Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto is calling on the State Government to include amendments to the First Home Owners’ Grant (FHOG) in the 2022/2023 Budget as a regional Queensland specific Covid-19 recovery initiative.
Mr Dametto stated that Covid-19 has forced financial hardship on many Queenslanders causing challenges to save house deposits for new homes.
“The proposed amendments will allow prospective qualifying first home owners to access the current $15,000 First Home Owners’ Grant to purchase an existing detached home or be eligible for improvements and renovations to a property under $300,000 in rural and regional Queensland,” he said.
“The proposal needs to be executed solely in regional and rural Queensland to give these regions the opportunity to grow and prosper during the recovery phase of Covid-19.
“Recently, I have written to the Treasurer Cameron Dick requesting an urgent meeting to discuss my proposal and raise concerns in reference to the housing crisis that regional Queensland is experiencing.
“I have also written to the Local Government Association of Queensland and Western Queensland Alliance of Councils seeking their support.”
Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce President Rachael Coco welcomed the news that Mr Dametto is pushing for the amendment to be included in next year’s State Budget, commenting that the proposal aligns with Chamber’s advocacy on the very same issue.
“The First Home Owners’ Grant is a great scheme but regional Queensland often misses out because a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t account for our unique situation and circumstances” said Ms Coco.
“Chamber actually proposed a very similar policy for grants that could go towards renovations and we have already obtained the support of Master Builders North Queensland, but we need the Queensland Government to recognise that it’s a solid policy with a lot of potential to create jobs, stimulate the economy and combat regional migration” she said.
“Existing homes in the Hinchinbrook Shire are very affordable and if the grant is expanded, it will entice young families who are entering the real estate market to strongly consider what the Hinchinbrook region has to offer – this amendment could be just what we need to get the local economy booming again.”
Owner of Felix Reitano Real Estate and member of Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Felix Reitano, has long advocated for targeted grants to provide equal opportunities to prospective home owners in North Queensland and strongly supports Mr Dametto’s amendment proposal.
“This is a proposal we have been lobbying for years, the FHOG as it stands does not benefit North Queensland the same way as it does for south-east Queensland,” he said.
“Expanding the FHOG to include existing homes in regional Queensland is a no-brainer.
“Mr Dametto’s proposal encourages prospective home owners to enter the property market, purchase existing properties and have the opportunity to renovate and create their dream home. This benefits the construction industry, local Councils, real estates and boosts the local economy.”
Mr Dametto looks forward to working with the State Government to ensure opportunities for prospective home owners are fair regardless of their geographical location.