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Question Time: HomeBuilder
Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (14:57): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government’s HomeBuilder grant is creating and supporting jobs in the construction sector and helping to build a stronger Australia in 2021?
Mr SUKKAR (Deakin—Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing) (14:57): I thank the member for Boothby for her question. The member for Boothby is a tireless advocate for her electorate. I thank her for the close work that she has done with the building industry and the tradies who live and work in her electorate.
I take the House back to last year when the pandemic hit. The residential construction industry had fallen off a cliff. New home sales had virtually stopped overnight. Up to half a million jobs—plumbers, carpenters and manufacturing workers—were at risk because new home sales had stopped. So the Morrison government put in place the HomeBuilder program. Beyond any of our expectations, as at 31 December last year, we hit 75,000 projects—75,000 new homes or substantial renovations. That’s quite a remarkable outcome for this program.
The Labor Party called it ‘HomeBlunder’ I think. I think they said that nobody was going to take it up. They said that all it does is help rich people. Yet the biggest single cohort of HomeBuilder recipients are first home buyers. That’s why we’ve seen the number of first home buyers at its highest level for 11 years.
Since that time HomeBuilder applications have hit 80,000, supporting, as I said, up to one million jobs in the residential construction industry. Every single electorate in this House has people who live there and are benefiting from the HomeBuilder program—from the brickies, the carpenters, the plumbers and the electricians all the way to the manufacturing workers who make the bricks, the tiles and the glass and all the way to regional areas where timber mill workers make the frames and the trusses. This is a program that is keeping the residential construction industry busy right across this country. It’s benefited regional areas more than any.
To go back again to last year, we were hoping the HomeBuilder program would at least mean the residential construction industry got back to where it was pre pandemic. Not in our wildest dreams did we think the industry would have new home sales up 32.5 per cent by the end of the year. New home sales up 32.5 per cent means more jobs. The Australian people know the Morrison government put in place HomeBuilder. The opposition bagged it and opposed it from day one and now have been dragged kicking and screaming to support a program that’s unquestionably popular, and we are very pleased to be supporting those jobs and new home buyers. (Time expired)