The government’s home-building and renovation scheme will be means-tested, with Australians who have lost their homes in bushfires expected to receive priority access.
Australians can earn up to $125,000 to be eligible for the scheme, or $200,000 as a couple, The Herald Sun has reported. That’s based on similar income tests for the government’s first home deposit scheme, announced during the last election.
While the government hasn’t yet confirmed the official support, sources said the grants will be closer to $25,000 rather than $40,000 under the new stimulus package which targets low- to middle-income earners, and attempts to inject cash into the construction and trades sector, according to reports.
And in order to be eligible, home owners and buyers need to confirm they’re using the money for large projects like building a home, remodelling or adding an extension.
The concept behind the scheme is to employ tradies, so small DIY projects are out, Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasised on Monday. There are also plans to extend the scheme to Australians who have previously bought property but are considering building a home.
“House building, residential construction, is going to be one of those gaps we need to address,” he said.
“We’ll have more to say about this once the details are finalised, but it is about creating jobs and supporting jobs in our residential construction sector.”
The Australian building industry is struggling: while 159,000 homes were originally lined up for completion by 2021, now there are only 116,000.
Master Builders Australia has also warned that as many as 1.2 million jobs are at risk from the slowdown in home-building.
Morrison also said there will be measures in place to stop people from “rorting” the system.
Further details on the scheme are expected to be announced on Thursday.
However, the existing first home buyer scheme provides some clues about who will receive the money and how much of it in each state.
Around Australia, most of the schemes targeting first home buyers building new homes require the property be worth no more than $750,000, with the value of the grant differing between states and territories.