Retail premises being built on Hervey Bay’s Main Street could be a sign of stronger times.
Retail premises being built on Hervey Bay’s Main Street could be a sign of stronger times.

Wide Bay building figures soar

THE building industry on the Fraser Coast and throughout the Wide Bay region may have turned the corner.

As the Brisbane office of Queensland’s peak body for housing rued the latest across-the-year fall in building approvals yesterday afternoon, the mood was decidedly more upbeat three hours north.

“We’re bucking the trend,” Rory MacDonald, regional manager of Master Builders Burnett Wide Bay, said after breaking down the local figures.

“It seems regional Queensland is okay. It looks as if we’re suffering because of the downturn in south-east Queensland.”

Mr MacDonald said the bump forward appeared to have come in the industrial and commercial sector, although housing approvals in Hervey Bay had also jumped noticeably between August and September.

“We’re probably seeing a move in the flow of dollars from the government’s stimulus package. Some of the private school stimulus package money has arrived.

“In the region there has been an over 50 per cent increase in the dollar value of approvals.”

The number of new houses approved in the Wide Bay Burnett area rose from 123 in August to 135 in September. In Hervey Bay this figures climbed from 42 to 65.

However, it was the non-residential sector that showed the most promise for Mr MacDonald as the number of jobs approved for the region leaped from 32 to 68.

In terms of dollar value this amounted to an increase from $33 million to $115 million, Mr MacDonald said.

“I’m very optimistic about the figures we are seeing. In the last three weeks the builders are telling me their phones are ringing again and they are actually signing contracts.”



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