Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser. Dave Noonan

3-month extension for building boost

THE Queensland Government's $10,000 Building Boost Grant has been extended for three months after receiving bipartisan support in Queensland Parliament yesterday.

The program received 138 applications for the West Moreton region since it was introduced in August last year.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser announced the extension of the $140 million stimulus package to April 31 this year.

"The boost is designed to stimulate activity in the housing sector - it's doing that, which is why we want to give people more time to get in on the action," Mr Fraser said. "This is about providing an incentive for homebuyers in Queensland, that's what the industry called for and that's what we are delivering."

State Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss said his party was supporting the bill for the good of the construction industry but it was no surprise the three month extension coincided with the election campaign period.

"It is a bit of electioneering but unfortunately the building industry is in the doldrums at the moment and it needs any assistance it can get," he said.

"Labor has slugged us with an extra $7000 stamp duty tax bill and then tried to compensate by giving a bit of a building boost.

"We support the bill simply because the economy does need stimulating under this Labor Government."

Mr Fraser denied the boost had anything to do with stamp duty. "Queensland has the cheapest stamp duty of any mainland Australian state. No amount of harping from the LNP can deny this black and white fact."

Katter's Australia Party candidate for Ipswich Will Keys also slammed the three month extension as political point scoring. "It's simply for cheap political advantage but if it does some people some good then well and good," Mr Keys said.

The Queensland Master Builders Association welcomed the decision after calling on the government to extend the building boost earlier this week.

Master Builders executive director Graham Cuthbert said despite latest figures showing a rise in building approvals, levels remained extremely low, down 50% from November 2007.

"We believe the building boost has played a role in the slowly increasing activity levels and, we called on the government to extend the building boost to ensure a sustained recovery for the housing sector," he said.

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