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Government shows support for home building – Vic

April 28, 2020

In the last week, the Victorian Government has announced actions that reflect their continued support for home building in Victoria. While we remain open for business the impact of COVID-19 on home building has been significant and taking the necessary steps to ensure our industry remains well placed as restrictions are lifted is now the key to a smooth transition.

Extension of Regional Victorian First Home Owner Grant

The Government has announced an extension of the $20,000 First Home Owners Grant for regional Victoria for buying or building a new home - now applying until 30 June 2021.

HIA welcomed the announcement as it offers a strong incentive to first home buyers to consider buying their first home and to make that home a new one.

Building Industry Taskforce Vital to the Victorian Economy

Last week the Government also announced the appointment of a Building and Development Industry Taskforce.

HIA was appointed to the Taskforce and we will continue to work with the Government on behalf of members to keep the residential building and development industry open for business.

Getting VCAT moving during COVID-19

The Government has announced today $5.2 million to support Victoria’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to manage hearings during COVID-19.

This is particularly good news for home building as the Planning and Environment list and other current and pending matters have largely been on hold since mid-March.

This announcement will provide for a range of ways to proceed with cases using appropriate technology and we believe “on the papers hearings”.

The new funding will provide new software and processes to essentially allow for digital upgrades to the service. Work has already commenced on these upgrades, which are due to be rolled out over the next 12 weeks.

This announcement compliments the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 which was passed through the Victorian Parliament last week. Amongst a range of other matters, that Bill provided for reforms to assist the operation of the broader justice system to minimise delays and to minimise the need for actual appearances in courts or tribunals.

Over recent weeks, HIA has advised the Victorian Government that it should support VCAT to be able to continue to progress cases in the current COVID-19 environment with ‘on the papers’ hearings and undertaking cases by video conference. In conjunction with other measures, such as calling on all sessional members to be deployed, these will assist with clearing any backlog of cases.

Changes to Domestic Building Disputes Resolution process needed now

With regard to building matters, HIA has been advocating to resolve building dispute matters currently held up in the Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Process (DBDRV) by removing the need for mandatory conciliation. This would ensure building matters can move through to VCAT and be resolved in a more timely way.

Download further information on the Victorian Government’s announcement.

If you wish to discuss this matter further please contact Teresa Davis on t.davis@hia.com.au or 03 9280 8230.