The Tasmanian government will pay for a quarter of construction costs on shovel-ready projects as part of its Covid-recovery plans.
Community and commercial projects worth more than $2 million will be partially funded in the $10 million Building Projects Support Program.
The funding will be capped to a maximum of $1 million and the projects will require planning approval, need to start within three months and demonstrate positive community, broad economic or social benefits.
The details of the Tasmanian budget were overshadowed by the Victorian budget this week which outlined big-spending on infrastructure, build-to-rent tax changes and housing.
The island state has its own strategy for recovery including the $391.2 million redevelopment and expansion of the Royal Hobart, Launceston General and Mersey Community hospitals.
It is also pursuing tourism with $200 million spend to attract New Zealand and interstate visitors including $22.5 million on airport upgrades, $68 million for the Cradle Mountain Experience and $19.4 million for Tasmania’s “next iconic walk” in the Tyndall Ranges.
Through the pandemic Tasmania is ahead of the rest of the country for housing with listings picking up, the lowest and most stable vacancy rates in the country at 0.6 per cent and house prices up 6.4 per cent this year.
Tasmania's economic recovery: dwellings and retail trade
^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Tasmanian Budget 2020-21
Set aside for the residential sector there will be a record investment of more than $300 million over four years into social and affordable housing projects.
This includes the $100 million to build up to 1,000 new homes over three years with an expressions of interest campaign currently underway.
There is also the Huntingfield land release project for 470 lots, and though a Commonwealth debt waiver, funding for 400 dwellings through the conversion the Balmoral Motor In and Windsor Court unit complex.
Premier Peter Gutwein said their substantial infrastructure spend, combined with our strong balance sheet means that we can go further to invest in health, education and housing.
“With a quiet confidence and cautious optimism returning, Tasmania is returning to a more normal way of life,” Gutwein said.
“There will be uncertainty and volatility ahead, just as it is across the world and in Australia, we will not be immune from the impacts of Covid-19.”
Master Builders Tasmania executive director Matthew Pollock said this budget makes good on that pledge with construction put at the centre of our recovery strategy.
“Ten million in grants under the Building Projects Support program could unlock more than $50 million in private investment, and more than $150 million in related activity across the economy,” Pollock said.
“One million to support the office of the coordinator general to bring major projects back into the pipeline, and $250,000 to deliver the Launceston City deal is exactly what industry has been calling for.
“[The] $3.4 million to support the Land Tiles Office to meet the new timeframes under the government’s new regulatory reforms should speed up land supply.”