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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Working hard for HIA members

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HIA has responded to the challenges of 2021 by providing quality advice and services to help members during this time of uncertainty. 

Kristin Brookfield

HIA Chief Executive - Industry Policy

The year of 2021 was another extremely busy time for HIA advocacy efforts, with more than just COVID-19 keeping our team on their toes. Consequently, it’s also been a productive year for the Association in working hard for our members.

HIA responded to a continuous array of government reforms and programs aimed at residential building businesses, design and construction. Its National Policy Congress also set a pathway for the Association’s broader, long-term advocacy, including signing off on HIA’s policy priorities for 2021/25. 

 
Alwyn Even, Paul Knight and Hon Pierre Yang MLC

National agenda 

A win on negative gearing and capital gains

HIA actively engaged with the federal opposition leadership to highlight the deficiencies of the negative gearing and capital gains tax policies taken to the past two elections. After almost six years of holding ground on changes, the federal opposition agreed in July to delete these from its housing policy platform for the next federal election.

More time for HomeBuilder projects 

HIA successfully gained an extension of time to commence HomeBuilder projects from six to 12 months. Significant time delays occurred due to shortages of materials and labour. This extension will help ensure more homebuyers to remain eligible for the grant and complete their projects. 

Improving savings for first home buyers

Ongoing advocacy from HIA to support homeownership contributed to the government’s decision to increase savings caps within the First Home Super Saver Scheme. This sees the tax concessions applied to saving for a home deposit inch closer to the preferential tax settings applied to saving within superannuation.
HIA called for and secured an expansion of the First Home Guarantee Scheme, which includes an additional 10,000 places for the New Home Guarantee scheme in 2021/22 and establishing the Family Home Guarantee.

Supporting apprentices to start a career

HIA successfully advocated for an expansion of the Boosting Apprentice Commencements wage subsidy, which has seen the most significant increase of apprentice employment in many years. 

Educated more than 2,000 building professionals on NCC

HIA delivered training tailored for housing and apartment buildings on the proposed changes to the 2022 national construction code. The training covered the new accessible housing, energy efficiency and condensation provisions, along with the complete restructuring of all three volumes of the code.

Pushed for improved land and housing data

HIA is working closely with the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to build  practical and nationally consistent land and housing supply data across Australia as a member of the Steering Committee and Working Group for the Australian Housing Data Analytics Platform.

Speaking for residential building and businesses

HIA provided ongoing contributions to a wide range of government consultations in 2021, ranging across national planning and environmental settings, building codes and building reforms, industrial relations, taxation, immigration and skills and housing policy. 

 
HIA BeyondBlue bucket hats

Regional advocacy and activity wins

Across every state and territory, HIA improves the industry's business outcomes and gains support for streamlined housing delivery in all forms. 

Australian Capital Territory

  • Successfully lobbied the Suburban Land Agency to improve the transparency of land allocation and end gaming of public ballots
  • Argued against mandatory union-run silica training in lieu of industry-based national agreed training for residential building workers.

New South Wales

  • Secured $15 million in NSW Government funding over four years to deliver the NSW Land and Housing Corporation Apprentice program
  • Developed and gained government acceptance of a re-opening plan for residential building sites following the full shutdown of construction in Greater Sydney
  • Successfully negotiated extended working hours for construction sites to enable builders and trades to work weekends and public holidays
  • Negotiated significant reductions in delivery times and improved management of tiger tail installations by electricity network operators
  • Championed the establishment of the e-planning task force within NSW Planning, driving software enhancements and training to improve the system and remedy HIA member issues
  • Gained multiple fixes to NSW Complying Development Codes to enable fast-track approval pathways for the housing industry. 

Hunter

  • Worked closely with Central Coast Council to gain state government support to implement the online planning portal
  • Reached a new milestone with over 100 apprentices commencing in HIA’s group training scheme in 2021. 

Northern Territory

  • Received funding for Tivendale Certificate I in Construction program in 2021 and continuing into 2022 to engage troubled youth and spark interest in the construction industry
  • Doubled the number of apprentices in 2021 and secured a new group starting in 2022
  • Expanded networks within the education and school careers sector to inform students about careers in construction
  • Participated in the DIPL–Land Development Process Review sub-committee to identify and remove administration deficiencies and red tape within the system
  • Actively contributed to the development of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) regime for builders that will be tailored to suit the industry
  • Engaged with relevant government departments during COVID-19 lockdowns and set out options to soften the blow of future lockdowns on residential building.

Queensland

  • Amplified HIA’s national NCC workshop program with 11 regional workshops across Queensland and North Queensland
  • Convinced the QBCC and state government to circulate correspondence to consumers regarding the shortage of materials and the need for patience due to delays
  • Convinced the QBCC to establish a mediation process to deal with price increases and delays.

Gold Coast

  • Successfully obtained up to $60,000 industry funding from Construction Skills Queensland to support the Gold Coast Trade Ready program. This encourages young people into the construction industry by offering a pre-employment program.

South Australia 

  • Won a change to security of payment laws to allow a builder to claim payment from an owner, in addition to contractors claiming from builders, while HIA has stopped the introduction of trust accounts and project bank accounts for residential building projects
  • Successfully gained an extension of Rescode that operated before the new planning code to ensure houses eligible for homebuilder grants would not be delayed by changes in the design code
  • Gained a number of changes to the new planning and design code to ensure more houses can use the code
  • Negotiated to have a concession for the use of circular saws at residential building sites on total fire ban days (no cutting tools were allowed previously)
  • Has received an extension of Workready funding for training to June 2022.

Tasmania

  • Secured $1 million over four years to establish HIA Apprentices in Tasmania under the government’s skills strategy
  • Successfully lobbied for an extension to the $20,000 Tasmanian FHOG through to the end of March
  • Expanded the HIA Building Women program through a government grant, including the launch of an inaugural training and scholarship program
  • Ongoing advocacy has resulted in Tasmania taking its first steps towards private planning certification with ‘no permit required’ applications.

Western Australia

  • Successfully advocated for better consumer advice over the widespread concerns around building contracts due to material constraints and price increases, with Building and Energy WA broadening its consumer assistance scope and releasing guidance material
  • Held a sold-out HIA Building Women event featuring former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop
  • Successfully contributed and advocated for introducing a mature-age wage subsidy through the Construction Training Fund. This model has been adopted more broadly by the WA State Government
  • Secured a $150,000 state government grant over four years for education and communication to members on the new Work Health and Safety Laws
  • Provided advice to members and the state government Working Groups over multiple natural disasters, including bushfires and cyclones
  • HIA-led changes to the state planning framework, furthering one-house, one-approval agenda, has been gazetted and is now state planning policy
  • Successfully gained support from the state government Skills Summit to introduce initiatives to help disadvantaged learner drivers obtain a driver's licence, as an opportunity to mobilise a sector of the workforce and increase skilled migration places for work in WA.

Victoria

  • Secured major changes on trade registration and licensing legislation
  • Worked with the government to establish a CPD framework that is practical and works for residential builders and trades
  • Actively engaged with the government on the Building Review
  • Made constant representations and gained wins in relation to industry operations throughout the Victorian lockdowns
  • Advocated against the proposed windfall gains tax to support regional Victorian members from higher land prices
  • Achieved the removal of some silica-related offences from the infringement notices regulations
  • Collaborated with Solar Victoria to extend and expand the solar rebates program for houses
  • Gained wins in relation to building on sloping sites in a regional township land use and development strategy. 
 

Managing COVID-19 

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has impacted every state and territory this year. While some regions were lucky to have short lockdowns, others have experienced significant disruptions and changes in day to day operations. 

In response to decisions in the Northern Territory, NSW, ACT and Victoria to shut down residential building work, HIA has worked tirelessly to remind governments that home building is very different from large-scale construction. It always needs to take a tailored approach. 

The shutdowns and ongoing restrictions have impacted members large and small. Sadly, the occupied renovation builders and trades have experienced the harshest outcome, being shut down for months in Victoria and heavily limited in NSW and ACT. 

The year ahead seems to look positive with the hope that all sites can return to normal business operations, but only time will tell. Rest assured, HIA will continue to work on behalf of members to achieve the best outcome possible and represent our industry’s needs.