Doorstop Interview – Sydney – Monday 17 August 2020


SUBJECTS: Treasury and housing industry predict bloodbath; HomeBlunder.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: For months we’ve been saying that the housing construction industry is about to go off a cliff. Well, here’s the proof. Here’s the cliff.

The red line is Treasury’s forecasts. On Friday afternoon Treasury finally revealed what they expect to happen to the housing construction industry over the next 12 months. It shows that they expect the number of homes to be built this financial year to drop to as low as 140,000 from 170,000 last year. The blue line is the forecast of the Housing Industry Association. They predict that the number of homes built this financial year could drop to as low as 138 or 139,000. And the orange line is the forecast from Macromonitor. They predicted could drop to as low as 129,000. And today we get even worse news.
Today, the Master Builders Association has released their forecast – and it’s even worse. They forecast that the number of homes built this financial year could drop to as low as 125,000. In their press release today, they say “our industry is facing a bloodbath. There’s simply no other way to describe it.”
A “bloodbath”, and that’s with the Government’s HomeBuilder Scheme already factored in. All of these forecasts factor in the Government’s HomeBuilder Scheme.
This is a disaster for thousands and thousands of tradies in the housing game. It’s a disaster for all of those small mum and dad businesses in the housing game. This is an industry that employs almost a million Aussies building homes for other Aussies, and when this line goes down, lots of people lose their job. For months, we’ve been saying that the HomeBuilder scheme is not enough and here’s the proof. When that line goes down, Aussies lose their jobs.
This Government is great at slogans – HomeBuilder is a great slogan – but they’re terrible at delivery. They announced the scheme almost 11 weeks ago and still not one single application has been approved. They announced this scheme 11 weeks ago said they’d be 27,000 applications. So far we’ve only had about 247. The Government has let Australian tradies down. Now they’ve got no excuse for not acting. We’ve got the forecasts from their own department, from the Minister’s own department, from Treasury, that says that this industry is going off a cliff and the jobs are going to be lost. The Government now has to act. They’ve got to get their head out of the sand and start pouring cement.

One way you can do that is what we did during the GFC. That’s building more social housing, repairing social housing, building more affordable housing. For God’s sake, there’s about 100,000 different homes across the country that the Government owns that are dilapidated, in serious disrepair, riddled with mould. I had someone ring me the other day in my office; she’s got raw sewage in her public housing unit pouring into the bathroom. They’re the sorts of things we could get tradies on to right now. Give them work and save their jobs.
If the Government doesn’t listen to us, if they don’t listen to their own department, then the only thing a lot of tradies are going to be building is a longer line out the front of Centrelink.