Labor calls on government again to extend HomeBuilder to help bushfire survivors

Labor calls on government again to extend HomeBuilder to help bushfire survivors Main Image

23 September 2020

At least 750 families in Eden-Monaro had their homes burn down over summer. Those that can’t sign a contract for the rebuild by December 31 will not be able to access the $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant.

Labor is once again calling for the HomeBuilder scheme to be extended to cater for bushfire survivors.

“If anyone deserves help to rebuild, it’s people who had their homes burn down,” Mr Clare said.

“We’ve had feedback from a number of local people keen to access the HomeBuilder scheme that the Prime Minister trumpeted during the by-election,” Ms McBain added.

“The timelines around accessing these funds are just too tight for people rebuilding their homes and lives.”

Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Jason Clare and Member for Eden Monaro Kristy McBain have met with bushfire victims in Cobargo, as the community pulls together to rebuild following our Black Summer.

Many locals who lost their homes have told Ms McBain they simply can’t do that given the work involved with clearing debris, making decisions on design and materials as well as getting building approvals. This is on top of the trauma families are living with after losing everything in the fire.

“We know from our experiences with the Tathra and Yankees Gap fires in 2018 that people need time to come to these decisions. The pressure of a deadline is the last thing people want right now,” Ms McBain said.

Labor wrote to the Prime Minister in June asking for special consideration to be made so that bushfire victims nationwide are not unfairly excluded. The Prime Minister wrote back and refused any special consideration for bushfire victims such as extending the 31 December deadline.

“We’ve called for this in Parliament. We’ve called for this in the media. People of Eden-Monaro felt abandoned by the Morrison Government in the bushfires, now they have been overlooked again,” Mr Clare said.

“This is another example of how the HomeBuilder Scheme is too small and rolling out too slowly. The Government must swallow it’s pride and fix its bungled HomeBuilder Scheme in the Budget.”

Ms McBain’s Local Jobs Plan for Eden-Monaro calls on the Federal Government to consider providing grants to homeowners as a way of stimulating the regional economy.

“This would be a win-win for local communities looking to rebuild and provide much-needed work for local businesses,” Ms McBain said.

“We’ll take what we have heard in our meetings today back to the Prime Minister and continue to lobby to get these people the support they need.”