Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney is calling on the State Government to extend the Building Bonus program by at least six months so more people can access grants in the Mid West.
Mr Blayney said the Building Bonus offered a tremendous opportunity to would-be home owners but industry was struggling to keep up with demand and unrealistic time frames as the December deadline fast approaches.
“The Builder Bonus is a great initiative but we need Government to extend the requirement of entering into a construction contract to at least 30 June 2021 to allow home builders and industry respond to demand,” he said.
“With Geraldton’s fisheries and the tourism sector hit hard by COVID-19, stimulus for the construction sector will help buoy the local economy, something we want to continue rather than cut short.
“New home construction is also a great way to drive investment and population growth in our city, which suddenly becomes a more appealing place to live if you can access land and a grant to assist with building costs.”
Industry groups such as the Master Builders Association and Housing Industry Association have been lobbying the State Government to extend the program until at least mid-2021 after building approvals jumped 30 per cent in August from the previous month as well as the fact that new home sales have jumped 175 per cent since June.
Last month an additional $30 million was added to the program, however, despite ongoing pleas from industry no changes have been made to the methodology or 31 December 2020 time frame applied to the program.
Mr Blayney, who has written to the State Treasurer suggesting an extension, said one Geraldton company had knocked back 25 new builds because it could not agree to enter into construction contracts before the December deadline.
“The program has done what is was supposed to – get people excited about constructing a new home and build a pipeline of work for industry,” he said.
“Now we need it extended to allow sufficient time for bank and engineering assessments and approvals, drafting, material supply, smoothing the labour force to improve trade availability and more time for land release and titling.
“With less time pressure more people will be able to participate in the program, construction stimulus will continue and the Mid West region as a whole benefits.
Under the program successful applicants can access $20,000 to build a new home on vacant land.