Construction commencement requirement for the HomeBuilder program extended

Business NSW Central Coast has applauded news that the Federal Government has extended the construction commencement requirement for the HomeBuilder program from six months to 18 months for all existing applicants.

Regional Director, Paula Martin, said the news was especially welcome as the Central Coast faces a rising delay in construction builds and a shortage of workers locally.

“According to the March Business NSW Business Conditions Report, skills shortages and changing trading conditions continue to be the biggest business challenges faced on the Central Coast,” Martin said.

“Increased activity in both housing and commercial projects outside the region is a contributing factor to the availability of trades locally.

“As we see house prices increase up to 68 per cent in some coastal suburbs of the Central Coast, it is important that local housing projects are given as much time as possible to proceed so locals have a good chance at entering the local housing market.”

More than 121,000 Australians have applied for the grant which is expected to support around $30B of residential construction projects.

The HomeBuilder program was specifically designed to protect tradies’ jobs and catalyse economic activity in the construction industry, particularly residential construction, in response to the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government’s decision to provide existing applicants with an additional 12 months to commence construction responds to unanticipated delays in the construction industry caused by COVID-19 related supply constraints including delays in global supply chains and recent natural disasters.

The extension will only apply to existing applicants and provide an additional 12 months to commence construction from the date that the building contract was signed.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the HomeBuilder program has been a key part of the Government’s National Economic Recovery Plan.

“Extending the construction commencement requirement will smooth out the HomeBuilder construction pipeline, support jobs in the construction sector, and ensure that existing applicants facing difficulties in starting construction on their new builds and renovations are not denied a HomeBuilder grant due to circumstances outside their control,” he said.

Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing, and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing, Michael Sukkar, said the high take-up of HomeBuilder has shown that it has achieved its goal of encouraging those who had pulled back from undertaking a new build, or substantial rebuild, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, to enter the market.

Terry Collins