National

Housing headlines Tas construction blitz

By AAP Newswire

Tasmania is planning to build thousands of new houses as part of a construction blitz designed to stimulate the island's economy amid the coronavirus

The state government says the package unveiled on Thursday will generate $3.1 billion worth of infrastructure over the next two years, including more than 2300 homes.

An existing $20,000 grant for first homebuyers has been opened to any owner or occupier who signs a contract this year to build a new house.

The money is on top of a freshly announced federal scheme that provides $25,000 to eligible homebuilders or for substantial house renovations.

"There will be, for those who qualify, $45,000 available if you're going to build a home in Tasmania," Premier Peter Gutwein said.

"There has never been a better time to build a house in Tasmania, ever."

Further details on eligibility criteria will be available next week.

About $100 million is going towards 1000 new social houses, plus $24 million for 220 additional affordable dwellings.

Mr Gutwein said the overall package, which is on top of an existing $1.8 billion infrastructure plan and includes private investment, will support 15,000 jobs.

It includes $40 million for road upgrades next financial year and $10 million for improvements to regional health centres and ambulance facilities.

The government is also bringing forward $7 million for child and family learning centres.

Tasmania has gone 19 days without recording a new COVID-19 case, as the state prepares to shift to stage two of restrictions on Friday afternoon.

Police will keep a close eye on pubs, which will be allowed to serve drinks, and the state's roads, with visits to holiday homes and camping sites permitted.

"We want people to enjoy themselves ... but we all need to do so safely," Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said.

The road to the pinnacle of Hobart's kunanyi/Mount Wellington will reopen from 8.30am on Saturday.

Tasmania has just three active virus cases, two of whom are in hospital, while 210 of a recorded 226 cases have recovered.

More than 800 people were tested for the virus on Wednesday.

"That's a good indication there is very little, if any, coronavirus circulating in the community," Director of Public Health Mark Veitch said.