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Master Builders: QLD state government budget needs to deliver

08 July, 2015

Master Builders wants the Queensland Government to support the building industry by keeping the $15,000 first home-owners grant, increasing infrastructure spending and revamping taxation.

With asset sales off the agenda, the government needs to come up with a new plan to help the building and construction industry play its part in delivering the jobs, homes, schools and offices that Queensland needs.

Master Builders' deputy executive director Paul Bidwell said the latest building approval figures demonstrated that the residential sector is booming in the south-east but patchy across the state, particularly in Central Queensland and Mackay.

We also have a situation where only 11 per cent of the money loaned for housing is going toward the construction of new homes. This channelling of demand into existing housing is pushing up house prices and decreasing affordability.

The first-home-buyers grant, which is available to those who build a new house, helps to redress this imbalance and must be continued.

"Our industry also desperately needs a strong infrastructure program that will increase demand for new construction and create a wave of investment and jobs out into the regions," Bidwell said.

"Increased government expenditure in infrastructure at this time is important as the industry moves out of the resource investment boom.

"It will unlock new opportunities and help smooth the damaging swings of chronic under- and over-investment, especially in regional Queensland."

Given the parlous state of Queensland's finances we need to look at clever ways to provide infrastructure. We aren't expecting magical solutions that would change things overnight. What is needed is an ongoing dialogue between the government and industry

Bidwell said a shake-up of state taxes was also long overdue and should be made a priority as part of the budget. "Stamp duty in particular needs reforming as it discourages the turnover of housing and distorts choices between renting and buying," Bidwell said.

"Tweaks to Queensland's stamp duty arrangements for all new residential developments would boost the housing sector, while ensuring that Queensland is in a stronger position to attract more investment from interstate and overseas."

One example is the stamp duty double dip where 'spec homes' are subject to a double hit of stamp duty, adding up to $19,000 to the cost of the average home delivered as a house and land package.

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