Federal housing scheme forgets regions

THE Federal Government’s new ‘HomeBuilder’ grant scheme does little to help regional families get a foot in the housing market due to narrow eligibility criteria, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Although Mr Dametto welcomed the boost the grant will give to the building industry, he was “incredibly disappointed” the $25,000 grant did not apply to buying an existing home and also forced renovators to spend at least $150,000 to qualify.

“There is already a surplus of existing homes available on the market in regional areas. The government’s scheme has missed the mark,” he said.

“The minimum spend for renovations to qualify for the $25,000 grant is patently unreasonable for many existing home owners as well. Times are tough economically at the moment and few families have $150,000 just lying around, let alone more. Banks are showing reluctance to lend money at this time.”

Mr Dametto called on the government to “urgently broaden the eligibility criteria” in order to give regional towns an economic boost.

“We need to address this worrying population slide away from the regions by giving an opportunity for young people to realise the dream of home ownership where they grew up and wish to raise their family,” he said.

“Our First Home Owner Grant Amendment Bill would have provided that opportunity by using the State Government’s $15,000 First Home Owners’ Grant to purchase or do renovations to an existing, detached home under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland.

“The Federal Government seems to be taking the State’s one-size-fits-all approach to funding and economic stimulus policy development.”

Mr Dametto said there was still time for the government to create a separate criteria for the regions in the scheme that would help incentivise people to stay and populate country towns.

“When you’ve got respected industry bodies like the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, the Housing Industry Association and Townsville Enterprise all in support of what Katter’s Australian Party is proposing here, then both the State and the Feds should be taking notice,” he said.

“It’s time to get our regional economies back on track again.”

Nick Dametto MP