A BUILDING industry spokesman has called on insurance companies to cut red tape and engage more Bundaberg tradesmen to carry out flood repair works.
A BUILDING industry spokesman has called on insurance companies to cut red tape and engage more Bundaberg tradesmen to carry out flood repair works. Mike Knott

Let our local tradies help rebuild Bundaberg

A BUILDING industry spokesman has called on insurance companies to cut red tape and engage more Bundaberg tradesmen to carry out flood repair works.

Housing Industry Association Wide Bay branch manager Stuart Collins said with the enormous effort involved in the rebuilding, it made sense to use local tradesmen to do the insurance work.

"Yet these out-of-town firms are coming in, bringing their own (tradespeople) and all this money is going out of Bundaberg," he said.

Mr Collins said conditions in south east Queensland had been quite tough and he understood why some insurance agencies, and firms they engaged to the repair work, would have their own preferred contractors.

"Unfortunately that means a lot of the local guys don't get a look-in," he said.

Mr Collins was in Bundaberg recently, where he held a forum for about 60 local builders who expressed concern over the lack of jobs.

"The industry in Bundaberg has been on its knees," he said.

"These guys are not only builders, they are residents of Bundaberg - many of their houses suffered damage.

"At a time when the industry has contracted every month for the last 34 months, with local building approvals in a state of decline, this was a bit of a silver lining, the fact they could pick up some work and keep staff on."

He said the insurance companies were asking local tradesmen to tender on the condition they comply with extra safety and business management requirements that were "onerous, not legally required and foreign to regional housing sites".

"Doing maintenance and repair works in Bundaberg, I don't see why you need to satisfy all those pre-conditions before you will be chosen for the work," he said.

"I think they need to have a look at these pre-conditions and remove those requirements.

"Housing Industry Australia is all for fair competition, but perhaps there needs to be some sort of quota imposed on the use of local contractors as part of the rebuild efforts."

He said there needed to be urgent talks with insurance companies to find out how much work has been given to the local industry.