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HIA’s new dynamic duo has enthusiastically embraced their roles. Last year’s unexpected challenges of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly impacted on the housing industry.
Debbie says: ‘HIA worked swiftly and closely with government to secure various outcomes that have benefited the housing and building industry more broadly from the outset. The impact of COVID-19 has caused some industries to flourish while others have been devastated. Going forward, our industry is committed to delivering a large number of dwellings throughout Australia. There are constraints with supplies, particularly timber which is a global situation at the moment and access to skilled trades given the current demand. Builders, contractors and suppliers are therefore under a great deal of pressure mentally, physically and financially so we’re working closely with our members to support them.’
According to Alwyn, the HomeBuilder stimulus package ‘has record numbers of sales which need to be built in a very short time. This has resulted in material shortages, trade and general labour shortages and land supply issues.’
As well as addressing these issues, Alwyn is also focusing on the upcoming National Construction Code which will be launched next year. ‘This is a huge piece of work especially in energy provisions, condensation inclusions and the accessibility space,’ he says.
While our president and vice-president are passionate about the building industry, how would they sum up their own homes? Alwyn reveals that he’s looking forward to a sea-change lifestyle in the near future.
‘Having just sold our home in Darlington in the Perth Hills, we’re currently building in Busselton, a southwest tip of Western Australia,’ says our president, who lives with his wife Deidre. ‘Our previous home was luxurious and private with a bush environment. The Busselton home will be on the beach so this is our ultimate sea-change.’
While Debbie is on the other side of the continent, she also embraces the beachside lifestyle, as she lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband, Phil. ‘He’s an electrician who came to fix my washing machine,’ she recalls, laughing. In their home, she has introduced various sustainable and efficient features. ‘Living in a sub-tropical climate, I’m happy to say I’ve never entertained the idea of air-conditioning. I just love salty air and the sound of the sea. If you get the orientation and crossflow ventilation right, you can live comfortably in all seasons.’
With her design background, Debbie has a home that’s been furnished with treasured timber cabinets from her grandparents. ‘They evoke warm childhood memories for me,’ she says. ‘These are covered in cascading plants, beach shells and handmade gifts of love from my own grandchildren. With a comfy pillowy couch and richly woven rug in the middle, I have my dream home.’