24 May 2019
REGIONAL Queensland is sitting top of mind in Master Builders’ recommendations to the Queensland Government ahead of the upcoming 2019-20 State Budget.
2019 is already proving to be a challenging year for the building and construction industry, which is facing a softening economy, coupled with rising costs, and significant changes in government policy at both a state and federal level.
Recent dwelling approvals data highlights a sharp decline in building activity across Queensland, but particularly apparent in regional areas, which is why we’re urging the government not to leave Queenslanders out in the cold.
“As we move into the new financial year, the Queensland Government must to do more to ensure that the building and construction industry can continue its role as the cornerstone of the Queensland economy and address the drop in demand for new housing,” Master Builders Deputy CEO, Paul Bidwell said.
“Our key recommendations with the 2019-20 State Budget are to Bring Back the Boost to the First Home Owners’ Grant in regional Queensland and carefully consider the government’s own capital expenditure.
“The Boost in the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant to $20,000 was an important tool in bringing first home owners into the market, but it came to an end on 30 June 2018.
“It might seem logical to dismiss the return of the Boost now that the federal government is promising loan assistance to first home owners, but in our view, now is the perfect time to give regional Queensland first home buyers an additional leg up. This would also address the drop in new home buyers, particularly those building new homes.
In addition to assistance for first home owners, capital expenditure on public buildings and engineering construction needs to be top of mind for government so that we can meet the needs of a growing population spread across our large state.
“To ensure that a growing Queensland continues to have the buildings and infrastructure it needs, and the construction industry can provide long-term employment opportunities, we are calling on the government to establish a Queensland Public Sector Building and Construction Capital Expenditure Benchmark,” Mr Bidwell said.
“The benchmark should be set at the 25-year average of 2.7 per cent of gross state product.
“We’ve also recommended a second benchmark, for the public (residential and non-residential) building component of the total spend. This should also be set at the 25-year average which for this component is 0.6 per cent of gross state product. This would mean an additional $1.1 billion annual expenditure on top of the $1.1 billion spent in 2017-18.
“In addition to allocating more funding for building and construction projects, the state government needs to do a better job at spending the money they allocate in the budget.
“Over the past four years, (to 2017-18) only four in every five dollars has actually been spent. In total, more than $6.1 billion that was set aside over those four years was not spent. Thousands of jobs across the state have gone begging.”
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