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Question Time: Building and Construction Industry
Mr SIMMONDS (Ryan) (15:11): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing. Will the minister update the House on the Morrison government’s plan for economic recovery—how it’s creating jobs in the construction sector and how it’s helping to get more Australians into a home of their own?
Mr SUKKAR (Deakin—Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing) (15:11): I thank the member for Ryan, who, in his first term, is showing that he’s a champion for his constituents and, importantly, for the residential construction industry in his electorate. I can report to the member for Ryan and to the House that the Morrison government is providing unprecedented support to this industry, which employs, directly and indirectly, up to a million Australians. Through the HomeBuilder program—grants of $25,000 to purchase a new home or undertake a substantial rebuild—we have seen phenomenal outcomes, through the latest statistics. I report to the House that the HIA have reported that new home sales are up 49.8 per cent. That’s 49.8 per cent in the middle of a pandemic. They’re not our statistics; they’re those of the Housing Industry Association. We’ve also seen, from the ABS, that loans for the construction of new dwellings are up 22.9 per cent, or 34 per cent throughout the year. That’s the highest level in a decade. When we put together the HomeBuilder program, our expectation was that it would support the industry and ensure it continued. Not in our wildest dreams did we think it would lead to the best results that we’ve seen for 10 years. We’ve seen ABS first home data prove that the majority of people taking up these opportunities are first home buyers—another key commitment of the Morrison government, being the champions for first home buyers throughout Australia.
The member for Ryan is very well connected in his electorate. He was speaking to his constituent Bob Sharpless. Bob manages the Springfield City development. He said that this time last year they were selling 20 blocks a month. In April they sold 10 blocks. In June, after HomeBuilder was announced, from 10 blocks, they sold 81. That’s a 400 per cent increase in the Springfield City development. What does that mean, Mr Speaker? That means tradies on site. That means the entire supply chain—the manufacturing workers who make the bricks, tiles and glass and the timber mill workers who make the frames and the trusses. It supports an ecosystem throughout this country, from Tasmania and Western Australia to New South Wales and Queensland.
In addition to all of that, in the midst of the HomeBuilder success, we announced in the budget an additional 10,000 places under the very successful First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, with one additional requirement: that first home buyers use those places to purchase a new home. On top of HomeBuilder, that is going to continue to support one million jobs throughout the country, including in the member’s electorate.