicants facing difficulties in starting construction on their new builds and renovations are not denied a HomeBuilder grant due to circumstances outside their control".
Mr Frydenberg said while the country still faced "challenges that we know and challenges that we don't know" in relation to "new variants of the virus and potential lockdowns in the future", he was confident the momentum in the nation's economic recovery would continue.
He said the government still had significant support to be rolled out to the economy.
"Don't forget that of the $251 billion that we announced in economic support for COVID there's about $100 billion that's still to flow," Mr Frydenberg said.
The building industry has also been hit with unanticipated delays in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, as well as recent natural disasters.
A recent survey of its members by the Master Builders Australia found more than 70 per cent of respondents were also having trouble finding carpenters, roofers, bricklayers and structural steel workers for building frames.
More than 121,000 people have applied for HomeBuilder grants, which are expected to cost taxpayers $2.5 billion and support $30 billion of residential construction work.
Housing Industry Association managing director Graham Wolfe welcomed the move to extend the timeline, saying the uptake of HomeBuilder had created a lifeline of work for tradies and helped support thousands of homebuyers.
Originally published as Government throws a lifeline to HomeBuilder hopefuls