Home builder grant
(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Build it, and they will (not) come

The Morrison government has been accused of addressing the pandemic and related recession with what amounts to wishful thinking, based on the idea that private industry will somehow lead the country back to prosperity as spending magically increases in an economy enjoying its highest rate of unemployment since the Great Depression and the highest rate of household debt since ever.

And one of the more notable products of this wild optimism was the tradie-supporting HomeBuilder stimulus scheme, in which the government promised to contribute up to $25,000 to home renovation projects provided that the applicants earned less than $200,000 a year, owned and lived in the house in question (or were about to), and were about to spend $150,000 on it. Oh, and the house can't be worth more than $1.5 million pre-reno. Simple!

The scheme has been funded for 27,520 grants of $25,000 each at the moment, despite criticism that the conditions were so specific that few people would meet them -- especially on the east coast where property prices are most insultingly high, or in regional areas where that $150,000 minimum reno-spend was unlikely to fly.