Housing poised to boost the budget

Housing poised to boost the budget

Posted on Friday, January 31 2014 at 4:06 PM

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) is encouraging the Federal Government to embrace the construction industry as a way to restore growth in the 2014/15 budget.

Graham Wolfe, the chief executive of industry
policy and media at HIA, says May’s budget should include measures that promote
growth in new home building.

“It’s important that the Commonwealth removes
impediments to growth in the sector, invests in training for the future
workforce and ensures that it improves the return that it is currently getting
from investments in affordable housing programs.”

The HIA says the home building industry
generates around $70 billion each year for Australia’s economy and is
recognised as a key driver of employment and economic activity as investment in
the mining boom winds down.

HIA has implored government to include
measures such as:

  • A Productivity Commission
    Inquiry into the cost of housing, including taxation and its impact on
    affordability, productivity and economic activity.
  • Increasing incentives for
    employers of apprentices, and improved commencement and completion incentives
    for apprentices.
  • Continued funding for the
    National Rental Affordability Scheme, with greater accountability measures and
    tying Commonwealth housing programs to performance incentive benchmarks
    targeting improvements in the supply of new housing.

The calls follow a recent survey by Master Builders
Australia (MBA) showing increased confidence in the industry.

Peter Jones, chief economist at MBA, says the building industry is set
to take up the slack from any mining downturn in the coming year.

“The turnaround in the industry outlook, particularly for residential
building, is encouraging for a wider economy grappling with below trend growth,
a soft labour market and concern over the gap left behind as resources
investment unwinds.”

The survey showed builders were starting to gain confidence in both the
residential and non-residential sectors with a rise in
the backlog of work in the industry.

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