The federal government's HomeBuilder scheme needs to give builders and homebuyers more time to get their projects off the ground, the peak body representing Tasmania's building and construction industry says.
Master Builders Tasmania has written to all government MHRs and senators to call for the scheme to be made "more flexible".
HomeBuilder was introduced last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, designed to stimulate the building and construction industry and the broader economy through the provision of grants for new homes or extensions.
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Eligible applicants received up to $25,000 if they signed a contract between June 4 and December 31, 2020, while for contracts signed between January 1 and March 31 this year, $15,000 grants were made available.
However, applicants are only given six months to begin construction once their plans have been signed off.
Master Builders Tasmania executive director Matthew Pollock said people were missing out on the valuable grants due to the "tight" commencement timeframes.
"Thanks to HomeBuilder, 2020 was the strongest year since 1994 for housing starts," Mr Pollock said. "And given most HomeBuilder projects are due to start this year, 2021 may well be the biggest year on record for housing construction in Tasmania.
"But we need more time.
"Supply disruptions caused by COVID, geopolitical issues and bushfires may cause people to miss out on receiving the HomeBuilder grant if flexibility is not granted beyond the six-month commencement timeframe.
"Builders are working around the clock to overcome these challenges. They are going above and beyond for their clients. Our suppliers are doing [everything] they can to meet demand. But the lack of access to materials is outside the control of industry."
More than 2600 Tasmanians have applied for HomeBuilder grants.
Meanwhile, the state Liberals have committed to build 1500 new affordable public housing dwellings in Tasmania by June 2023. On Wednesday, Tasmanian Labor said it would build an additional 2000 homes across the state in the next six years if it was to win government on May 1.
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