The Northern Territory government has reinstated a popular tradies scheme in a stunning policy backflip after months of rejecting the need for it.
The new Labor government caved in to pressure to reintroduce the previous Country Liberals government's popular home improvement scheme, which gave home owners $2000 vouchers to employ local tradies.
Chief minister Michael Gunner says he's putting Territorians before his own pride, insisting the CLP's package will stimulate the flatlining economy.
"We have listened and we have taken decisive action," he said.
"Small and medium businesses are the engine room for jobs and many have been doing it tough for some time now."
Mr Gunner said the government will open the scheme up to people who have already accessed it, double the value available for people who haven't used it yet, increase the overall budget and extend the time it can be accessed.
Opposition Leader Gary Higgins applauded the "long overdue" move, heralding it a victory for the Territory.
"Labor has wasted the last five months playing politics with the economy and hard-working tradies," he said.
"The lack of urgency is endemic of this government and Territorians are owed an explanation why it took cabinet so long to make this decision."
Mr Gunner said the scheme will be budgeted in addition to a $22 million works package announced last year to prop up the faltering construction industry.
'BIGGER, BETTER' NT HOME IMPROVEMENT SCHEME:
- Territorians who have already received a $2000 voucher can access it again.
- Territorians who haven't previously accessed a $2000 voucher can now access a one-off $4000 voucher.
- Up to 50 per cent of the voucher can be used towards the cost of goods and materials.
- Subcontracting is now allowed under the scheme.
- $15 million budget (additional to the $11 million already spent).
- Applications can be made until 31 December, 2017 (unless funding is exhausted).
- Integrity measures (including site spot audits) will be undertaken to ensure compliance.
- Businesses can register from Monday, February 6.
- Homeowner applications commence from February 20.