Master Builders Executive Director John Gelavis speaks on recent announcements around affordable housing and their impacts for the building industry.
The Sunday Times Home Magazine May 5, 2019.
The Master Builders Association of Western Australia (Master Builders) is a member-based association that services the building and construction industry, madeup of builders, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants in both the commercial and residential sectors covering the state of Western Australia.
The association has been representing and promoting the views and interests of the building and construction industry in WA since 1898. Since that time, the association has grown to become the preeminent industry voice, recognised for its advocacy and strong lobbying influence, and the great support it provides its members to assist them in the day-to-day running of their operations. As the pre-eminent industry voice, Master Builders works collaboratively with many other associations, governments and academic institutions to provide valuable industry advice to assist in the development of policy, decision-making and education that effects the WA community.
One of the most critical areas at present is the ongoing challenge of affordable housing, which is and should be an ongoing focus of government at all levels. Two of the latest announcements relating to affordable housing were from the Minster for Housing Peter Tinley, who released the Affordable Housing Action Plan 2017-18 to 2019-20 last year, which builds on the 2010- 2020 Affordable Housing Strategy: Opening Doors to Affordable Housing. Led by the Department of Communities, the new plan outlines detailed actions across communities and other parts of government and increases the 2010-2020 target from 30,000 to 35,000 homes for people on low to moderate incomes.
Additionally, WA Premier Mark McGowan announced an increase to the Keystart loan book by $420 million to assist more first homebuyers. These are great initiatives for the community and the residential building industry.
Another organisation that engages Master Builders’ input is Shelter WA.
Shelter WA is an independent peak body based in Perth that advocates for social and affordable housing and ending homelessness. Shelter WA brings together a strong coalition committed to diverse, affordable housing choice for all, with a particular focus on housing for people on low to moderate incomes and groups that experience housing insecurity. Master Builders has participated in important stakeholder meetings at Shelter WA on infill housing, as well as on the Federal Labor Party’s proposed plans for social and community housing if elected. We value our involvement with organisations such as Shelter WA, who are focused on important social issues such as homelessness and affordable housing. Master Builders continues to strongly advocate for first homebuyers on a local level, with a robust focus in its recent State Budget submission issued at the start of this year to Treasurer Ben Wyatt.
The main request was that Keystart income limits be adjusted up by $15,000 for singles, couples and families. The State Government recently announced that the Keystart income thresholds for borrowing would be lifted by $15,000 for singles and couples and $20,000 for families from July 1 to the end of 2019. We congratulate the State Government for supporting first homebuyers and the residential building industry. With the State Budget handed down on May 9 and the Federal Election on May 18 we trust the industry views provided to all levels of government and the many stakeholders on increasing affordable housing will be heard.
For more information about Master Builders Association of Western Australia, advocacy, services or to become a member, visit www.mbawa.com.