Budget should promote housing affordability

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto wants housing affordability to be a focus of this year’s State budget.

EXPANDING the First Home Owners’ Grant criteria and extending the commencement period for HomeBuilder grant applications should be key considerations in the upcoming State budget, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said Katter’s Australian Party had long argued for an expansion of the State’s First Home Owners’ Grant to existing homes under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland.

“An expansion of the grant would stimulate stagnant housing markets where there is already an abundance of affordable, existing homes available,” he said.

“Potentially, this could encourage young families to put roots down in their home town or even attract new residents looking to break into the housing market. Adopting this policy would help the regions fight the battle of population decline.”

In 2019, Mr Dametto drafted the First Home Owner Grant (Rural and Regional Areas) Amendment Bill, which would have allowed the State’s existing $15,000 First Home Owners’ Grant to purchase an existing, home under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland.

The same $15,000 grant would also be available for improvements when purchasing an existing, first home under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland. Prospective first homeowners who qualify would be able to choose one of those options but not both. The Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism is supportive of the initiative.

“We’re also calling on the State to commit to extend the commencement period to six months from the date of contract for all Federal HomeBuilder applications. This can be done by the Office of State Revenue and would end the lack of certainty around the current mechanism of a discretionary three month extension,” Mr Dametto said.

“The problem has been exacerbated by the very significant increase in building activity in recent months which is also adding to timing pressures for potential home buyers. The impact of COVID-19 has created a number of challenges for the supply chain to the building industry, resulting in the industry experiencing a lack of new land availability and a range of material shortages across both structural and non-structural elements of a new home.”

Mr Dametto said the extension of the commencement period from the date of contract for HomeBuilder applications had the support of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland, Property Council of Australia, Master Builders Queensland and the Housing Industry Association, which had recently sent a joint letter to State Treasurer Cameron Dick on the issue.

“We have seen Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria all make recent amendments to their schemes and it’s time the Queensland Government followed suit,” Mr Dametto said.

“Next week’s budget will be a true test of the re-elected Labor government. Will they put their money where their mouth is and show regional Queensland they are serious about stimulating our building industry outside of Brisbane?”

Nick Dametto MP