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Statement by the Shadow Minister for Housing and Construction Mr Michael Hodgman, MP

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"The improvement in the home building industry experienced in the last 18 months has well, and truly peaked," the Shadow Minister for Housing and Construction, Mr Michael Hodgman said today.

Mr Hodgman was commenting on Statistics Bureau figures issued today which showed that private sector dwelling unit approvals in March were a seasonally adjusted 9 per cent below their February level.

There were only 11,370 dwelling units approved in March compared with 12,546 in February.

Mr Hodgman acknowledged that for the nine months to the end of March the number of houses and the total number of dwelling units approved were running ahead of the previous year.

"But it is now clear that approvals have passed their peak and are easing off," he said.

Mr Hodgman said the latest - figures for approvals should be of concern to the Hawke Socialist Government.

"It has been the growth in the housing market that the Government has trumpeted as one of. the great successes of its economic policies," he said. '

"But now that the industry appears to have peaked there will be very little to trumpet about in the:ยป f-y^t-Ure unless the Government provides a sound economic basis1 for its future . " development.

"With its latest economic pronouncements, the Government has shown little sign of doing that.

"Its May Economic Statement has been exposed as a failure and its attitude to discounting of wages for the price effect of the dollar devaluation on prices will not lift business confidence," he said.

"The wages decision will add to the costs of all businesses including the building industry," he said. .

"And it is the building industry which has already been laboring under a higher costs structure than that being felt by the rest of the community.

"Figures out earlier this week continued to show costs of building materials running at an annual rate of 7 per cent compared with an inflation rate 2 per cent less," he said.

16 MAY 1985