Scott Morrison flags coronavirus stimulus for builders, amid reports scheme will include cash grants for home renos
The residential building industry and the arts are the focus of a new round of coronavirus economic stimulus being finalised by the Federal Government.
The two sectors, along with tourism, are expected to take longer than others to recover from the deadly pandemic, even after restrictions are eased.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg were working on the new stimulus measures, but did not offer details.
Forecasts suggest investment in residential housing will be down 20 per cent in the June quarter.
“House building, residential construction, is going to be one of those gaps we need to address,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’ll have more to say about this once the details are finalised, but it is about creating jobs and supporting jobs in our residential construction sector.
“The tradies and all the others, the apprentices and others who work in that home-building sector, are a sector we know are going to feel a lot of pain unless we can keep a continuity in the business with house construction.”
The Australian newspaper has reported that direct cash grants for home renovations could be part of a multi-billion-dollar building stimulus package.
But the Government refused to confirm those details when asked by the ABC.
Federal Labor has welcomed greater support for the housing construction industry but urged the Government to act faster.
Housing spokesman Jason Clare said a comprehensive stimulus package was urgently needed to save the industry.
“We need them to hurry up,” he said.
“This is taking too long. We’ve known for weeks that the housing industry’s expected to go off a cliff.
“The forecasts are pretty terrifying.”
Mr Morrison has previously flagged targeted measures to support the tourism sector.
Earlier on Monday he flagged targeted support would also be offered to the entertainment and film industries.
Many arts and entertainment workers have been excluded from the Government’s underspent JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.
That program is costing the Government $60 billion less than originally expected, but Mr Morrison has ruled out expanding the eligibility.
“We’ve gone from the big, broad strokes of JobKeeper and JobSeeker, but as time goes on we’ll be able to narrow it in and focus more on those sectors which need that longer-term support,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.