Construction Trends on the Gold Coast
No-one emerged from the 2008 financial crisis unscathed. Particularly hard hit were the USA and the UK, who, in light of declining levels of productivity, had to lay off hundreds of workers – especially those in the construction industry. Luckily, Australia’s construction industry wasn’t that badly affected. Productivity declined in all states for the years 2008 and 2009.
However, for the most part, recovery has prevailed, with NSW and NT leading the pack in terms of revived profits and growth in commercial and institutional construction. However, other states are still suffering. Tasmania and South Australia have experienced subdued levels of growth in construction. Queensland is showing hesitant signs of recovery, but is placed at a great disadvantage by the Gold Coast. This city, in particular, has struggled to find its feet, and many analysts predict a crisis in its local construction industry.
How do Things Currently Stand?
The statistics do not look good. Research shows that construction productivity on the Gold Coast has declined by a third. That’s a staggeringly alarming plunge when taking into account that the dip occurred over a mere three years. Further studies show that companies lost a total of 1.2 billion dollars in 2008, with 1400 jobs lost.
Undoubtedly, these statistics give the Gold Coast the dubious honour of being the worst-performing city in the country for construction. In fact, the profit margins between the Gold Coast and the rest of Queensland are large. There is, for example, a thirteen per cent gap between the productivity of the Gold Coast and that of the rest of the state.
What’s at Stake?
A large percentage of the Gold Coast population is actually reliant on construction. Statistics show that nearly 34 000 people are directly employed by building companies. This doesn’t include the vast number of people who commute daily to the city to similarly participate in construction work. It’s clear that the current trends will have a terrible impact on employment in the area.
The Master Builders Association of Queensland is gravely concerned. Graham Cuthbert, the chairman of the organisation, notes that approvals for buildings are down by 80 per cent – a thirty year first. He believes that the negative impact of this depressed industry may also affect those not directly hired as construction workers. Tile fitters, interior architects, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and drapers may all anticipate fewer opportunities for work as productivity levels continue to plummet
Can Construction on the Gold Coast be Saved?
Many economists believe that the Gold Coast construction industry cannot be bailed out through state investments alone. The stimulus packages that saved NSW and other states may not be able to do enough to salvage construction on the Gold Coast.
What, then, is to be done? Cuthbert believes that other organisations need to chip in to assist. He particularly makes reference to banks, which he believes should make home loans easier to acquire. An all-round lack of confidence is to blame for stunted building activity. Many experts state that people need to start believing in the Gold Coast in order to revive its construction industry.