The state government of Victoria has laid out plans to help boost the construction sector, including extending the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) for regional buyers and setting up a taskforce.
The FHOG grants $20,000 to first-home buyers who plan to purchase a regional home with a value of up to $750,000. The scheme also provides grants for metropolitan buyers, but the extension only applies to regional purchases.
The regional grant, which was originally due to end in June, will be extended until the middle of 2021.
"We know the coronavirus pandemic is making it even tougher for young people to achieve their dreams of homeownership — that's why we're extending the grant which has helped so many regional Victorians,” said State Treasurer Tim Pallas.
Also read: Victorian Rental Package: Help Or Hindrance For Landlords?
Fiona Nield, Victorian executive director for the Housing Industry Association (HIA), said this move will be crucial in stabilising home-building activity in regional areas.
"HIA has been advocating for the government to provide support to home buyers and the home building industry during this difficult time. Given the economic conditions, first-home buyers need measured support to have confidence they can buy a new home," she said.
Furthermore, Nield believes the extension of the grant will help provide a much-needed stimulus to regional jobs and employment.
The state government also set up a dedicated taskforce to help keep the state's building and development industry active.
The initial task of the taskforce is to oversee the fast-tracking of planning approvals. It will also work with industry and unions to review existing major building and development projects.
"Given the economic challenges caused by coronavirus, it's more important than ever that we support our building and development industry and the thousands of people it employs," Pallas said.
Nield said HIA's appointment to the taskforce will help the government address concerns in the residential building industry.
"The particular circumstances of COVID-19 only reinforce the significant capacity of the residential building industry to continue operating under the current social distancing and other limitations," she said.
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