Eligible home builders and renovators will score $25,000 handouts under the government's 'HomeBuilder' scheme

Australian homebuilders and renovators will be put to work. (Steve Christo, Corbis via Getty Images)
  • Eligible Australians will receive $25,000 grants to go towards renovations and new home builds under the federal government’s new HomeBuilder program.
  • To be eligible, singles and couples must earn below $125,000 and $200,000 respectively, builds must cost less than $750,000 and renovations between $150,000 and $750,000.
  • While the government says the program is intended to extend work for the country’s construction sector, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said most Australians simply do not have a spare $150,000 to spend.
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The construction sector is being given a big shot in the arm, as the federal government seeks to spark an economic recovery.

Predictably dubbed ‘HomeBuilder’, in line with the Morrison government’s naming convention, the package is aimed at subsidising home builds and renovations around the country to the tune of $680 million.

“From today until 31 December 2020, HomeBuilder will provide all eligible owner-occupiers – not just first home buyers – with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home,” the Prime Minister, Treasurers, and Housing Minister outlined in an announcement on Thursday.

“If you’ve been putting off that renovation or new build, the extra $25,000 we’re putting on the table, along with record-low interest rates, means now’s the time to get started,” Morrison told media separately.

With construction required to commence within three months of the contract date, the program is aimed at providing a bridge to the sector as it approaches a long-anticipated slowdown, and help spur an economic recovery one day after Australia was declared to be in a recession.

It will also be means-tested, with eligible singles required to earn less than $125,000 and couples $200,000. Eligible new builds will also be capped at $750,000. Existing homes to be renovated must not exceed $1.5 million, with renovations required to be between $150,000 and $750,000.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese meanwhile lashed the parameters of the scheme, saying the investment was one many Australians weren’t prepared or able to make in the current economic climate.

“There aren’t too many battlers out there who have a lazy $150,000 who will see this announcement today and say, ‘I’m going to go between now and December 31 and sign a contract for a project which is worth more than $150,000’,” he told media on Thursday.

In total, the federal government expects around 27,000 grants to be handed out.

“In doing so, HomeBuilder will help to support the 140,000 direct jobs and another 1,000,000 related jobs in the residential construction sector including businesses and sole-trader builders, contractors, property developers, construction materials manufacturers, engineers, designers and architects,” the government said.

It is one of what is expected to be several new sector-specific programs targetting those jobs deemed most at risk.

“We’ve gone from the big broad strokes of JobKeeper and JobSeeker but as time goes on we’ll be able to narrow it in and focus on those sectors which need longer-term support,” Morrison told 2GB this week, noting the entertainment and film industries were two others currently on the table.

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