Nov 23, 2023

North and central Queenslanders have been short-changed to the tune of around $80 million worth of First Home Owner Grants (FHOG) when compared to the spendathon provided to the State’s south-east corner since 2015.

Yesterday, the Palaszczuk Labor Government announced it would double the value of the FHOG to $30,000 up to 2025, describing the move as a “”pre-Christmas bonus” and a boon for young people wanting to enter the housing market.

But Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement had only highlighted the inequitable way the policy applied to the bustling south-east corner versus the rest of the State.

He said regional, and especially rural, townships in the State’s North and central regions were being underserviced by the current grant set-up.

“The proof is in the pudding of the figures released by the Premier’s own office yesterday – for every FHOG handed out in North and central Queensland since 2015, six have been handed out in the state’s south-east corner – this isn’t fair and is directly linked to structural issues with the grant that simply make it less beneficial outside the Brisbane region,” he said.

“Before the population argument is made – North and central Queensland have just under a third of the population of the south-east, so on an equitable basis you would be expecting to see one grant delivered here for every three or four provided down south, and that simply isn’t what’s happening.”

Mr Katter said he’d based his analysis on population data from the 2021 census, which showed that around 977,000 people lived in Queensland’s Northern and central regions compared to around 3.6 million in the State’s south-east[1].

He said since 2015, 6,254 FHOG grants worth $105.2 million had been delivered to North and central Queensland communities compared to 39,470 grants worth $670.2 million down south.

“We aren’t surprised by this, and the KAP has been raising the alarm bells for a long time on the fact the current system isn’t fair for the regions,” Mr Katter said.

“In regional cities like Townsville and Cairns it makes a bit of a dent but the scheme is virtually irrelevant in smaller rural and remote towns like Charters Towers, Ingham and Ayr where there is an oversupply of older housing and where construction costs are higher than the bigger cities.

“As we have long said, expanding the FHOG to include existing homes could breathe much-needed new life into thousands of old homes in decline in small towns where potential owners cannot justify necessary renovation costs.”

The KAP’s position that established homes be captured under the FHOG (at least in the regions), has been long-supported by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ)[2].

“The weekend’s announcement is truly a missed opportunity to genuinely assist Queenslanders who need the help the most, and to make the regions more attractive, liveable and affordable for young people,” Mr Katter said.

“Not everyone wants to live like sardines on a 250m2 block in the south-east corner, but it seems that is the future the Labor party is writing for our youth.

“There goes the Australian dream.”

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