McGowan makes $150m housing investment

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WESTERN Australia’s state government has fast tracked a $150 million housing investment package to help maintain a work pipeline for tradies and building businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The immediate focus of the stimulus – originally scheduled to begin over the coming financial year – is on refurbishing 70 homes across the metropolitan and regional areas.

Construction of up to 500 social and affordable homes for people on low incomes or at risk of homelessness will follow as the package unfolds.

Governments across the country have announced a raft of stimulus packages to give a post to the building and construction industry. On Monday, Victoria announced $2.7 billion of building and infrastructure projects that it hopes will create 3,700 jobs.

WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley said the new package is estimated to provide around 1,000 jobs in the property and home building industries, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.

“Expediting various elements of this stimulus package will help maintain a pipeline of work for industry and provide greater certainty of continued employment for workers.”

The $150 million Housing Investment Package, originally announced in December, was due to roll out from July but has been bought forward.

The package also includes $19.2 million for 200 additional shared equity homes, delivered in partnership with WA’s low deposit home ownership scheme, Keystart.

Member for Bicton, Lisa O’Malley said nringing forward funding to assist the residential building sector offers a lifeline for small businesses and tradespeople who might otherwise lose their jobs.

Master Builders has forecast up to 43,000 new homes will not be built over the next 12 months as a result of COVID-19, revising February expectations of 159,000 new housing commencements in 2020/21 down to 116,000, a drop of 27%.

Australia’s already weakened construction sector saw activity, employment and new orders slump to record lows during April, according to the latest Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index. Construction activity plummeted to a 14-year low.

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