Building Better Regional Cities funding a welcome boost
Published: 4 July 2012
Yesterday’s federal government announcement that the Fraser Coast regional council has been earmarked to receive $12 million in funding under the Building Better Regional Cities program is welcome news, with the funding expected to provide crucial support for a region that has been particularly hard hit by the GFC and tough economic times, according to Master Builders, Queensland’s peak body for housing and construction.
Master Builders Burnett Wide Bay Regional Manager, Dean Wolfenden, said the region is one of 16 regional councils around Australia and the only council in Queensland that will receive funding and hopes it will act as a catalyst to stimulate building activity and provide a much needed boost for the industry.
“The federal government expects the funding will help to reduce the cost of the local infrastructure needed for new housing developments, such as roads, bridges, and water and sewerage works, so that the savings are passed on to home buyers,” Mr Wolfenden said.
“This can only mean good news for our industry, which has been struggling with the rising cost of building for some time. While there have been some recent glimmers of hope, with building activity in the region starting to recover and record positive growth, levels remain well below pre-GFC highs.
“Our region also continues to struggle with population losses as people and businesses move away to find work. The reality is that we’re competing with nearby regional centres like Gladstone that are benefiting greatly from the resources boom and are a much more attractive prospect for businesses.
“The postponement of some of Hervey Bay’s major projects during the last 12 months, such as St Stephens Hospital and the Stocklands Shopping Centre, has done nothing to improve confidence, although we welcome the news that the St Stephens Hospital has now been confirmed to commence in January 2013.
“This funding, combined with the new regional council’s commitment to identifying new businesses and land developments, will be a fantastic boost for the local building industry both in direct jobs created by the project, as well as the broader impact the funding will have on housing affordability.
“Recently we’ve been calling on all levels of government to assist our industry with stimulus measures that will help to kick start construction activity and address our growing concerns about the rising cost of building that is exacerbating the divide between new and established homes and driving demand away from new home construction.
“In a time when consumer and business confidence in our region is low, we believe this announcement is some good news we desperately needed and will create vital work for our industry.”
Julie Russell, Manager – Corporate Affairs via email or phone (07) 3225 6436 or 0414 083 191.