Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Housing. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's HomeBuilder program is supporting employment in the residential construction sector, including in my electorate of Ryan, and how it is helping us ensure we build a stronger Australia in 2021?
I thank the member for Ryan for his question. It was a great pleasure for me to be able to visit his electorate last week and see firsthand some of the outstanding work that is happening in his electorate, and it was also good to see a local member so highly regarded by the tradies on sites. He wasn't highly regarded for his skills as a bricklayer, I hate to say—he makes a much better member of parliament than a bricklayer—but at least he had a go.
The HomeBuilder program, as members in this House should know, has ticked over 83½ thousand applications, supporting a million employees but also, and importantly, supporting 390,000 small and family businesses. We on this side of the House care for small and family businesses—390,000 of them have been supported by HomeBuilder. One of them, Fresh Homes, we were able to visit, the member for Ryan and I, and he took us around three projects that he had in this particular development and introduced us to all the tradies they had on site. He told us that before HomeBuilder Fresh Homes was building 20 homes a year. Prior to HomeBuilder, they were building 20 a year. A pretty substantial effort. After HomeBuilder, they are now building 100 homes a year—so from 20 homes to 100 homes.
What does that mean? Members on this side of the House know that just means jobs. Whether it's the bricklayer onsite who was trying to teach the member for Ryan how to work, whether it's the carpenters that are onsite, these are people that have been supported by the program. Sadly, for those opposite, all those tradies onsite knew that the Labor Party opposed the HomeBuilder program. Every single one of those tradies knew that the Labor Party stood in the way of them and the HomeBuilder program.
In addition to standing in the way of those jobs, in addition to standing in the way of the residential construction industry, the Labor Party stood in the way of first home buyers, because one of the largest cohorts of recipients of the HomeBuilder grant has been first home buyers. We are a government that is dedicated to helping people get into their first home. We know the Labor Party's vacated the space on helping first home buyers. That's why first home ownership is at its highest level in over 10 years. We're also supporting, as I keep saying, the million Australians who work in the residential construction industry. And it's because of the members on this side of the House, including the member for Ryan, supporting those tradies in their electorate, that this will help fuel our recovery throughout this year and into the next year.