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Question Time: HomeBuilder
Mr VAN MANEN (Forde—Chief Government Whip) (14:48): My question is to the Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government’s HomeBuilder grant is creating and supporting jobs in the construction sector, including in my electorate of Forde, while helping build a stronger Australia in 2021?
Mr SUKKAR (Deakin—Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing) (14:49): I thank the member for Forde for his question. Like so many on this side of the House, the member for Forde is so focused on the jobs of those in the residential construction industry —the tradies, the carpenters, the bricklayers and many others. I had the great honour last week of meeting a number of workers in the member for Forde’s electorate who are benefiting from the HomeBuilder program. The HomeBuilder program has ignited the residential construction industry not just in Forde, not just in Queensland, but throughout our country in every major city, in every regional area and in every small town. The residential construction industry has been absolutely set alight by the HomeBuilder program. What we have seen, Treasury estimates, is $18 billion of direct construction activity as a result of HomeBuilder with $60 billion of broader economic activity being driven by the HomeBuilder program—$60 billion of economic activity that the Labor Party opposed.
In Queensland, in the member for Forde’s home state, we’ve seen 18,000 applications, 18,000 projects. Part of the reason we have seen up to a million jobs in the residential construction industry supported by the HomeBuilder program was brought home to me and the member for Forde when we visited the Stoddart Group in the member for Forde’s electorate just last week. The Stoddart Group, which makes steel frames for homes, has now gone to three eight-hour shifts. Importantly, not only are we keeping their workforce gainfully employed in the HomeBuilder program, they have put on 40 new staff on the floor that the member for Forde and I were able to speak to; 40 people with fantastic jobs at the Stoddart Group because of that. In addition to that, the Stoddart Group also informed me that, due to the instant asset write-off—for which they wanted to thank the Treasurer —they’d also invested in six new roll forming machines at $1½ million.
You can see the HomeBuilder program igniting demand in the residential construction industry and taking advantage of other incentives being put in place by the government. Not only are we supporting the million jobs in the residential construction industry, which is so important and the primary driver of HomeBuilder, but we’re also supporting first home buyers. Homeownership and first home buyers are so important to the members of the coalition. In fact, we’ve seen first home buyer levels at their highest for over 10 years. We’ve seen new home sales up by 32½ per cent. As I always say, new home sales means more jobs, more economic activity and that is what will partly fuel our recovery this year.