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Housing : March 2009
Government Stimulus Package Rudd goverment backs HIA recovery plan New homes and more jobs are just part of what’s to come out of Australia’s national building and jobs plan. Nassim Khadem reports. I n a bid to spur economic growth and address the chronic undersupply of public housing the Australian Government has proposed a $6.6 billion investment in housing. The measure aims to provide an additional 20,000 new homes across Australia in the next two years and is part of the government’s broader $42 billion economic stimulus package. HIA has argued strongly for some time for an urgent investment measure for the housing industry, citing concerns that a failure to provide an investment in the sector would place as many as 85,000 jobs in the housing industry at risk. Under the housing package, $6 billion will be set aside for new public and community housing including multi-unit and detached dwellings. The package will also have a positive impact on housing starts, offsetting the current and expected downturn from the global financial crisis. HIA had real concerns that housing starts could be as low as 135,000 starts this calendar year, so this measure will provide a necessary boost for construction activity. It will also provide housing for the more than 170,000 families and individuals on public and community housing waiting lists. ‘The core of the scheme bears the imprint of the Housing Industry Association, an influential contributor to recent policy debates’ The package is also expected to encourage 150,000 housing starts nationally each year over the next two years. As part of the package, the federal government will also cover the cost of ceiling insulation for more than two million owner-occupied dwellings, and increase from $500 to $1000 the rebate on ceiling insulation for 500,000 rental Far left (L–R): Treasurer Wayne Swan, HIA Managing Director Ron Silberberg, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek. Left: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announces the $6.6 billion allocation. Photos by Auspic 11