There are growing concerns regional battlers may miss out because the scheme is targeted at wealthy city dwellers.
There are growing concerns regional battlers may miss out because the scheme is targeted at wealthy city dwellers.

We’ve got reno fever as thousands chase $25,000 cash offer

THE Morrison Government's HomeBuilder website recorded more than 100,000 hits in less than a day with Queenslanders among the most active hopeful recipients of the $25,000 grants.

Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said the surge of initial interest on the website, which went live at 5pm on Thursday, was a "very welcome" sign for tradies fearing a plunge in work later in the year.

Lane Stockton from Stockton Homes is one Queensland tradie hopeful to see work generated by the HomeBuilder scheme. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Lane Stockton from Stockton Homes is one Queensland tradie hopeful to see work generated by the HomeBuilder scheme. Picture: Nigel Hallett

But Labor raised more concerns that the $688 million grant scheme for building new homes or large renovations was only targeted at wealthy city dwellers with regional battlers unlikely to be able to cash in.

Mr Sukkar said the scheme was vital for creating a strong pipeline of work for tradies for the rest of 2020 as the economy attempted to rebound from the coronavirus malaise.

"Queenslanders have shown enormous interest in HomeBuilder, with over 1,300 registering their interest in the program in less than 24 hours," he said.

"There have now been over 100,000 visits to the HomeBuilder website.

"Such a surge in initial interest is very welcome for the tradies we want to keep in work through HomeBuilder."

The only state recording more registrations in the first day was Victoria with 1,414 followed by New South Wales (999) and South Australia (765).

The demand-driven scheme would require 27,520 home builders or renovators to get the full grant amount to reach the government's projected cost of $688 million.

But the Opposition remained sceptical the scheme would reach anywhere near that size as it had been placed out of reach of battlers with only renovations costing more than $150,000 eligible.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said his office had received overwhelmingly negative responses from hundreds of phone calls and emails about the scheme.

"It's all geared to more affluent, asset rich people who live in Sydney, Melbourne and even Brisbane," he said.

"It's not going to help in regional areas. It will go down badly in places like Gladstone, Townsville, Toowoomba, Mackay and Rockhampton. It's going down badly in Ipswich, I'll tell you."

Originally published as We've got reno fever as thousands chase $25,000 cash offer


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