Stephen Mullighan ruining dreams of homeownership for South Australians

Wednesday 08 March 2023
Stephen Mullighan ruining dreams of homeownership for South Australians

The Opposition isn’t buying Stephen Mullighan’s cop out for not lifting a finger to help desperate South Australians who risk losing the dream of home ownership through no fault of their own.

More than a thousand South Australian homebuyers who applied for HomeBuilder grants of up to $25,000 could miss out on the funds due to lengthy construction delays outside their control.

The grants were made available to those building a new home, substantially renovating an existing home or buying a property off the plan – with all documentation to be supplied by April 30 – including a certificate of title.

For new and off the plan homes, a certificate of title can only be issued once construction has been finished. It means those who purchased properties in developments experiencing extensive delays due to supply and labour shortages could lose their grant – even though they met the eligibility requirements when they signed their contract.

The Opposition has been calling on Stephen Mullighan to work with his Federal Labor colleagues to secure an extension to the fast-approaching April 30 deadline – but so far, he’s arrogantly refused.

HomeBuilder deadlines have been extended before – in April 2021 it was announced the “construction commencement requirement” would be extended from six months to 18 months due to unanticipated construction delays.

That extension only applied to existing applicants – who signed contracts during the HomeBuilder eligibility period – and provided an additional 12 months to commence construction from the date that the building contract was signed.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said the Malinauskas Labor Government’s refusal to fight for an extension for SA’s HomeBuilder applicants is hypocritical given they recently granted newly elected council members an extension to lodge campaign paperwork.

“It’s incredibly frustrating that Labor’s willing to create an extension for one group of South Australians, but won’t fight for more than a thousand homebuyers,” Mr Speirs said.

“We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, so we should be doing everything we can to keep these dreams of home ownership alive, but Stephen Mullighan appears determined to crush them and create a nightmare.

“Labor says they want to support first homebuyers, but when their Treasurer refuses to even pick up the phone to try and help these heartbroken HomeBuilder applicants, it’s hard to believe them.”

Shadow Minister for Housing Affordability and Urban Development, Michelle Lensink, called on the Malinauskas Labor Government to show some compassion.

“These impacted homebuyers have done everything right, every step of the way, and could lose out on grants of up to $25,000 through no fault of their own,” Ms Lensink said.

“Many of the applicants we’re speaking with say they only purchased these properties because of the HomeBuilder grant, and they’re completely devastated these funds could be ripped away because of factors outside their control.

“With cost of living pressures rising, so many South Australians are struggling to afford to buy a home right now - so it astounds me that the Malinauskas Labor Government is doing nothing to help more than a thousand people secure a roof over their heads.”

Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said Stephen Mullighan’s excuses simply don’t stack up.

“Stephen Mullighan’s claims an extension to the HomeBuilder deadline can’t be granted are absolutely wrong as we’ve seen it done in the past,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“We’re not calling for the scheme to be reopened, we’re not asking for the eligibility criteria to be changed – we’re simply asking for an extension of the April 30 deadline for those who applied for these grants in good faith.

“Peter Malinauskas and Stephen Mullighan need stand up for South Australian homebuyers and pick up the phone with their Labor colleagues in Canberra – it’s the very least they can do.”