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Building approvals on the wane?



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STATEMENT BY THE SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION, MR MICHAEL HODGMAN, QC, MR.

BUILDING APPROVALS ON THE WANE?

The Shadow M i n i s t e r f o r Housing and C o n s t r u c t i o n , Mr M ichael Hodgman s a id to d a y th e l a t e s t S t a t i s t i c s Bureau f i g u r e s f o r b u i l d i n g a p p ro v a ls showed

t h a t th e surge in th e l a s t few months was now a s p e n t f o r c e .

Mr Hodgman s a id th e l a t e s t f i g u r e s showed th e p r i v a t e s e c t o r d w e llin g

a p p ro v a ls in December were 19 p e r c e n t below November and t h r e e p e r c e n t

below th e number o f a p p ro v a ls in December, 1983.

"Even in s e a s o n a lly a d ju s te d te r m s , th e number o f a p p ro v a ls in

December was o n ly s l i g h t l y above th e November f i g u r e s , " he s a id .

"The f a c t t h a t th e number o f a p p ro v a ls now appears t o have peaked

o u t must be o f co n ce rn t o th e Labor Government w h ich has lo o k e d t o th e b u i l d i n g

i n d u s t r y as a le a d e r in th e t e n t a t i v e economic r e c o v e r y .

" I t i s j u s t a n o th e r w a rn in g to th e Hawke S o c i a l i s t Government o f

th e c ra c k s t h a t a re b e g in n in g t o appear i n th e re c o v e r y and t h e dangers t h a t

l i e ahead f o r th e b u i l d i n g i n d u s t r y and th e econom y."

Mr Hodgman acknowledged t h a t th e f i g u r e s f o r th e s i x months t o th e

end o f December d id show h ou sin g a p p ro v a ls up 8 p e r c e n t o v e r th e same s i x

months o f 1983 and a 30 p e r c e n t in c re a s e i n o t h e r d w e l l i n g u n i t s .

"B u t th e f i g u r e s c l e a r l y show t h a t in t h e - f i n a l mo'nths o f 1983 /

b u i l d i n g a p p r o v a ls , p a r t i c u l a r l y f o r p r i v a t e s e c t o r h ouses, began t o t a p e r

o f f , " he s a id . ;

Mr Hodgman s a id he was p a r t i c u l a r l y co ncerned a b o u t c o n d i t i o n s in

h is home S ta te o f Tasmania where t h e r e were o n ly 261 d w e l l i n g u n i t s approved

in December compared w it h 456 in November and 281 i n December 1983.

"The t o t a l v a lu e o f b u i l d i n g f o r Tasmania in December was o n ly

$17.1 m i l l i o n , " he s a id . "T h is i s w e ll down on th e $32 m i l l i o n w o rth o f

b u i l d i n g approved in Tasmania in November and i s even b elow th e $17.3

m i l l i o n approved in th e S ta te in December 1 9 8 3 ."

Mr Hodgman s a id i t was now c l e a r t h a t th e Government would no l o n g e r '

be a b le t o r e l y on th e b u i l d i n g s e c t o r t o h e lp A u s t r a l i a t o a h ig h e r le v e l o f

s u s ta in e d economic g row th in th e months ahead.

"The easy s o l u t i o n o f pumping money i n t o th e h o u sin g and o t h e r

b u i l d i n g s e c t o r i s now b e h in d th e G ove rn m e n t," he s a id .

"What i s needed now i s p o s i t i v e p o l i c i e s and i n i t i a t i v e s by th e

Government t o ensure t h a t th e momentum b u i l t up by th e b u i l d i n g i n d u s t r y in

th e l a s t 18 months t o two y e a rs i s n o t f r i t t e r e d a w a y ."

18 FEBRUARY 1985