THE state government yesterday unveiled a $24.5 million package designed to create more than 3300 jobs and attract $375 million in private investment.
From January 1, people who build their first home will get $15,000. That measure will cost taxpayers $10.8 million, with 1100 new houses expected to be built, creating 1800 jobs.
The Examiner revealed in October that the Housing Industry Association had met Premier Lara Giddings to lobby for the measure, and yesterday the association's state director, Stuart Clues, welcomed help for the struggling industry.
``The bottom line is whenever you build a home you're actually not only helping the builder who is building the house, but up to 30 small businesses that rely on the Leg 1construction of that house,'' Mr Clues said.
``It does stimulate the economy.''
The government stopped short of stamp duty relief, which the real estate industry had been pushing for.
Other measures included:
- Payroll tax rebates for all new employees from now until June 30, 2014, costing $4thmillion over three years.
- $3thmillion to maintain and renovate community and neighbourhood houses.
- $2.8thmillion on Northern projects, such as an expansion of the Seaport boardwalk, an upgrade to Aurora Stadium's lights and creating a mountain bike park at Hollybank.
- $400,000 to help the dairy industry to secure another 355thmegalitres of milk supply in the state.
Ms Giddings said the time was right to make a modest investment in order to create considerable economic returns.
``We've had to look at when we could afford to do it. We've seen a pick-up in GST, which has helped,'' she said.
She denied the announcement was the start of a long pre-election campaign.
``This has got absolutely nothing to do with elections. This is about the here and now of the economy,'' she said.
Opposition treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein said that since the budget was announced in May, the state's bottom line had worsened, and so had the economy.
``Obviously, the budget was a work of fiction as we're not even six months into this financial year and they are already finding pressure points,'' Mr Gutwein said.
The measures were unanimously endorsed by cabinet.