explainer

EXPLAINER: Everything to know about the HomeBuilder grant, and whether or not you're eligible.

The federal government has announced a new stimulus package as Australia is confirmed to be in its first recession in 29 years, and the battle to pull us back from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The $688 million HomeBuilder program is being touted by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a “tradie-led recovery” of the economy. But you only qualify for a grant if you plan on spending more than $150,000 on renovations, and you meet an income test.

As Today Show host Karl Stefanovic pointed out this morning, “it’s very confusing,” and involves a lot of red tape and very specific eligibility requirements.

WATCH: The Prime Minister announcing the new package. Post continues after video.

Video via Seven

Here are all your questions about this morning’s announcement answered.

What is it?

The $668 million boils down to $25,000 grants for Australians hoping to renovate.

“If you’ve been putting off that renovation or new build, the extra $25,000 we’re putting on the table along with record low interest rates means now’s the time to get started,” the Prime Minister explained this morning.

Who qualifies?

The grants are open to people earning less than $125,000 a year or $200,000 per couple, and will benefit first home buyers looking to build a new home, or families hoping to renovate an existing property.

They can be used for new homes valued up to $750,000 including land, or renovations worth between $150,000 and $750,000 that will result in the property being priced at $1.5 million or less.

So to but that simply, you have to be spending $150,000 or more on a renovation and be earning less than a particular amount of money to be eligible.

The money can’t be used on investment properties or to build things outside the house such as swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages. The works must improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of the dwelling.

Work has to be done by a licensed builder, so owner-builders and DIY renovators miss out.

The cash will be offered for any contracts entered into between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020.

How will it benefit our economy?

Thanks to the economic downturn, the construction sector is facing massive job losses once projects already underway tail off.

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To date, 30 per cent of work has been cancelled.

The government predicts this package will support 140,000 direct construction jobs and a million workers in the wider residential building sector.

Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Denita Wawn said the program would be a lifeline for the embattled industry.

What are the critics saying?

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has rubbished the job-creation claims and says the scheme is restrictive and poorly targeted.

He scolded the government for refusing to fund social or affordable housing projects.

Opposition housing spokesman Jason Clare thinks the package will encourage 10,000 or 15,000 people to sign building contracts (the government has predicted 27, 500 will take up the offer), and says failing to build or improve public housing and address homelessness is a “massive missed opportunity.”

“Forcing taxpayers to renovate other people’s homes to aid some tradie, who probably earns more than the average taxpayer, is economic and political stupidity,” wrote The Australian’s economics editor Adam Creighton.

The mood on Twitter is one of anger, with many sharing their “disbelief” at the package.

“If you want to hand out money to stimulate the building industry, why not channel it through all those people whose homes were lost or damaged in the fires?” one person asked.

“When you’re finally able to decipher the confusing messaging around the government’s HomeBuilder scheme, you realise that yet again, it’s out of reach for most Australians and designed for rich people,” wrote another.

– With AAP.

Feature image: Getty.

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