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Border closure decision hated by 20 million Aussies


Of all the rules that Australia’s states and territories have introduced since the COVID-19 pandemic struck seven months ago, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s hard border closure has been one of the most contentious.

From breakfast television hosts and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Ms Palaszczuk’s NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, a barrage of criticism has been flung at the Sunshine State’s call to keep its southern neighbours locked out for the better part of 2020.

Ms Palaszczuk, who will seek her third term as Premier on October 31, has been dubbed the “Queensland version of Donald Trump … building the wall keeping all of the Mexicans out from down south”, destroying jobs and the economy by maintaining her “silly” and “cruel” stance.

“It’s not evidence-based. It’s simply I think off the back of her election. She wants to look tough for Queensland residents,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said earlier this month.

“If she keeps this up and we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have a treatment, this could go on for years. This is a silly game you shouldn’t be playing. She’s playing with people’s lives.”

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

Despite the rest of Australia hating the rule, Queenslanders have come out in support of the closure – which won’t be going anywhere, even if Ms Palaszczuk isn’t re-elected.

The latest Newspoll, conducted for The Australianin mid-September, found that 53 per cent of voters found the border controls “about right” – compared with 37 per cent, who said the restrictions were “too strict”.

Under the rule, Queensland won’t reopen to NSW or Victoria until the states have gone 28 days straight without any cases of community transmission.

When asked last week if she thought that was “achievable”, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said her party would follow the health advice.

“The health advice is that it is 28 days … we accept that advice,” Ms Frecklington told reporters in Townsville.

RELATED: Key deadline approaches for Qld

RELATED: You can’t travel right now, but you can take our travel quiz

However, Ms Frecklington said while she accepts the guideline, her stance on the borders was different.

“I have always said it can’t be set and forget … I’ve always said that borders shouldn’t be closed for a day longer than they need to be,” she said.

“But that is current health advice and we accept that.”

She chimed in on Mr Hazzard’s calls that Ms Palaszczuk was “playing politics with the border and playing politics with the pandemic”.

“With me as premier, you would have a premier that would make decisions with compassion, consistency and common sense,” she said.

The PM said yesterday that while Ms Palaszczuk’s hard border closure had decimated Queensland’s tourism and hospitality industries, Ms Frecklington “has a plan to get Queenslanders working again”.

“The real difference I think is whether someone’s actually got a plan to get Queenslanders back into jobs,” he told reporters.

“(Deb has) thought very carefully about the way that Queensland can grow back out of this COVID-19 recession.”

RELATED: Palaszczuk’s ‘cruel’ move a stroke of genius

Queensland was pegged to at last reopen to NSW on November 1 – the day after the election – but a growing number of cases of community transmission in the latter state could throw the decision into jeopardy.

The Courier Mailreports that the chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young will make the call the week before the slated reopening, based on the latest information.

Dr Young told reporters last Friday that while NSW had made “extremely good” progress in tracing the latest clusters, “we need to wait a bit longer (to decide) whether or not we need to change the plan to open to NSW. At the moment, it’s planned for November 1.”

“We will continue to monitor … although they are finding the contacts … they are getting continuing cases. So we will have to watch and see what happens,” she said.



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Luxury escapes: Aussies book Orpheus Island, Hamilton Island, Lord Howe Island and more


High-end travel is surging as direct result of coronavirus, with Australians who feel they deserve a special break post-lockdown trading up and splashing hard-earned dollars once intended for overseas trips on luxury domestic holidays.

Luxury lodges, retreats and hotels are filling up fast for months ahead, with some service providers recording a ten-fold jump in bookings year-on-year.

Luxury Escapes, who package special locations together with VIP inclusions, have booked more than 1000 trips with a nightly rate exceeding $1000 in the three months to September, compared to less than 100 this time last year.

Chief customer officer, Jason Shugg, said strong booking numbers show the Aussie desire for travel is alive and well — a trend reflected across the price spectrum and highlighted by the Go And Get campaign backing domestic tourism.

ESCAPE SNAPS LOGO

“The behavioural change we are seeing is twofold,” Mr Shugg said. “People are either upgrading their experiences within Australia or they’re travelling for longer, as this is now their primary trip of the year.

“In the end Australian tourism will be the winner as they’ve got a captive market for the next six to 12 months at least.”

Packages to the exclusive Berkeley River Lodge in Western Australia and Orpheus Island in Queensland sold out within a week and immediate weekend availability at Jamala Wildlife Lodge in the ACT was gone within a day.

Orpheus Island in Queensland.

Berkeley River Lodge in WA.

Demand has kept occupancy at the exclusive qualia resort on Hamilton Island at around 85 to 90 per cent and has led to an increase in flights with a daily direct flight from Brisbane recently added.

Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island has bookings well into autumn 2021 and Tim Stanhope of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains said the domestic market has filled the gap left by international visitors.

Supplied Editorial Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

Capella Lodge at Lord Howe Island.

Emirates One&Only Resort Wolgan Valley in NSW.

The “trade-up” effect is being reported anecdotally at all levels of the travel market, fuelled by those whose incomes have not been impacted by coronavirus and who have saved money by reducing leisure activities in recent months. Janelle Boyd from NRMA Parks and Resorts said a new market of “five-star campers” has emerged, opting for glamping tents and cabins over campsites.

RELATED: Australia’s hot travel deals right now

However it’s at the top end that the figures are most noticeable.

View Retreats, an online travel booking service that focuses on grander properties, reports customers are paying double on this time last year.

“If we look at the average price people were paying per holiday before COVID-19, it was around $1400 to $1500,” said spokesperson Stoewie Van Den Bulk. “Now it is almost $3000. Property owners are telling us they are overwhelmed with enquiries and bookings, they’re taking bookings as far ahead as August and September 2021.”

Jamala Wildlife Lodge in the ACT has also been popular.

Mark and Jacqui Buckley of Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches had to cancel a family trip to South America this year due to COVID-19. They have turned their focus to exploring Australia and recently returned from a week at Elements of Byron at Byron Bay.

“We loved it so much there we have booked to go again in the Christmas holidays,” Jacqui said. “I’d love to visit The Pearle at Cable Beach in 2021 and Longitude 131 in the Northern Territory.

“Though it was disappointing to have our South America trip cancelled, Australia has so many amazing destinations.”

Join in the #EscapeSnaps celebration of Australia’s best holiday spots and experiences this weekend — part of the Go And Get It campaign to support domestic tourism. Share your favourite memories or future Aussie dream destinations on Instagram and tag @escape.com.au and #escapesnaps.





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Aussies unlikely to provide CPR due to virus fears


Australians are so concerned about catching coronavirus that more than half are unsure if they would step in and offer assistance in a first aid emergency.

New research from the Australian Red Cross has found that 82 per cent of Australians are worried about catching COVID-19 from performing CPR during an emergency, while 57 per cent are “unsure” about whether they would step in and help.

Millenials and Gen Z, those aged between 18 and 34, were the most convinced they would catch the virus, the research found.

And it has the national charity concerned.

Australian Red Cross training lead Janie McCullagh said transmission while giving CPR could be minimised with proper hygiene practices.

She warned not reacting could mean the “difference between life and death”.

“When faced with an emergency situation, it’s always better to react and do something rather than nothing,” she said.

To mark World First Aid Day on Saturday, the Australian Red Cross is hosting a free online workshop to demonstrate how to administer first aid while reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“First aid skills are more important than ever during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With us all spending more time at home, the chances of at-home emergencies are naturally increased,” Ms McCullagh said.

“It’s also important to remember that you may be the first on-scene at an emergency, hence why being first aid trained and knowing how to provide a timely response is so vital.”

She is also urging experienced first aiders to refresh their skills and to learn about COVID-safe practices on Saturday.

“We are calling on all Australians to learn new skills or renew existing ones … to ensure they are prepared to help in emergency situations which may arise during the pandemic and beyond,” Ms McCullagh said.



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Household savings climb as Aussies hunker down for recession


Before the coronavirus pandemic, total household income grew 4 per cent a year according to the Commonwealth Bank’s figures. It has grown 11 per cent a year between January and August 21, 2020. Low growth in salaries and wages, including the JobKeeper payment, was offset by increased government benefits.

But purchases on CBA credit and debit cards are only up by 8 per cent a year over the same time frame.

That has ranged from as low as -20 per cent a year in April to as high as 12 per cent in mid-July around the time Victoria entered its second lockdown. Purchases were up 5 per cent a year in the week ending August 21. Certain categories of spending have done well such as homewares and sporting equipment.

While economists consider consumer spending essential to recovery, Mr Halmarick said it was “not all bad news” because it would mean people had more money to spend next year.

The bank is predicting the economy to contract 4.2 per cent in the 2020 calendar year and grow 1.8 per cent next year, with no real change in inflation or wages.

“No real wages growth would normally limit spending but that pool of savings that people are generating will help spending hold up better than it would have otherwise through 2021,” Mr Halmarick said.

Commonwealth Bank figures also show new lending for housing and renovations rose again in July.

Montara Wealth director David Hancock said there had been increased interest in investment from people who had maintained their income but had cancelled plans such as overseas holidays.

“There’s no return at the moment by leaving their money in cash or bonds so they really are forced to look at things like property and shares,” Mr Hancock said.

Darling Point flatmates Annabel Ellis and Lucy Foley, both 23, are both spending very little during the pandemic but for different reasons.

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Ms Ellis, who works in marketing, has remained employed on full pay, while many of her friends have lost work. But her lifestyle has changed so much that her small nest egg has doubled since COVID-19 hit.

“I’m not going out on Friday night so much, I’m just catching the train to work and then going home and cooking,” she said. “I’ve also realised that because I’m so young, I can actually use this time to really get ahead.”

Meanwhile, Ms Foley, who works in events, is on JobKeeper and has picked up some casual babysitting work to help make ends meet.

“I moved over [from New Zealand] expecting to be able to save a lot but also have a good life and build my career so it definitely wasn’t what I was planning,” Ms Foley said. “But I do feel quite lucky actually to still be in my job.”

Ms Foley said her income was reduced by 40 per cent and nearly all of it was going on food and rent but her tax refund had helped boost her savings.

As a recent migrant, Ms Foley would not be eligible for JobSeeker if she lost her job so she needed to be sure she could always cover the next month’s rent and an airfare back to Auckland if needed.

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Aussies spending superannuation on plastic surgery and new cars are ‘obviously breaking the rules’


For thousands of Australians, the Federal Government’s Super Early Release Scheme – introduced in the wake of the coronavirus-fuelled economic crisis – has been dubbed a “lifeline”.

Under the scheme, as many as 2.1 million people applied to access their superannuation early, with those deemed eligible able to grab $10,000 from their super last financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Last month, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority figures showed $14.8 billion had already been withdrawn.

At June 7, 2.12 million applications to access super early had been lodged with the tax office.

RELATED: ATO’s grim warning for Aussies

RELATED: How much you will save from tax cuts

Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Jane Hume, said that the decision to take the money out now – or build a nest egg over time – was a “big deal”.

“For many people, the benefit of taking that money out now outweighs the benefit of leaving it in the future,” Ms Hume said.

“The government isn’t in the business of telling people how to spend their money.”

Critics have argued accessing your superannuation should be a “last resort” only, after it was revealed by Industry Super Australia (ISA) about 480,000 Aussies had cleared out their funds completely, and that accessing cash now would have dire long-term consequences for retirement nest eggs.

On average, about 15 per cent of Australian workers have accessed their super early.

Three states were above the national average – Queensland at 20 per cent, Northern Territory 19 per cent and Western Australia 16 per cent. Only 8 per cent of ACT workers accessed their super early.

Those critics have taken it one step further following a report on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that showed some Australians who have withdrawn $10,000 from their superannuation splashing the cash on “non-essential luxuries” like plastic surgery and new cars.

Cassandra Garcia, a 41-year-old mother and businesswoman, put the cash toward a “series of surgeries” that included a boob job and liposuction on her torso, legs and chin, purchases that she deemed “essential” to her own self-confidence.

Asked if she’d taken the money out in the spirit that the government intended, Ms Garcia said she’d “definitely put the money back into the economy, I haven’t just left it in my bank account”.

“The reality is, I’m OK with my decision. At the end of the day, this is all of our money, it is not money that we’re loaning from the bank,” she said.

According to some, though, this behaviour is “obviously breaking the rules”.

“If you’re spending your super draw down on a boob job, you’re obviously breaking the rules,” ABC business reporter David Taylor wrote in a tweet.

“And ill-informed,” fellow ABC business reporter Rachel Pupazzoni replied.

Others commented it was “laughable” that people like Ms Garcia had been approved to withdraw their super.

“Classic short-term thinking from the government and from those who’ve taken the money but aren’t experiencing financial hardship,” another viewer commented.

“Have fun now and who cares about future. Hope they don’t whinge about not having enough money when they’re trying to survive on pension.”

“No thought for the future. Appalling that some consider a car and cosmetic surgery essential,” wrote another, in response to Ashleigh Masterson, a 26-year-old who lost her job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, using part of her withdrawn super funds to purchase a new car.

But while many were critical of people’s “frivolous” spending, others defended their financial decisions, claiming “the money belongs to the individuals”.

“If they choose to spend it freely, let’s not forget it will provide a boost to the economy,” one viewer commented on Facebook.

“There is no right or wrong in this situation but I for one am someone who desperately NEEDED it and am so grateful for its help!!!” wrote another.

“A minority will always use things in a way that it’s not intended, the majority need it. It’s people’s money at the end of the day.”





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More Aussies seek treatment for alcohol and drug abuse


More Australians have been seeking help for drug and alcohol abuse since 2014-15, according to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In 2018–19, more than 137,000 Australians received treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

People were treated for alcohol abuse (36 per cent) more than any other drug, followed by amphetamines (28 per cent), cannabis (20 per cent) and heroin (5 per cent).

Of those receiving treatment, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of clients were male, while the average age of the client base was 34.

One in six (17 per cent) clients aged older than 10 identified as Indigenous Australian.

While the number of people seeking help is up by 19 per cent from 2014-15, people getting help specifically for alcohol abuse had slowly dropped during the past decade.

For instance, the number of episodes where alcohol was the major drug of concern declined from 48 per cent in 2009-10 to 36 per cent between 2018-19.

But the treatment episodes for amphetamines has increased almost six times over the last decade.

During the 10-year period to 2018–19, the number of treatment episodes for amphetamines increased from 10,000 episodes to 58,200 episodes nationally.

Among those cases, methamphetamines like ice totalled two-thirds of treatment cases. But the number of heroin treatment episodes fell from about 13,900 to 10,900.

Counselling has continued to be the most common treatment type at 39 per cent of episodes in 2018-19.



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Aussies want funds put towards virus jab | The Standard


news, national

Most Australians believe boosting funding to find a coronavirus vaccine or treatment is the best way to support the economy. More than 3200 Australians were asked about the government’s coronavirus response policies, and which ones would best solve economic woes. Three quarters said increasing funding for a vaccine or treatment would make the most difference. Study co-author Matthew Gray from the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research Methods isn’t surprised. “If a vaccine or effective treatment can be found then it would enable the world to open up again,” he said. “The problem is there is no guarantee of a cure being found and if one is found how quickly this will happen.” Scientists around the globe are rushing to find a vaccine for coronavirus, which is expected to take about 18 months. Trials for potentials vaccines have begun in Australia and overseas. After vaccine funding, Australians think opening up pubs, clubs and cafes will best support the economy. Extending JobKeeper wage subsidies and boosting JobSeeker dole payments beyond their September expiry was the third most supported measure. Greens and Labor voters were most supportive of this, while coalition voters were the least. Australian Associated Press

https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/silverstone-feed-data/4bb3aab2-e73a-4e26-a310-3a060f71934b.jpg/r0_74_800_526_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg





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Asian Aussies warn tourists not to come amid racism concerns


Australia’s Asian community are adding their voices to the chorus as calls for an end to systematic racism sweep through the country.

On Friday, China warned its citizens against travelling to Australia once restrictions lifted because of a fresh wave of post-COVID racism.

Members of Australia’s Chinese community wish they’d been similarly warned before they came to our shores, and are advising other Asians to stay away.

The issue is timely, with systematic racism being brought back into the public spotlight following the death of African-American George Floyd in custody, sparking protests around the world.

Protests took place across Australia yesterday despite some of them being deemed unlawful, with Australia’s Indigenous peoples being the main focus.

RELATED: What went wrong at Sydney protest

Bernie* had Chinese parents so he fled Malaysia in the 1970s because of the country’s hatred for the Chinese, and came to Australia. But with the arrival of COVID-19, he believes Australia is rapidly coming to resemble Malaysia from all those years ago.

“The reason my family migrated from Malaysia was because of the anti-Chinese sentiments of the Malaysian government that were being written into law at that time,” Bernie told news.com.au. “In terms of racism, the early years in the 1970s were brutal.”

But he’s noticed a “switch” in attitude since COVID-19 hit the world.

“I have seen the level of racism (in Australia) return almost to the levels I experienced in the 1970s.

“I have been openly abused in public on a number of occasions. This has included being abused on public transport and in shopping centres.”

Bernie is not the only one feeling this way.

Last month, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported that one in four people who lodged racial discrimination complaints in the past two months were targeted because of COVID-19.

Asians were especially targeted at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, whether or not they had ever actually been to China.

In April, news.com.au reported on a shocking video that showed a gang allegedly attacking a pair of Chinese students as they were on their way home in Melbourne.

A Hong Kong student was also reported to have been punched in the face in Hobart for wearing a mask, during the early stages of the pandemic.

Australian-born Chinese Si Mei, 20, was “minding her own business” on a Sydney train when she was verbally abused by a group of girls for wearing a mask.

“The girls were sitting in the carriage up stairs yelling out racial slurs quite aggressively,” she told news.com.au.

Miss Mei was the only person travelling in the carriage that night and feared for her safety.

“They starting yelling ‘you’ve got the coronavirus’ and laughing about it. It really surprised me that they were young girls. I wasn’t expecting that.”

Australia is the only home Miss Mei has ever known.

NOWHERE TO GO

“Considering I have lived nearly my whole life here, I consider myself Australian first and foremost,” Bernie said.

“I have a far better command of the English language both spoken and written than most Australians.”

But he no longer feels like he belongs.

“I am not encouraged by the outlook for the future,” he said.

“Having been a proud Australian for so many years, the fact that I am actually considering moving back to Malaysia when I retire speaks volumes.”

The Australian government has rubbished China’s claim of increased racism against its citizens as “having no basis in fact”.

On Friday the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel alert to its citizens warning them not to travel to Australia due to a “significant increase” in racist attacks on “Chinese and Asian people”.

Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham rejected the claim, saying Australia was “the most successful multicultural and migrant society in the world”.

“The Chinese Australian community is a significant and valued contributor to that success story,” he said in a statement.

“Millions of tourists from all corners of the world demonstrate their confidence in Australia as a safe, welcoming and amazing destination by visiting each year, often returning multiple times.

“We reject China’s assertions in this statement, which have no basis in fact. Our rejection of these claims, which have been falsely made by Chinese officials previously, is well known to them.”

Beijing’s statement said the alleged attacks came in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

CHINA’S REVENGE?

Some critics are unsure whether China’s announcement was motivated by concern for its own citizens, or as a way to punish Australia and cripple its tourism industry.

Tensions between Australia and China reached an all-time high last month following Australia’s push for an independent inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus.

Australia’s call to action sparked fury from Beijing, with the CCP beginning a tit-for-tat trade war.

As part of the diplomatic tiff, China announced an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley and black-listed four major beef exporters due to labelling violations.

But Beijing denied the new announcement on Friday was a retaliation.

* Bernie did not wish for his last name to published.

Continue the conversation | alex.turner-cohen@news.com.au | @AlexTurnerCohen





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Aussies given grant to renovate homes in government coronavirus stimulus package


The federal government is considering giving householders cash grants for home renovations, under a multi-billion dollar stimulus package to boost the economy.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday confirmed discussions are underway about a fourth cash splash aimed at saving the jobs of 1.2million tradesmen.

The government will also discuss offering first home buyers a $40,000 incentive to buy or build a new home and broadening the scope for who can access the grants.

It comes after the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the housing construction industry and cost an estimated 70,000 tradesmen their jobs.

Construction of new homes plummeted throughout the crisis along with most other economic activity – and authorities fear it will be slow to revive.

The $4billion cash grant scheme would encourage homeowners to make changes to their properties and provide tradesmen with immediate work, which could create an estimated 58,311 new jobs, The Australian reports. 

But there would be limits on the type of renovations that could be undertaken, and Mr Morrison warned there would be ‘safeguards’ in place to avoid people ‘rorting’ the system. 

‘You’ve gotta try and avoid the rorting and people taking advantage of it,’ Mr Morrison told 2GB on Monday.

‘Even though Australians have been amazing during this crisis, there’s still those that will do the wrong things.’

Homeowners could soon be given cash to renovate their homes under a new government stimulus package to stave off a coronavirus-induced construction industry collapse. Pictured: Home renovators Josh Barker and Elyse Knowles

Homeowners could soon be given cash to renovate their homes under a new government stimulus package to stave off a coronavirus-induced construction industry collapse. Pictured: Home renovators Josh Barker and Elyse Knowles 

Construction of new homes has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic along with most other economic activity and is feared to be slow to revive. Pictured is a new build house at Toongabbie in Sydney's west

Construction of new homes has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic along with most other economic activity and is feared to be slow to revive. Pictured is a new build house at Toongabbie in Sydney’s west

Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn said the proposed package would save small businesses from a potential catastrophe.

She said the addition of renovations in the scheme – which also plans to broaden the first home buyers allowance – bypasses ‘the red tape’ of requesting planning approvals. 

Ms Wawn agreed certain criteria should be met for the types of property renovations people could apply for, including making homes more resilient to natural disasters like fires and floods.

Home owners should also be able to use the grant money to rectify cladding and asbestos concerns, Ms Wawn suggested.  

Economic modelling commissioned by the business determined the entire stimulus package could generate upwards of 105,500 jobs in the wake of the crisis. 

Already, the industry has taken a significant hit for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022. Instead of 159,000 new homes scheduled for completion by 2021, there is only 116,000. 

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Based on previous economic downturns, the modelling warns it will likely take the construction industry four times longer to recover than other sectors. 

‘We have seen that governments can fast track construction activity in response to natural disasters and COVID-19 is shaping up as an economic disaster,’ Ms Wawn said.  

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is expected to confirm the details of the scheme after it is considered by the cabinet expenditure review committee meeting this week. 

Homebuyers may be handed thousands of dollars to build houses as the government desperately tries to stave off a construction collapse that would cost many jobs

 Homebuyers may be handed thousands of dollars to build houses as the government desperately tries to stave off a construction collapse that would cost many jobs

Master Builders Australia Proposed Stimulus Measures 

Master Builders Australia released a series of proposals in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the construction industry afloat.

We are calling for measures such as commissioning local builders to immediately commence maintenance, refurbishment and renovation works on government buildings and facilities around the country,’ CEO Denita Wawn said.

‘This will not require extensive planning, could be actioned quickly and will provide work for thousands of small businesses in local communities.’

She also called on the government to bring forward any planned government spends for 2021 to give the industry a much needed boost.

Some of the proposals are outlined below: 

– Support ongoing building of house and land packages through interest free loans.

– First Home-Owner Grants of $40,000 for those buying or building new homes.

– Expanding the number of First Home Loan Deposit Scheme loans. 

– Instant tax write-off/extension of negative gearing for property investors to undertake renovations to rental properties (currently can only claim maintenance) that could include upgrades that provide for the home to be more energy efficient which in turn assists in reducing living costs.

– Financial support to home owners through the use of a registered building practitioner to facilitate home renovations on properties that are pre 6 star requirements to enable them to be more energy efficient (eg change in windows, improved heating/cooling appliances etc) and/or make home more accessible for elderly to maximise ability to stay in their own home for longer.

– Contribution towards cladding rectification on apartments. 

It will also include a clause to help pay $40,000 deposits for buyers of new homes, Sky News claimed on Sunday. 

Grants of up to $10,000 have at various times been offered by the states, but only to first homebuyers struggling to own their first property.

The government’s new plan is instead believed to be across the board – offering financial support to anyone wanting a new home.

Home auctions and inspections have only just been allowed for the first time in more than two months and are still subject to many restrictions.

More than a million people have also lost their jobs, taken pay cuts, or fear they could be next, and are in no position to take out a mountain of debt.

Despite already spending well over $300billion on coronavirus stimulus packages, the Federal Government is tipped to splash more cash to tackle this.  

As Australia’s population grows it needs more housing supply to avoid running out, so it is hoped giving an incentive to build will jump-start construction.

House prices would skyrocket if there was not enough ongoing construction, as well as thousands of jobs potentially lost.

Home auctions and inspections have only just been allowed for the first time in more than two months and are still subject to many restrictions

Home auctions and inspections have only just been allowed for the first time in more than two months and are still subject to many restrictions

Registered bidders line up for the auction in Coorparoo, Queensland, after restrictions were relaxed there, but the industry still faces a long road back

 Registered bidders line up for the auction in Coorparoo, Queensland, after restrictions were relaxed there, but the industry still faces a long road back

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers cautiously welcomed the plan but wanted to see the details before giving it any support.

‘Already, before the crisis, construction was relatively weak and homeownership was at 60-year lows, so we had a challenge there,’ he said on Sky News.

‘That has been exacerbated by this coronavirus crisis. In two or three months, we are very worried that construction will fall off a cliff and that’s why we have been making very constructive suggestions about what the government might do.

‘We want to make sure that their plan is comprehensive, and we hope that they pick up and run with some of the ideas that (Labor has) put on the table.’

Dr Chalmers also suggested a program to help essential workers move closer to where they worked.

The claimed new stimulus appears similar to a proposal by the Property Council of Australia to give every buyer of a newly-built home $50,000.  

As Australia's population grows it needs more housing supply to avoid running out, so it is hoped giving an incentive to build will jump-start construction

 As Australia’s population grows it needs more housing supply to avoid running out, so it is hoped giving an incentive to build will jump-start construction

WHAT IS THE ‘NEW HOME BOOST’ PROPOSAL?

– $50,000 grant to all purchasers of newly constructed dwellings only, not existing housing 

– Potential to stimulate the construction of 50,000 new dwellings, supporting 200,000+ jobs

– Grant scheme limited to the first 50,000 purchasers, including lessees of new retirement living units, with these to be geographically spread

– Approximately $2.5billion of Federal funding required to stimulate

– No pricing cap – the aim is to bring forward all possible market demand and stimulate the greatest economic response

– Scheme would require commencement on site between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021 only

Property Council of Australia 

Under that $2.5 billion proposal, 50,000 new homes will be built and more than 200,000 jobs created. 

The proposed ‘new home boost’ initiative would be limited to the first 50,000 purchases and run between July 2020 and June 2021.

The PCA also wants stamp duty scrapped and foreigners welcomed back to Australia to buy more properties.

Chief executive Ken Morrison said ‘big and bold thinking’ was needed to restart the economy after the pandemic.

‘As Australia’s biggest employer which contributes over 13 per cent of GDP, the property industry can be a powerhouse behind economic recovery and growth with the right policy settings and market incentives from the federal, state and territory governments,’ he said.

The PCA also proposed a ‘Welcome to Australia’ program aimed at promoting Australia as a ‘safe and healthy destination’ for skilled workers. 

The government already has a scheme in place to guarantee first homebuyer deposits, allowing them to get a mortgage with just a five per cent down payment.

The program was a key part of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s election campaign and was already maxed out in the first few months of this year.



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Coronavirus live updates: Virgin Australia bidders revealed; Aussies conned by pandemic puppy scam; Police patrols as NSW transport capacity slashed: Australian death toll rises – 9News



Coronavirus live updates: Virgin Australia bidders revealed; Aussies conned by pandemic puppy scam; Police patrols as NSW transport capacity slashed: Australian death toll rises  9News



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