August building approval figures have gone through the roof.
August building approval figures have gone through the roof. Valerie Horton

Building approvals soar to $89m

IT’S BOOM time again in the region and the pundits are scratching their heads as to how and why.

In a spectacular turnaround the August building approval figures have gone through the collective residential and commercial roofs, with a stunning $89 million worth showing up in the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

“I can tell you I am excited,” Rory McDonald (below), Master Builders regional manager Wide Bay Burnett said yesterday.

“August shows approval figures for the Wide Bay region as $89 million, which is $30 million more than July.

“Broken down it shows $50 million for residential and $39 million for commercial.

“This absolutely shows a return in confidence in the economy and in the region to have such a large commercial component of which similar figures we have not seen in well over three years.

“These latest figures have given us the best two successive months’ start to a new year in memory.”

But while this region looks to be riding up to the crest of a wave, Qld Master Builders was glum yesterday.

“Overall these figures bring no good news for the building industry in Qld, MBA’s director of housing policy, Paul Bidwell said.

“While dwelling unit approvals have just snuck into positive territory — up 0.9 per cent in August on the back of government investment in public housing and new unit developments, the latest figures are disappointing.

“We have grave concerns that approvals for private sector houses dropped sharply by 7 per cent in August.

“This grim picture highlights the severe impact that the quick fire rise in interest rates earlier this year has had on demand.”

Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Bernard Whebell said that if there was “long term substance and the August result was more than a flash in the pan”, the figures reinforced the natural appeal of this region.

“We’re definitely looking ahead to better times and are very positive about the next 12-24 months.”

Mr McDonald said the MBA was confident this growth would be sustained.

“The injection these figures will create in the local economy must not be taken lightly. This is a huge shot in the arm for our region financially. The flow-on across the whole area from this development money is like a lifeline to Wide Bay Burnett.

“We hope this instils more confidence in the Fraser Coast and we see further on-going growth.

From January to June 2010 our region’s total figures showed an average of $34 million per month — possibly partly reflecting the council’s shovel-ready policy, which lessens infrastructure charges for some developers but which will expire at the end of this month.



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