Doorstop Interview – Sydney – Saturday 17 April 2021





SUBJECT: HomeBuilder; First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: After months of putting pressure on the Government to make a simple change to the HomeBuilder scheme, they’ve finally caved in. This is a simple change. It doesn’t cost the Budget any money at all. It should have been made months ago rather than making homebuyers wait and be worried and anxious that they weren’t going to get their money. I want to thank all the people that have contacted my office asking for help about this. People like Brooke and Eric from South Australia, people who signed up for the HomeBuilder Scheme late last year, signed a contract to build a new house, signed up for a big mortgage and have been terrified in the last few weeks that they weren’t going to get the $25,000 grant to help them to pay that mortgage because time was running out, because it was going to be impossible for them to start construction in the next few weeks. It’s because of you telling your stories, going public, and putting pressure on this government, that they finally caved in and that they’ve finally seen sense.


The Government’s now had to make three changes to their HomeBuilder Scheme. All of them necessary, all of them because Labor has called for it and demanded those changes. First, extend the application period. Second, to increase the price cap. And third, to increase the time where construction can start. There are three changes that the government has had to make to fix this scheme, and it only happened because Labor has called for it. But there’s a fourth change they need to make as well, and that’s a change to help the 3000 people who had their homes burned down in the bushfires last year.


If anybody deserves $25,000 to build a home, it’s people who had their home burned down in the bushfires. As many people as there are that have applied for the HomeBuilder Scheme, not many of them are people who lost their home in the bushfires. Whether it’s because of delays with council approval, or whether it’s the rural fire service that needs to give approvals for where they rebuild, or whether it’s just the trauma and the time it takes to get over losing a home that you’ve built and lived in for a long, long time, a lot of the people who lost their homes in the bushfires haven’t been able to apply for this scheme. Unless there’s a special exemption made to make sure they can get it to, they’re going to miss out. So I asked the government, you’ve made three changes that we’ve called for, there’s a fourth one you need to make as well – make an exemption to this scheme to make sure that bushfire victims don’t miss out from being able to access it. As I said a moment ago, if anybody deserves help to build a home, it’s people who had their home burned down in front of them in the bushfires.


Just a quick comment about a story that’s in the Australian newspaper today about the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. There’s a story there that suggests the government is going to increase the price cap where you can access that scheme. My response to this is, this is a no brainer. The government should do this, and they should do it now. They don’t need to wait for the Budget, they should implement this change as soon as possible. While they’re at it, there’s another change they can make to this scheme.


Last year, they extended that scheme for 10,000 people who are first time buyers building their first time, but the catch here is that that only applies for this financial year. It’s not a permanent change to the scope. The government should make that permanent. They can make that change in the Budget in a couple of couple of weeks. In fact, they could go further than that. They could even implement the policy that I announced with Anthony Albanese last year, and that is remove the cap all together so you can help more first home buyers who are building a new home. It will help with housing supply, it’ll mean more jobs for tradies and it will mean more help for first home buyers.


Finally, just to comment on the death reported overnight of Andrew Peacock. Andrew Peacock was a giant of the Liberal Party. I never got to meet Mr. Peacock, but as a kid I grew up watching him on the TV seeing those titanic battles between him and Bob Hawke, and Paul Keating and John Howard. He served Australia with distinction, not just as Opposition Leader, but he represented Australia on the world stage as Foreign Minister, and as the Ambassador to the United States. Mr. Peacock will be long remembered. His death overnight is a reminder to us of the ravages of time; that as time marches on, we lose many of our political greats. Over the last few years, we’ve lost Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, we’ve lost the great Bob Hawke and now Andrew Peacock, who will be fondly remembered by the Australian people. And can I please pass on my sincere condolences to Mr. Peacocks family and friends. Thanks very much.