Henderson defends high spend for HomeBuilder renovations

June 11, 2020 BY

HomeBuilder is intended to encourage first home builds and major renovations of existing houses. Photo: JAMES TAYLOR

VICTORIAN Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson says her government’s HomeBuilder stimulus package will trigger employment for more than a million workers.

However, Labor Corangamite federal member Libby Coker is describing the package as “yet another slogan dressed as policy”.

Under the open-ended stimulus, which the Coalition expects will cost $688 million, two kinds of projects between June 4 and December 31 will be eligible for the $25,000 grants:

  • New building contracts to build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value (house and land) does not exceed $750,000, or
  • Substantially renovating an existing home as a principal place of residence, where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and where the value of the existing property (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million.

The renovation side of the package has been criticised, particularly the six-figure minimum spend to qualify for the $25,000 grant. Senator Henderson said HomeBuilder was aimed at “substantial renovations”.

“Obviously we want homebuyers to have skin in the game. These are more major renovations that will drive a lot of jobs, a lot of economic activity.”

She said it was “not necessarily” the case that someone who could already afford to pay at least $150,000 for a renovation did not need the government’s help to do so.

“If you’ve got $150,000 planned, or maybe you were borderline on whether you could proceed or not, there’s now a $25,000 incentive.”

Ms Coker said she welcomed the increased investment in construction through HomeBuilder, but the package was too small “to save many of the 450,000 tradies’ jobs across the nation at risk”.

“We know in Corangamite alone almost 10,000 tradies rely on the construction industry for a job.

“However, the scheme’s greatest weakness is not a single cent will be spent on social housing.

“It will largely benefit those on higher incomes who already have projects in the pipeline or can stump up $150,000 for a home renovation.”

For more information and a frequently asked questions list, head to treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/homebuilder.

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