Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

ABS Building Approvals Rise for Second Consecutive Month

ABS Building Approvals Figures data released today shows the Rudd Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan is continuing to deliver a much-needed boost to jobs in the housing sector.

Building approvals rose 3.5 per cent to 10,494 units in March, seasonally adjusted. This comprised:

  • an increase in private sector houses of 2.8 per cent – up for the fourth consecutive month; and
  • an increase in private sector other (apartments and townhouses) of 2.8 per cent – up for the second consecutive month.

The number of seasonally adjusted residential dwelling approvals in March increased by 15.0 per cent in Victoria, 7.0 per cent in Queensland and 4.9 per cent in South Australia, while the number fell by 7.2 per cent in New South Wales, 10.3 per cent in Tasmania, and 15.0 per cent in Western Australia.

“While times are undoubtedly still tough, it is pleasing to see the second consecutive monthly rise in approvals,” , Tanya Plibersek said.

“These figures show that the Rudd Government’s First Home Owners Boost, combined with low interest rates, is having a positive effect on the housing market.

“A strong housing market is critical for underpinning confidence and supporting jobs in the Australian economy.

“As these increased dwelling approvals translate to additional building it will support jobs in the housing and construction industry. This is good news for builders and tradies, right across Australia.”

The $1.5 billion First Home Owners Boost is part of the Rudd Government’s $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy announced on October 14 last year to strengthen the Australian economy during the global financial crisis.

Under the scheme:

  • First home buyers who purchase established homes will have their grant doubled from $7,000 to $14,000; and
  • First home buyers who purchase a newly constructed home will receive an extra $14,000 to take their grant to $21,000.

By the end of February, more than 42,000 Australians had taken up the First Home Owners Boost.

“Housing and construction is a major employer in the Australian economy. That’s why housing has featured so strongly in the Rudd Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan – firstly through the First Home Owners Boost and then by building 20,000 social housing dwellings,” Ms Plibersek said.

“This investment in social housing will stimulate the building and construction industry and has been estimated by Treasury to support 15,000 jobs nationally over the next two years.

“Nearly 70 percent of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan is infrastructure and these construction projects are now underway. When the stimulus package gets up to full steam in about 12 months, there will be around 35,000 individual construction projects around the country.”