Newly appointed regional manager of the Master Builders Association Tony Mitchell.
Newly appointed regional manager of the Master Builders Association Tony Mitchell. Nat Bromhead

New boss for Master Builders

THE NEW boss of Master Builders in the Wide Bay and Burnett, representing some 320 members, is on a mission.

“I want to put some confidence back into the industry,” he said.

For Tony Mitchell, who worked on the Fraser Coast in the 1990s as a building inspector for the Queensland Building Services Authority, his new role as regional manager of the local Master Builders is a welcome homecoming.

“In light of the interest rate debacle of the last couple of weeks, confidence is down.

“I’m not one who relies on statewide figures because that’s very much a global view. But when you drill down a bit further and have a look at what’s happening in the actual region itself, you find that in the building approvals over the last few months there’s been a glimmer of hope.

“That’s indicative of this region having so many underlying benefits.

“We’re very special here and it’s showing in the figures.”

Mr Mitchell has been through three financial downturns in his careers with both the BSA and QMBA, the latter in Brisbane.

“I’ve only been back here a week but I’m finding that I’m getting a very mixed response when I ask people in the industry and in the market place how things are going,” he said.

“The industry has to be adaptable.

“One of the things with one of these cycle perspectives is it’s good to know you’ve actually reached the bottom. And I think we have.

“The benefits Australia has keeps the engine room going. People pick themselves up accordingly. They start to show a bit of initiative. Younger people are coming through.

“So the underlying commercial aspects keep continuing on even though the confidence might be down.”

The industry’s statutory insurance authority, the BSA, doesn’t offer a perfect system that covers all circumstances and individuals, but the present model compared to the other states served its purpose.

In his 11 years with the BSA he says he was privy to the emotions and heartache that he saw from both consumers and builders.

“There was also no doubt whatsoever there were some fairly unsavoury practices.”

Mr Mitchell says we need to consider the process and impact of our draft regional plan towards 2031.

“We need to ensure we have provisos in the plan that allow us to easily access the process to bring those things on line.

“In the past we’ve found historically that through regional plans and state planning policies, and with the requirements under the sustainability act, that individuals unknowingly force themselves into a corner.

“We need to decide clearly what we’re going to do when we get to that threshold and that we haven’t created a problem for ourselves naively. Let’s think beyond the next 20 years.”

With housing affordability a major ongoing factor, he warns that we may need to consider more small lot housing, but with clever building design and architecture so that it becomes aesthetically pleasing.

Tony says he and wife Toni will retire here.

“What better places can you have than the combination of the Heritage City and Hervey Bay beachside? It’s perfect.”

‘The benefits Australia has keeps the engine room going. People pick themselves up accordingly.’



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