Builders call for stimulus

THE July 2012 regional Building Approvals figures released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reinforce Master Builders calls for stimulus measures to encourage building activity in Queensland.

Master Builders director of housing policy Paul Bidwell, said private sector housing and total dwelling unit approvals at a Queensland level showed a disappointing fall, while regional figures confirmed that activity levels were mixed across Queensland, with some regional centres driving growth while South East Queensland and tourism centres flounder.

"Regions with a strong mining presence were again standout performers, although we anticipate that some of the heat may come out of these markets as the growth in both mining investment and mining-related employment slows down.

"South East Queensland remains a key area of weakness with drops in both new house and total new residential approvals.

"This is of particular concern given the region typically accounts for the bulk of new residential construction activity in Queensland.

"The Wide Bay-Burnett region had mixed results, with Bundaberg and Maryborough approvals rising and Hervey Bay remaining stable in comparison to a drop for Burnett.

"Overall, the region recorded a very modest increase in approvals.

"Unfortunately, Townsville and Cairns both experienced falls, with Cairns in particular struggling against a high Australian dollar which is impacting negatively on the tourism industry.

"All in all, the figures confirm Master Builders decision to call on the state government for long-term stimulus measures in the State Budget to address the low levels of building activity.

"With (this week's) announcement of the First Home Owners Construction Grant of $15,000, Master Builders is delighted that our calls have been heard and actioned."