Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
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Peak building body backs renovation rebate.

The North Queensland branch of Queensland’s peak industry association representing building and construction has thrown its support behind a Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism proposal to expand the First Buyers’ Grant in regional areas.

Master Builders North Queensland has confirmed its support for the “Renovation Rebate for Regional Queensland”, a policy proposal devised by the Hinchinbrook Chamber after witnessing years of unsuccessful lobbying by various industry groups for the Queensland First Home Buyers’ Grant to be expanded to include existing homes.

Chamber President Rachael Coco said the support of Master Builders North Queensland gave the proposal credibility and she was hopeful that all political parties would give the proposition “the consideration it deserved”.

“We’ve been very strategic in the development of this proposal – we recognise that the First Home Buyers’ Grant is an economic stimulus tool and we’ve identified a way to apply the scheme to existing homes while creating jobs and injecting money into the economy” said Ms Coco.

“To motivate investment in regional areas we’re proposing that first home owners who purchase an existing home in regional Queensland should qualify for the First Home Buyers’ Grant, in the form of a ‘renovation rebate’, so that they can perform mandatory, optional or cosmetic renovations and improvements to the property” she said.

“There is an oversupply of affordable, existing homes in regional areas and we’re also contending with population decline and poor youth retention, so we’re trying to address these issues with a sensible solution and the backing of Master Builders North Queensland let’s us know that we’ve got a solid policy to put forward.”

In his letter of support, Chairperson of Master Builders North Queensland Committee of Management John Mahlouzarides said the renovation rebate would address the oversupply of existing homes in regional areas and “offer a boost to the construction industry”.

“Namely, by making the current housing stock more attractive to potential buyers as the rebate will be utilised to renovate older housing stock” wrote Mr Mahlouzarides. 

“In turn, this will create jobs for many small builders and trade contractors.  Suppliers of building materials in regional towns will also be positively impacted.”

New analysis shows that the residential building construction industry has the second-largest economic multiplier of all 114 industries that make up the economy, and that each $1 million of residential building construction industry output supports around $2.9 million of industry output and consumption and nine jobs across the economy.

Ms Coco and Mr Mahlouzarides also believe the rebate had the potential to increase household resilience in the face of natural disasters, increase property values and in some instances, lower insurance premiums.

Ms Coco said that whilst the proposal was finally “gaining some momentum” and that it would form part of Chamber’s election priorities, it has actually been in the pipeline for nearly three years with varying levels of interest from political parties.

It is understood that the proposal was recently raised during a meeting with Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander and LNP candidate for Hinchinbrook, Scott Piper, and that Ms Coco previously petitioned both Hinchinbrook Member for Parliament Nick Dametto and predecessor Andrew Cripps regarding the rebate.

Mr Dametto believes the proposal “ties in with Katter’s Australian Party’s draft First Home Owner Grant (Rural and Regional Areas) Amendment Bill 2019”.

“Under the KAP’s proposed amendments to the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 Act, first home owners would be able the use the current $15,000 First Home Owners’ Grant to purchase an existing, detached home under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland. The same $15,000 grant would also be available for improvements when purchasing an existing, detached first home under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland. Prospective first home owners who qualify would be able to choose one of those options but not both” said Mr Dametto.

“This Bill is a common sense solution to a prevalent problem and it’s time the government chipped in to help rural and regional Queensland’s property market bounce back, especially after the recent drought and flooding events” he said.

An Issues Brief will be formally submitted to all Hinchinbrook candidates and Political Party leaders in the coming weeks.

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Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism