Homes for Queenslanders

8 February 2024

Master Builders congratulates the Miles Government on the announcement of its Homes for Queenslanders plan.

Aiming to ‘build a better future’ for our state, the plan consists of five key pillars. The most relevant to the building and construction industry is pillar one: ‘More homes, faster.’

Premier Steven Miles has set a target of delivering one million new homes by 2046, acknowledging 95 per cent of these will be delivered in the private housing market.

This equates to around 45,500 homes needing to be built on average each year, for the next 22 years.

However, owing to the current conditions our industry is facing, this begs the question – how will we make this happen?

Labour shortages, increased costs of building, and red tape are ongoing problems, and we have expressed our concerns that the target the Miles Government has set can’t be met without additional steps.

The latest data from the ABS shows just 32,508 new dwellings commenced in Queensland in the year to September 2023. This, as we know, is well short of where we need to be.

What does the building and construction industry need to help support this plan?

There’s no silver bullet – but there are some things we’ll continue to advocate for.

Remove the unnecessary burdens weighing down industry

Queensland construction has faced an avalanche of regulatory changes over the past few years. Every time a new requirement is imposed, it costs time and money. For example, the latest Building Code changes imposed substantial new requirements on the delivery of new homes and major renovations that are increasing the cost of construction and the administrative burden on builders, some of which we say were not needed. Government needs to help industry by easing up these changes.

Project trust accounts is another requirement that imposes a huge administrative burden on builders without any proven benefit.

Building our workforce

The government also acknowledges the building workforce needs to grow as we don’t have enough skilled labour. We acknowledge the government’s announcement to invest in training and establish a new Construction Workforce Fund. We don’t yet have the detail, but certainly hope this would not be a new levy adding more cost to construction, which we would strongly oppose.

And more funding, while a good start, won’t be enough to address the problem. We also need to provide more support to existing building businesses to employ and retain skilled workers and run successful businesses. For example, subsidies for taking on apprentices and grants to adopt business improvement software.

Working smarter, not harder

To build more homes faster, we need to work smarter. The government has included modern methods of construction in its plan. We will be telling them that one way to do this is incorporation of prefabricated building components, such as floor and roof cassettes and wall panels. A strong Queensland manufacturing base should also be supported by government. This would need to work in tandem with training and support for building businesses to incorporate modern methods of construction.

We welcome the announcement that government will provide infrastructure charges relief for infill development, streamlined planning decisions, and assistance for buyers.

We also continue to call for a state-wide mandatory housing code to streamline planning rules.

Severe weather and sustainability

Storm and cyclone season 2023-24 has been nothing short of brutal – and there are still a couple of months to go.

While new builds are key, we can’t ignore existing homes and the importance of upgrading our older stock to be more resilient when faced with extreme weather events. Every time there is a storm, cyclone, flood or fire, skilled building trades are diverted to repair work. The less homes that need repairs, the more workers we have for new housing stock.

We are calling for rebates for property owners to improve the sustainability and resilience of existing homes if they use a licensed contractor to carry out legitimate upgrades.

We need the Miles Government to pull every lever possible, to build more homes, more quickly, and more affordably, as it is setting out to do.

Read our 2024 Policy and Advocacy Agenda

Visit the state government’s Homes for Queenslanders website

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