KAP grant boost to help first home owners

KATTER’S Australian Party (KAP) has thrown its support behind a push from Master Builders to restore the State Government’s $5000 boost to the First Homes Owners’ Grant for regional Queensland.

In a letter to Traeger MP Robbie Katter and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Master Builders Queensland deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said restoring the grant boost from $15,000 to $20,000, which was in place from July 2016 until July this year, “was critical in supporting demand for new housing”.

“During the two years the boost was offered, there was a 48 per cent increase in the number of grants paid, compared with the two years before the boost,” Mr Bidwell said.

“That is an extra 6000 first home owners helped into a new home; and an extra 6000 new builds that created additional jobs which had a flow-on effect to regional economies.

“A regional boost would be an investment in regional jobs and local businesses. It would cost approximately $13 million per annum, creating approximately 2000 new jobs each year across regional Queensland.”

Mr Dametto said the push to bring back the grant boost had merit in a time when regional economies were struggling.

“North Queensland is crying out for jobs and investment. Restoring the grant boost could certainly benefit the local building and construction industry,” he said.

“We must do everything we can to encourage young people and families to remain in the town they grew up in to both avoid a worrying population drain and keep local economies thriving for decades to come.”

However, the KAP wants to take the grant boost a step further, arguing for existing homes to be included in the grant for regional areas.

That idea has long had the support of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) and Mr Katter said it made sense in rural and remote towns.

“There is a huge over-supply of often run-down homes in rural and regional Queensland, and we think it makes a lot of sense to help new owners take on these properties as ‘doer-uppers’,” he said.

“That way we could: reduce this negative market saturation, help rural people own their own homes and stimulate local economies by ensuring that the $15,000 – $20,000 grant goes to the construction industry through contracts for renovation work.

“It’s a common sense solution to a prevalent problem and I can’t see why the government would be against it. Outside of the major cities, you would be hard pressed to find a community in Queensland that wouldn’t benefit drastically from this.”

In June, Mr Dametto held positive discussions with Assistant Minister for Treasury Glenn Butcher about expanding the grant, with Treasury now analysing how the proposal would impact on government spending.

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