Queenslanders will head to the polls on 26 October, and not dissimilar to other parts of the country, the dual housing and cost of living crises are top of the agenda.

Earlier this year, Master Builders spoke with more than 1500 people across the state to get their thoughts on what their main concerns were leading up to the election.

It was no great surprise to hear that housing was among the top three. Other standouts included 9 out of 10 of those surveyed telling us they thought the government should be doing more to fix the housing crisis. They supported a roll back of red tape, to help provide those all-important homes, faster and more affordably.

Three out of five participants said they wanted reduced costs and more choice, via the removal of unnecessary regulations. They also told us that whinging won’t help – getting on with the job will.

Off the back of this research, we launched our Home Truths campaign in May, calling on all sides of politics to better support the building and construction industry to grow the state for the good of all.

Over the last few months, we’ve been meeting with government and key stakeholders to discuss the issues concerning our industry right now and seeking their support on our plan to get housing back on track in Queensland.

The April building approvals figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlight how far Queensland is when it comes to meeting unmet demand for housing.

At 32,000 builds over the last 12 months, we are still well short of our state’s National Cabinet target of 49,000 per year for the next five years – while household growth is closer to 55,000 per annum – a staggering shortfall.

Our industry also faces an unprecedented pipeline of projects to deliver for the benefit of our communities, including for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, the government’s health capital works program, transport infrastructure, houses, schools plus renewable energy and water projects.

The Queensland Government recently handed down its 2024-25 Budget, committing billions of dollars towards tackling the state’s housing crisis – an issue also prevalent in other parts of the country right now.

In our view, this Budget failed to trigger levers that could provide immediate relief on the crisis, without costing a cent.

As we know, the industry is battling ongoing issues including the skilled labour shortage, a 40 per cent jump in building costs over the last three years, and an avalanche of regulatory change including under the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022.

The state government has committed $107 billion over the next four years, placing greater pressure on our industry as we struggle to deliver the homes and infrastructure our communities need, and further driving up construction costs in the face of falling productivity.

The Budget also highlights that these cost hikes have hit the government’s own projects, to the tune of $2 billion over two years.

It’s clear that decisive and immediate action is needed to turn things around.

We need the Best Practice Industry Conditions applied more flexibly, to ensure government projects over $100 million and large high-rise unit developments can be delivered more affordably, without compromising on build quality, or placing worker safety at risk.

We welcomed some of the measures that do address the crisis. This includes the boost to the Stamp Duty threshold for first homeowners to $700,000, and the first home vacant land concession threshold rising to $350,000.

But, this initiative, as well as the First Home Owner Grant (doubled last year to a cap of $750,000 for house and land packages) are both too low, potentially excluding first home buyers in some areas.

The Budget commitment to build 600 new modular homes could also be taken further by investing some of the government’s significant take from Stamp Duty into supporting locally manufactured building components, slashing construction timeframes.

Queensland’s strong regional footprint also delivers an opportunity for our state to lead on this agenda, creating jobs and building more homes off the back of the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Program.

We’ve welcomed the government’s commitment to expand fee-free vocational training, plus the $1000 cashback on tools for first-year apprentices, but the Budget failed to offer assistance to businesses paying and training the apprentices we need.

Outside of the mechanism of the Budget, we will continue to call for the roll back of the unwarranted changes in National Construction Code 2022, and scrap project trust accounts which simply do not work. Our recent letter to the Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon outlines the measures we are asking her to support us on.

We remain committed to working with all sides of politics to find workable measures to address the housing crisis, right now, and in the longer term.


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