$408 million in additional investments for housing and homelessness

Thursday, 12 May 2022

  • State Budget commits $408 million for new housing and homelessness measures
  • Investment includes new $350 million Remote Communities Fund
  • McGowan Government committed to help build safe, strong and fair communities
  • In addition to $884 million committed in 2021-22 State Budget, taking total invested in housing and homelessness to $1.3 billion over the past two years 

The McGowan Labor Government has committed an additional $408 million towards housing and homelessness measures in the 2022-23 State Budget to build safe, strong and fair communities.

The investment is headlined by a new $350 million Remote Communities Fund, which will support improved water, power and municipal services, and increase housing availability in remote Aboriginal communities.

In addition to the new investments, the McGowan Government has announced a range of new tax reform measures, which will promote greater housing diversity and affordability.

This includes changes to land tax to promote more build-to-rent developments, which will assist with the long-term supply and affordability of rental accommodation in Western Australia.

Build-to-rent is a relatively new model of urban housing in WA, where apartments are developed for the purposes of renting rather than being onsold.

The State Government will also pilot a new Keystart product, targeted at assisting low and middle income earners to purchase medium and high-density housing in inner-city Perth and METRONET precincts, as well as other priority urban infill areas.

$19.1 million will also be invested to develop new residential land in the key regional cities of Karratha and Kalgoorlie. The investment will release 62 new residential lots in Karratha’s Madigan Estate and 35 new residential lots in Kalgoorlie’s GreenView Estate.

Other new measures announced in the Budget are:

  • $19.7 million for the delivery of a Perth Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility;
  • a 50 per cent land tax concession for new build-to-rent developments;
  • enhancement of transfer duty rebates for off-the-plan apartment purchases to help promote more investment in high-density developments, including a 100 per cent rebate for apartments valued up to $500,000;
  • Keystart’s income eligibility limits will be permanently increased to $105,000 for singles and $155,000 for couples and families; and
  • a new Keystart pilot product aimed at supporting medium and high-density living around transport hubs. 

The new measures complement a number of existing investments in housing and homelessness, including:

  • $2.1 billion worth of investment in social housing, which will include the delivery of 3,300 new homes;
  • $45 million in the coming financial year for a continued spot purchasing program for new social housing;
  • $38 million for the delivery of two Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facilities in Geraldton and Kununurra; and
  • more than $70 million for the delivery of two new Common Ground homeless facilities in Perth and Mandurah, to provide 162 apartments and wrap around supports for rough sleepers. This includes $8 million in Commonwealth funding through the Perth City Deal. 

The additional $408 million takes the housing and homelessness investment from the past two State Budgets to $1.3 billion.

For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

Comments attributed to Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan:

“Our Government is committed to building safe, strong and fair communities, and supporting the wellbeing of vulnerable Western Australians.

“In the past two years, we have committed nearly $1.3 billion to housing and homelessness measures across the State – including the single largest one-off investment in social housing by any Government in WA.

“The commitments in this year’s Budget complement the significant program of work already underway, including $2.1 billion worth of investment in social housing and more than $70 million for the delivery of two Common Ground facilities in Perth and Mandurah.

“We’ll continue to advocate for the Federal Government to provide adequate funding for remote communities, which has historically been a Commonwealth responsibility.”

Comments attributed to Housing and Homelessness Minister John Carey:

“This Budget delivers some significant outcomes for improved housing availability and affordability across our State, including in key regional locations.

“The $350 million Remote Communities Fund will significantly improve water and power infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities, as well as expanding the number of available homes.

“We’re also continuing our significant reforms to housing delivery in Western Australia, with a 50 per cent cut to land tax to promote build-to-rent developments, a housing option that is well-established in other parts of Australia but less used in WA.

“All of the measures complement the significant amount of investment our Government has made to expand housing across Western Australia, including $2.1 billion for social housing, more than $70 million for two Common Ground facilities and our Government’s Housing Diversity Pipeline.”

Premier’s office – 6552 5000

Housing and Homelessness Minister’s office – 6552 5300

New measures to protect home owners 

New measures to protect home owners and support building and construction industry

Thursday, 12 May 2022

  • Package of initiatives to assist consumers and the building and construction industry
  • Premier to urge action from Federal Government and major banks to stabilise industry through global uncertainty
  • $30 million allocated to relief scheme for head contractors on government projects impacted by unforeseen supply chain impacts

The McGowan Government has announced a series of measures to protect local home builders and home owners, help stabilise the building and construction industry, and attract skilled workers to Western Australia.

The building and construction sector, which has played a significant role in keeping WA’s economy strong through the pandemic, is experiencing major impacts from global supply chain disruptions.

In many cases, global supply shortages have led to increasing costs and delays to projects in WA, impacting a range of developments from residential through to major infrastructure.

Record employment levels in WA have also resulted in workforce and skills pressures.

Initiatives to provide stability and support to the building and construction industry include:

  • a $30 million financial relief scheme to assist head contractors with rising costs on Department of Finance and Department of Communities projects which face unforeseen supply chain impacts;
  • the Premier will urge major banks for a flexible approach to progress payments and cash flow support for WA builders;
  • rise and fall provisions to be included in future government contracts, where appropriate, to reduce risk for tendering builders;
  • revising timeframes on a range of government projects to better account for current market conditions;
  • creation of a new Department of Communities prequalification panel to include small and medium-sized builders to pre-qualify to price for future projects; and
  • support for an additional (fifth) progress payment on Keystart builds to provide cash flow support to Keystart builders, with the Keystart Board to make the final decision.

To attract skilled workers over the medium to longer term, as well as deliver WA’s record-breaking pipeline of building and construction work, the McGowan Government will:

  • request a newly elected Federal Government to include building and construction trades on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List; and
  • fund a targeted $1.5 million overseas marketing campaign to attract building and construction workers from overseas, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

On July 5, 2021, the Western Australian Skilled Migration Occupation List under the State Nomination Migration Program was expanded to include 28 building and construction occupations, including trade occupations where training can only be undertaken via an apprenticeship.

There will be additional support for WA home owners impacted by building and construction industry disruptions, including:

  • extending the timeframe for Building Bonus grant applicants to commence construction (substantial earthworks) from 18 months to 30 months from signing a contract, with foundations to be laid by April 30, 2024; and
  • delivery of an education campaign for consumers affected by building delays through the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Building and Energy.

The package will also assist in the delivery of the McGowan Government’s record $33.9 billion pipeline of infrastructure works throughout WA.

For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

Comments attributed to Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan:

“Despite COVID-19 now being well-established in our community, our local economy continues to thrive, with strong growth in both private and public investment.

“Both private and public construction projects are being impacted by global supply pressures putting upward pressure on input costs and tight labour market conditions, with the unemployment rate at the lowest level in years.

“We have already been working to attract interstate workers through the Build a Life in WA campaign and overseas skilled workers through the Reconnect WA package.

“These new initiatives add to this work and provide further support to local home builders and home owners during this period.”

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Roger Cook:

“We recognise the building industry and consumers have been affected by a variety of issues, including disrupted supply chains, labour shortages and material costs.

“These Budget measures are aimed at providing support in areas that are within the Government’s control.

“We are also acting to ensure small and medium-sized builders will be able to improve their cash flow with a potential pipeline of work on government projects.

“I also acknowledge there are subcontractors who experience the adverse impacts of insecure work across the industry. Job security, safety culture and delivering quality work ought to be fundamental objectives for contractors, as we build back better.”

Comments attributed to Finance Minister Dr Tony Buti:

“Western Australia’s economy has been a shining light through the pandemic and this package will help us address the next phase of challenges that have rippled across the globe.

“Customers and industry in the building and construction sector have faced uncertainty over these global issues, and we’re doing what we can to alleviate some pressure.

“For home builders, we’re enabling a further 12 months for construction to start on new builds for the $20,000 payment. This will assist up to around 2,500 outstanding applicants who may be impacted by building delays.”

Comments attributed to Housing Minister John Carey:

“Our Government understands the challenges of the current construction market, and this package is about supporting industry and getting key infrastructure delivered.

“The package includes reforms to our delivery of social housing with the development of a new State-wide Department of Communities panel for new builds and refurbishments, which will support small and medium-sized builders through simplified expression of interest and procurement processes.

“Right throughout the pandemic, our Government has placed a high priority on supporting the construction industry, and this package highlights our continued commitment to the sector and delivery of our State’s major infrastructure.”

Premier and Treasurer’s office – 6552 5000

Commerce Minister’s office – 6552 6500

Finance Minister’s office – 6552 6400

Housing Minister’s office – 6552 5300

Housing supply boost

Tax reform and incentives to deliver a housing supply boost

Thursday, 12 May 2022

  • State Budget delivers tax reform and incentives to boost housing and land supply
  • Initiatives support more housing and land for the regions, and further incentives for urban infill
  • 50 per cent land tax concession for new build-to-rent projects
  • Stamp duty rebate of up to 100 per cent for eligible off-the-plan apartment purchases
  • Planning reforms to include density bonus for private projects that include five per cent social housing
  • New and updated Keystart loan products helping more Western Australians access housing finance
  • Further measures to reduce red tape for taxpayers and simplify tax administration 

The McGowan Labor Government’s 2022-23 State Budget delivers a range of tax reforms and incentives to boost housing and land supply, encourage urban infill and improve housing affordability across the State.

The current off-the-plan transfer duty rebate will be increased to 100 per cent for residential apartments in multi-storey developments valued below $500,000 from June 1, 2022, tapering to the existing 50 per cent rebate for apartments valued at $600,000 and above. 

The enhanced off-the-plan rebate is expected to cost an extra $4.7 million over four years, on top of the $26.2 million in the 2021-22 Budget for the two-year extension of the rebate at 50 per cent.

This will further improve housing affordability and smooth the pipeline of work for the construction sector beyond the current boom in activity.

A new 50 per cent land tax concession will also be introduced for eligible build-to-rent developments, commencing on July 1, 2023. This tax relief aims to develop the build-to-rent industry in Western Australia by reducing barriers to investment and thereby increasing the future supply of rental properties. 

Large scale build-to-rent developments are a relatively new model of urban housing in Western Australia where apartments are developed for the purposes of renting rather than being onsold.

A density bonus incentive will be offered for developments that include at least five per cent social or community housing, which will be progressed as part of the Phase 2 Planning Reforms.

A new Keystart loan product will be offered to assist people to purchase medium and high-density residential units in METRONET precincts and priority urban infill areas.

In addition, Keystart’s income eligibility limits will be permanently increased to $105,000 for singles and $155,000 for couples and families, following the introduction of these temporary higher limits in 2019 and their subsequent extension in 2020 and 2021.

Regional housing supply will be supported with $19 million to subsidise the development of residential lots in Kalgoorlie and Karratha, along with increasing Keystart’s property price limit for the Pilbara to assist households in gaining access to finance.

The McGowan Government is also delivering a range of measures to simplify the administration and reduce the burden of a number of taxes in the 2022-23 Budget, which will deliver $41 million in savings to businesses and households from July 1, 2022.

A number of changes are occurring to transfer duty, captured in the recently introduced Duties Amendment Bill 2022, including reducing the general rate of transfer duty to be equivalent to the rate of duty for residential transactions, which will simplify the current system and save taxpayers an estimated $32.2 million over four years. Duty will also be removed on a number of other transactions.

In addition, businesses will benefit from raising the quarterly payroll tax return lodgement threshold from $100,000 to $150,000, meaning those businesses with an annual liability of up to $150,000 will have the option to pay quarterly rather than monthly, reducing administration and providing cashflow benefits. 

Furthermore, the two per cent surcharge on assessed land tax liability when paid over three instalments will be removed, providing greater choice of payment schedules, assisting with cashflow and saving taxpayers $8.4 million over four years.

For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

Comments attributed to Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan:

“My Government is delivering tax reforms and incentives to boost housing and land supply to improve housing choice and build more liveable communities across our State.

“We are also reducing taxes for some Western Australians and simplifying tax administration, making it easier for businesses and individuals.

“The 50 per cent land tax concession for build-to-rent projects aims to boost future housing supply, reducing a barrier to investment, and growing the build-to-rent industry in Western Australia. 

“Our changes to the temporary off-the-plan transfer duty rebate will provide greater assistance to those seeking to purchase homes at the affordable end of the market, and aim to smooth the construction pipeline beyond the current boom in activity.

“This package again highlights my Government’s commitment to support industry and make it easier to do business in Western Australia.”

Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

“We are delivering major reforms that will make a difference and support Western Australians to live close to services, jobs and good quality transport links.

“This package provides Western Australians with the option to remain in the community they love when they downsize, or buy their very first home close to family and friends.

“Opportunities like this will create more housing and deliver housing developments near key transport nodes like METRONET stations.

“These reforms will bring forward new developments and opportunities for the community, supporting more housing choice and vibrant, well-connected activity centres.”

Comments attributed to Housing Minister John Carey:

“We have worked together with industry to deliver this suite of reforms to further boost future housing and land supply across our State and improve access to housing for more Western Australians.

“Last year’s Budget included a record investment in social housing, which we are working hard to deliver by innovative means, given the high level of activity in the housing construction sector.

“The density bonus announced today provides another lever to encourage more supply of social housing.

“Promoting alternative housing models such as build-to-rent is a key part of this package, and it will complement a significant body of work our Government has already undertaken through the Housing Diversity Pipeline.

“The changes to Keystart’s loan products will assist more Western Australians to own their own home and encourage infill projects that provide greater access to public transport and amenities.”

Premier’s office – 6552 5000

Planning Minister’s office – 6552 5500

Housing Minister’s office – 6552 5300


Economists predict interest rates will surge soon despite Reserve Bank’s assurances

by Mina Martin07 Feb 2022


Economists remain adamant when it comes to predicting a cash rate increase this year, despite Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest economic forecast suggesting it might be some way off.

RBA’s quarterly statement on monetary policy predicted faster economic growth in the near term as well as a sharply rising inflation and an unemployment rate drop to below 4% by mid-2024.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe recently said the board is prepared to be patient as it watches how the various factors affecting inflation in Australia play out.

“We have sympathy for some patience from the RBA as it awaits further signs of labour market strength, but their implicit base case of 2023 looks a little complacent,” said Su-Lin Ong, RBC Capital Markets chief economist, told AAP.

More economists were speculating for a cash rate increase from the current record low of 0.1% – which would be a first increase in more than a decade – after the December quarter posted a stronger-than-expected inflation last month.

Financial markets are predicting an increase this year starting in May, while economists see a move more likely in August or September, with a further rise before the end of the year.

RBA has revised its inflation forecast up, with the interest-rate sensitive underlying rate to reach 3.25% by June this year and then level out at 2.75% until at least June 2024. RBA also said, however, that at 2.6%, underlying inflation has only just reached the midpoint of the target range for the first time in more than seven years, AAP reported.

“As the board has stated previously, it will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the two to three per cent target range,” RBA said in a statement. Though in an address to the National Press Club this week, Lowe conceded it was “plausible” that the central bank could lift the cash rate this year.

RBA expects the economy to have grown by 5% over 2021, rather than 3% as previously forecast. The central bank expects the economy to grow by 4.25% for 2022.

“Backed by the Morrison government economic plan, which kept businesses in business and Australians in jobs during the greatest economic shock since the Great Depression, Australia has outperformed every major advanced economy and is well on the road to recovery,” Treasurer Josh Frydneberg told AAP.

Annual wage growth is anticipated to have picked up to close to 2.5% by the end of 2021, compared with 2.2% as of the September quarter.

The December quarter wage price index will be released on Feb. 23.

Wage growth is expected to gradually strengthen further as the unemployment rate declines, reaching 3.25% by mid-2024, which would be the fastest pace since 2012.

“The RBA’s forecasts imply that if it was pressed to give calendar guidance for the first rate hike it would probably indicate the first half of 2023,” David Plank, ANZ head of Australian economics, told the publication. “We are earlier than this because we are more optimistic about wages growth.”

The unemployment rate is forecast to further fall to 4% by June, compared with its 13-year low of 4.2% currently. It is then expected to decline even further to 3.75%, cracking the 4% barrier for the first time in 50 years, AAP reported.

Builders celebrate skill and innovation in Broome

The building and construction industry gathered at a gala event in Broome recently to recognise the best residential and commercial builders in the Kimberley-Pilbara region for their construction excellence.

Over 120 industry representatives gathered at Zanders Restaurant overlooking Cable Beach, on Saturday 19th June for the annual Master Builders-Bankwest Building Excellence Awards for the Kimberley Pilbara region.

Judges travelled more than 10,000km to see the finest new buildings in the Northwest entered in this year’s Master Builders-Bankwest Kimberley Pilbara Building Excellence Awards.

Master Builders regional awards head judge Charlie Baggetta was impressed by the quality of workmanship he saw while judging projects in Onslow, Roebourne, Broome, Kununurra and Karratha to judge the 2021 Entrants.

Continue reading “Builders celebrate skill and innovation in Broome”

Business and construction awards showcase WA industry excellence

Commitment to quality workmanship and innovation were the big winners at the 2021 Master Builders-Bankwest Excellence in Construction Awards.

More than 600 industry members attended the event, showcasing excellence in the commercial, industrial, and civil engineering sectors.

Continue reading “Business and construction awards showcase WA industry excellence”