John O?Sullivan, construction manager for Absolute Homes
John O?Sullivan, construction manager for Absolute Homes

Want to build a house? Good luck



JOHN O'Sullivan from Absolute Homes is flat out keeping up with the demand for new houses. He is among many local builders who are experiencing a surge in the housing market. The Gladstone region is bucking the trend of the rest of the nation. Across Australia building approvals for new houses and units dropped by close on four per cent in December. In Queensland housing approvals dropped by a third, yet our region is surging ahead with a burgeoning demand for new housing.

THE housing market in the Gladstone region is stretched to bursting, so much so that the Queensland Master Builders Association (QMBA) is thinking about importing builders from overseas to keep up with demand.

QMBA general manager Trevor McCubbin said the association would meet this month to develop a proposal to present to the federal government to allow the import of overseas trained skilled builders into the region to meet the demand.

Mr McCubbin was commenting on reports that the housing industry was experiencing its worst slump since the introduction of GST in 2000.

The downturn has been felt the most in NSW but new housing approvals have dropped by a third in Queensland.

Mr McCubbin said Gladstone was bucking the trend because of the region's vibrant economy.

"There are a lot of projects on the go in Gladstone.

"Expansion plans for industries such as Comalco are also adding to the influx of money into the region,'' he explained.

Mr McCubbin said the expansion of the region would continue for some time to come and that the vibrant Gladstone economy might attract workers to come north.

"Our building approvals would be higher if we had more workers,'' he said.

"At the moment ongoing work is being held up from the cost of labour and the lack of availability of workers.''

Federal member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the vibrant economy of the region was reflected in the drop in the number of people on Newstart payments.

"The number of people on income support has halved since 1996, and is currently sitting at less than 1000 people of working age on income support,'' he said.



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