Warren Lynam

Master Builders questions budget help to industry

WHILE regional tradies will get first dibs on $500 million worth of hospital refurbishments and school maintenance projects, one industry group fears there is little else to get excited about outside south-east Queensland.

Master Builders Australia deputy executive director Paul Bidwell said the 25% payroll tax exemption for apprentices and trainees was a good thing but it was "only chipping away at the margins".

"From the building and construction sector's point of view, the treasurer has delivered no frills and he hasn't broken any promises," he said.

"For the residential sector, the treasurer has left the $15,000 first home grant unscathed which is a great thing.

"The residential sector is red-hot in south-east Queensland. Across regional Queensland a lot of builders are doing it tough."

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Though there are three new schools and a stadium in Far North Queensland, the Treasurer's own patch, there has been criticism about a lack of major infrastructure spending.

Mr Bidwell said there was more in the budget than expected and he had hopes Building Queensland would find new "innovative ways" to find investment in infrastructure.

"Commercial builders are desperate for investment in infrastructure," he said.

"What we really wanted to see from the commercial side of things was a big investment in infrastructure projects.

"We accept the state is strapped for cash so that's difficult.

"The builders across the state would always like more but, for a lot of them, it's something."

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief Antonia Mercorella welcomed $186 million earmarked for supporting business growth but had hoped the first home buyers grant might expand to include established homes.

"A plan to keep our best and brightest here in Queensland should be celebrated, and a plan to encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups is vital to our state's economic prosperity," she said.

"We were disappointed to see the Treasurer did not extend the first home buyers grant to include established homes, a measure that would have unlocked additional funds for new home buyers getting into the market."


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