The Federal Government's HomeBuilder scheme aims to assist the residential construction industry by providing homeowners with $25,000 grants, encouraging them to commence renovations and new builds.
Industry bodies and businesses have welcomed the scheme, though it hasn't evaded criticism – mainly due to its exclusivity and complexity.
Master Builders Australia believes the scheme will be a massive relief to thousands of home builders and tradies countrywide. Based on the Government's estimated 27,000 grants, Master Builders believes the scheme will be used for $10 billion in building activity, supporting the viability of 368,000 small builders and tradies.
"Residential building activity gives back more than double to the communities that sustain it with every dollar invested in home building activity producing three dollars to the wider economy," says Denita Wawn, Master Builders CEO.
"HomeBuilder will provide a boost for thousands of tradies, the cafés, pubs and ute dealerships that they frequent, as well as the thousands of building supply businesses that depend on the industry," she adds.
While the scheme will no doubt inject jobs and cash into the construction industry, there's doubt from others it will perform its goal of helping boost Australia's economy, which has entered into recession.
The scheme's criteria calls for a family income of under $200,000 or an individual income of under $125,000, with a home worth less than $1.5 million and applies to works between $150,000 and $750,000. Contracts must be signed by the end of the year and work must proceed within three months of the contract date. Few properties meet these conditions.
"Most applicants will be homeowners whose plans for a renovation were already in train," says Richard Wakelin in AFR. "Not believing their luck, they'll take the $25,000, so few genuinely new tradie jobs will be created."
Other critics lament the missed opportunity to boost construction jobs through new much-needed social and affordable housing projects, or to incentivise spending on retrofitting homes with sustainability means like solar power and thermal upgrades.