Building industry says “yes we can” build 1.2 million homes

The building industry has thrown its support behind the Federal Government’s “ambitious” plans to build 1.2 million homes over five years to tackle the ongoing housing crisis.

National Cabinet has pledged to build 1.2 million homes over five years from July 2024, with a $3 billion New Home Bonus performance fund to incentivise the states and territories to build even more homes.

HIA’s Deputy Managing Director – Industry and Policy, Jocelyn Martin said the government’s new target of 1.2 million homes is an increase of 200,000 homes above the one-million target is achievable.

“This is an ambitious target, but ambition is the path to success and bold action is exactly what is needed,” Ms Martin said.

“So yes, we can build these new homes but it will require cooperation across all levels of government and a commitment to unprecedented change.”

Ms Martin said supply side pressures have eased, which will free up the capacity to build more homes in the coming years.

 “Supply chain capacity arose over the last few years as a result of extraordinary circumstances, disruptions to global supply chains and a huge spike in demand within a very short time frame,” she said.

“These pressures have dissipated now and the five year horizon should enable supply chains to adjust and build confidence among suppliers.”

She said skills shortages in the industry are likely to be one of the greatest challenges.

“In order to support the industry to grow the workforce, there must be ongoing support for apprentices and the employers who provide on-the-job training,” Ms Martin said.

“Initiatives to attract more females to the sector, incentives to make mature-age apprentices more affordable and mentoring programs to retain apprentices are all important to support the need for skills.”

According to Ms Martin, to achieve these lofty goals, some of the key issues that need to be addressed are access to land and improved policies, which governments will need to address.

“The home building industry has the capacity to build the homes needed, but it requires access to land at a lower cost, reduced taxes and stable and reliable policy settings,” she said.

“National Cabinet’s National Planning Reform Blueprint is a welcome recognition of the need to streamline the approval processes.

“Incentivising the state and local governments with the Housing Support Bonus ensures that all levels of government are accountable for their part of the delivery program.”

Ms Martin said making finance easier to access would also help speed up the process.

“The banking system needs to take some responsibility to improve capacity,” she said.

She said builders and their clients also need more flexibility, including allowing cost-plus contracts where they suit the parties.

“Imposts which fall solely on the construction of new homes such as moves to 7-star and beyond need proper consultation and transition plans to limit the cost impost on new homes and on affordability,” she said.

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