My member statement is in relation to the first home builders bonus. A recent report was commissioned by the McKell Institute, and it found that two-thirds of Geelong residents under the age of 35 will never be able to achieve homeownership due to the costs of purchasing a home. Quoted in the Geelong Advertiser of 6 April, report co-author Dr Kim Williams stated:
“Even in Geelong homeownership is becoming something for older people … In Geelong it now costs between six and a half and seven times the median salary to purchase a home.”
To assist with purchasing their new home, first home builders or buyers in regional areas like Geelong are eligible for an extra $19 500 under the current first home buyers bonus scheme up until 1 July this year. This bonus is essential to the growth of suburbs such as Armstrong Creek and many new developments around Ballarat and other parts of western Victoria. In the Weekly Times of 4 April, Ballarat builder Tony McMaster is quoted as calling the bonus ‘critical’, and he is reported as saying that the on-flows of this to the rest of the community are massive.
The Baillieu government is refusing to commit to continuing the first home bonus program past 30 June this year. The dithering of this government around making this commitment creates a huge amount of uncertainty for those who are buying a house and who depend on the housing and construction market for their jobs. Failing to commit to this program will make it more difficult for Victorians to build or purchase their first home, and it will also have a damaging impact on Victorian jobs and the state of the businesses of local builders.