SUBDUED building approval numbers have prompted a comment from Master Builders urging local councils to help stimulate the construction industry in regional areas.
The August building approvals recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Queensland figures down almost a third, with 28 per cent fewer residential dwellings approved over the past 12 months compared with the year before.
In Far North Queensland, approvals were down 43.8 per cent over the year and 12.9 per cent over the month with 876 approvals on the books compared with 1559 last year.
Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell said initiatives like Rockhampton Regional Council’s $5000 new home builder’s grant for contracts signed after August 1 this year were an innovative solution.
As part of the program, homes must be completed before March 31, 2021.
“The regions are definitely showing better results than Greater Brisbane, with Central Queensland up 138 per cent, North Queensland up 56 per cent and the Gold Coast 27 per cent over the last three months,” Mr Bidwell said.
Master Builders has also taken heart from the housing finance numbers released from the ABS last week.
“They provide a good indication of what will happen in the near future. By using these figures and the building approvals, we can track how our industry is travelling,” Mr Bidwell said.
“While the 12-month figures are all still well down, the August numbers show a positive improvement, with the number of dwellings financed for first-home buyers up 5 per cent and the number of financed owner-occupiers’ dwellings up by 2 per cent. We are definitely still concerned, but we welcome any good news we can get.”
However, with the outlook for the industry overall still presenting as less than positive, Master Builders continued to call on the Queensland Government to increase spending on new public buildings and for other regional councils to take action.
The Cairns Regional Council Economic Development Strategy 2018-2022 sets out how the council will deliver on its strategic objective of a strong, diversified and resilient regional economy that supports the growth of new and existing industry, business activities and provides long-term employment opportunities.
The strategy identifies 10 key actions that will underpin the achievement of this objective including preservation, conservation and promotion, trade and investment, events, resources, development and diversification, entrepreneurship and innovation, shared vision, government relations, collaboration and targeted activities.