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Welcome extension to Building Bonus

Industry leaders in Western Australia’s homebuilding scene have welcomed the State Government’s decision to extend the Building Bonus program, with builders now allowed 12 months from the date a building contract is signed to commence construction.

The program, introduced earlier this year to quell the effects of COVID-19 on the construction sector, originally required builders to begin site excavation works within six months of signing on the dotted line.

The extension will give builders an additional six months to begin their work, allowing consumers additional peace of mind that their new build will qualify for the $20,000 building incentive.

Building Bonus can still be used alongside the Commonwealth’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grants for eligible buyers, as well as the state’s stamp duty concessions and the $10,000 First Home Owner Grant for those who qualify.

Housing Industry Association WA Executive Director Cath Hart, who lobbied for an extension, deemed the decision a sensible move.

“It takes pressure off consumers who were concerned they’d miss out on their grant through no fault of their builder because of shortages of titled land and labour, and delays in lending and local government,” she said.

“Construction work across all sectors is drawing from the same workforce, so the decision is common sense and will especially help ease infrastructure-related labour shortages.

“We are confident industry will be able to deliver grant-related projects in the required timeframe without further extension beyond the 12 months.

“We hope to see a similar extension now to the federal HomeBuilder scheme as well.”

The Building Bonus extension was also given the nod by Master Builders WA Executive Director John Gelavis, who said it was critically important to help manage the huge spike in activity the industry was preparing for due to the $27.1 billion infrastructure and capital works program announced in the State Budget.

He praised the government for its incentive measures, which he said would deliver benefits far beyond builders and their clients.

“The housing industry in WA has declined more than 60 per cent since 2014 to disastrous levels and was too important to the state economy to be allowed to collapse under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Gelavis said.

“This package has rescued many businesses such as mum and dad builders, large builders, subbies, manufacturers, suppliers and apprentices, and will keep thousands of people in work and thousands of Western Australian families financially secure.

“The State Government has really backed the WA building and construction industry to not only remain operational but to be a key driver in rebuilding the economy and creating economic activity for the state.

“A strong building industry means a strong WA.”

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA also acknowledged the delight of property groups over the lengthier timeframe, which UDIA WA said followed months of canvassing.

Real estate developer Satterley, which develops masterplanned communities across WA, said the scheme was a much-needed boost to the housing industry and he hoped to see the Commonwealth take the State Government’s lead.

“I have been pleased to see that our extensive communication with peak property industry bodies, industry leaders and the State Government has produced a positive result,” Satterley Chief Executive Nigel Satterley said.

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