Our extremely successful HomeBuilder Scheme continues to stimulate our economy and confidence statewide.
Since HomeBuilder opened in July, we have received over 2000 applications, with 627 applications registered in just the first two weeks of the year alone.
To give a sense of scale, Tasmania normally builds around 2800 houses per year. To ensure that applications are processed as soon as possible, the State Revenue Office has put on unprecedented resourcing to meet this extraordinary demand, and there are now 14 full-time equivalent staff working on HomeBuilder applications.
HomeBuilder is translating into more homes for Tasmanians. ABS Building Activity data out today shows that Tasmania has seen the second highest growth in housing commencements in the country, growing 7.1 per cent in the September quarter. A total of 786 of buildings commenced construction in the September quarter.
HomeBuilder is leading to more jobs, with construction-related job vacancies nearly doubling over the year. In December 2020, job vacancies for machinery operators and drivers grew 96 per cent over the year, while job vacancies for labourers grew 83 per cent over the year. These are the highest and second highest, respectively, annual growth rates seen in the nation.
The Government is focussed on growing our economy, getting more Tasmanians back into work, bringing our unemployment rate down and rebuilding a Stronger Tasmania. The State Budget provides a landmark $5 billion infrastructure program across the next four years to support around 25,000 jobs and lift incomes state-wide. And it backs Tasmanian businesses by making it easier for them to employ with a $22 million investment to significantly boost jobs for apprentices, trainees and youth employees.