The cash lifeline thrown to struggling building firms by the WA Government so far tops $21 million, with another $10 million to be distributed in interest-free loans. Some 105 residential builders registered interest in the loans before Wednesday’s deadline. Under the loans scheme, a maximum of $300,000 will be available to each eligible builder, with payments made in instalments to stimulate house completions. But with up to $60,000 available per property, the $10 million so far allocated will only speed up the completion of 166 builds. With demand high, there are already calls for the loans scheme to expanded. The initiative made headlines for different reasons this week. The West Australian revealed one builders group had engaged former premier Brian Burke last year to help it persuade the Government to change its mind on providing interest-free loans — which it later did when it announced the loans facility on January 4, having rejected the idea three months earlier. Aside from the loans, the State Government has paid out approximately $17.6 million to 18 builders under its Head Contractor Relief Scheme. $30 million was allocated to the scheme which was launched in June 2022 to assist builders on government contracts who were slammed with rising costs, due to COVID and other factors. Under the same scheme, the Department of Communities has paid out just over $4 million across 137 residential construction contracts. The 137 contracts are spread across 13 builders. The Government won’t reveal which builders got the public money, or how much they each received. “The details of claims and their outcomes are commercial and therefore information on individual claims will not be released publicly,” a State Government spokesperson: said. “The Cook Government understands the unforeseeable changes in market conditions has been challenging for the building and construction industry, which is why it responded quickly by introducing the Head Contractor Relief Scheme to assist head contractors working on Government projects,” the spokesperson added. The Home Builders Action Group (HBAG), which claims more than 200 small and medium-sized builders as members, is among those urging more assistance. HBAG had utilised the controversial services of Mr Burke. “Media publicity highlighting the former Premier’s role should not distract attention from the main game,” chairman Jason Janssen said. “That’s the parlous state of the home building industry largely as a result of well-intentioned but misguided government grants and out-of-date laws. “Brian Burke has helped HBAG address these problems but he’s not the main game. “Home builders are grateful for the No Interest Loans Scheme but that’s just a start and a targeted, intelligent Industry assistance package is urgently needed.” The Sunday Times last month revealed the grants program - blamed for much of the turmoil in WA’s building industry - had cost the WA Government almost half a billion dollars. More than $478 million has been paid to West Australians since the Building Bonus scheme was launched at the height of the pandemic in mid-2020 amid fears WA’s economy would falter. Most of the money was chewed up in escalating labour costs, with residential construction woefully under-resourced to meet the explosion in demand as thousands of customers signed up for new-builds.