JOBS, SECURITY: Promise to reignite Coast building industry
A MASSIVE State Government education infrastructure commitment to the Sunshine Coast could not have come at a better time as the region heads into a couple of slower years for the construction sector.
A new state school and special school at Palmview and a high school at Caloundra South will open for the 2021 school year with a high school for Palmview timed to come online for the start of 2023.
The three Palmview schools alone carry a combined establishment budget of $131 million.
Peak body Construction Skills Queensland has blamed a downturn in the residential property market as the root cause of a 20 per cent increase in construction insolvencies to 302 in the past 12 months.
CSQ director of data, evidence and innovation Robert Sobyra said the residential building sector downturn was likely to continue over the next year.
"Approvals lead activity by as much as 18 months, so further falls in building activity are likely over the next year, placing more builders under pressure," he said.
"We are already seeing Queensland's trade industry reducing its headcount. Employment in construction services businesses fell by 40,000 in 2018 - nearly a quarter of the workforce."
Master Builders Sunshine Coast regional manager Will Wilson said four of the last five schools to be built in the region had been constructed by either Coast-based or home-grown Coast businesses.
"Our commercial (construction) sector is very mature and we have good home-grown businesses well and truly capable of doing the work," Mr Wilson said.
"There's also state and national companies with bases here. And companies outside the area realise that our subcontractors are capable of doing work at the compliance standard required."
He said the boost to the sector would be great and recognition of continued growth at levels at and above those predicted.
"The calendar years 2017 and 2018 were exceptional," Mr Wilson said.
He said while there had been a slowing of approvals across the state, the regions had felt it more than in southeast Queensland.
In the southeast the Sunshine Coast was the best-performing area.
"There is a downturn," Mr Wilson said.
"But in my conversations I've already felt some optimism return to construction and real estate."
He said that confidence had been boosted by removal of the 7 per cent stress test on lending, bringing more first home buyers and investors back into the market.
The four school projects will help fill the job gap coupled with more activity in infrastructure spending to the benefit of those working in engineering and civil construction.