The Palaszczuk Government wants to increase two building levies to support workers’ long service leave entitlements and suicide prevention.
The Palaszczuk Government wants to increase two building levies to support workers’ long service leave entitlements and suicide prevention.

Building levy to impact new homes

PLANS to increase building levies to pay for construction workers' long service leave and suicide prevention have been criticised for putting new housing at risk.

Master Builders have made a plea to the Palaszczuk Government to drop their surprise plans to increase the Portable Long Service Leave levy and say including GST in calculations is a "tax on a tax".

 

The Government's plan would see the levy expanded from projects upwards of $150,000 to include smaller projects worth over $80,000 and concessions ripped up for major projects, particularly resource projects.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said changes were needed as it was the first time in the scheme's history it was paying out more than it was collecting.

She said she was meeting with the MBAQ this week and was "more than happy to further investigate their concerns" around fund eligibility".

Master Builders chief executive Grant Galvin said that extra money could help fund suicide prevention, rather than a planned increase to the workplace health and safety levy.

He says the case has not been made that the sustainability of QLeave is at risk without the hike and that there's a suspicious number of workers registered under the scheme.

QLeave is funded by levying building projects and allows workers to keep long service leave entitlements between employers.

Master Builders Executive Director Grant Galvin
Master Builders Executive Director Grant Galvin

The Government wants to pull in hundreds of millions of extra dollars by introducing a yet-undisclosed flat levy rate, reversing a range of Newman Government "discounts" that saved the construction industry $91.3 million over the past four years.

Mr Galvin said the industry was already trying to absorb the new Waste Levy, an end to a First Home Owners' Grant boost, and a fall in new dwelling approvals.

"While the levy increase being proposed appears modest, any increase in costs can affect the viability of a construction project, particularly new housing," he wrote in a submission.

"If the cost of new housing moves too far above existing housing, as it already has in many of the regions, the mortgage may not be forthcoming, and the project will not go ahead."

Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace says changes made by the LNP to QLeave have “significantly compromised” the scheme. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace says changes made by the LNP to QLeave have “significantly compromised” the scheme. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)