Forum members at the Bundy for Breakfast function held at the Bundaberg RSL.
Forum members at the Bundy for Breakfast function held at the Bundaberg RSL. Mike Knott BUNBUS

Hard months for industry

THE construction industry has been in free-fall in the Bundaberg region, according to figures released yesterday.

The drop has left some builders and business leaders pleading with the State and Federal Governments to provide incentives to give a boost to the industry.

A total of 396 dwellings were approved for building in the 12 months to the end of September and only $24.9 million in commercial buildings approved.

This means a 28.5% decrease in the number of buildings approved and a 57% decrease in commercial building activity.

But it was not all bad news with the gross regional product increasing over the same period, meaning other industries had been flourishing.

Bundy Homes director Michael Randall said his business was definitely feeling the sting of a hard few months. "It's probably the most challenging it's been since the introduction of the GST," he said.

"The big one is that the government has to stimulate the building industry with a boost."

Warren Family Homes director Brad Warren said business was starting to look up after a long slower period.

"I have probably done about 15 to 20 quotes in the past month," he said.

Bundaberg Futures Program consultant Neil McPhillips, who revealed the figures at Bundy for Breakfast yesterday, said it was important to look at the figures in context.

"It's not just the Bundaberg region - on the Fraser Coast at the same time they were down 47.2% on the number of dwellings and 41% on commercial buildings," he said.

He said that it was a similar situation across the state.

"It generally means that the economy is really quite hesitant to investment," he said.

Mr McPhillips said it was hard to gauge how successful an incentive based scheme would be to boosting the economy.

CQUniversity regional economies expert John Rolfe said a region's construction industry was the "bellwether" of an economy.

But he was positive about the industry's near future.

"I think it's going to pick up again - anecdotal evidence shows people are travelling to Bundaberg to get away from the high cost of living in Gladstone," he said.



Our economy

396 - the number of dwellings approved in the 12 months to September - a 28.5% drop

$29.4 million - the value of commercial buildings approved in the same period - a 57% decrease

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