A huge construction in Mill Lane, Nambour is a sign of a the huge boost to the sector in the past 12 months. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
A huge construction in Mill Lane, Nambour is a sign of a the huge boost to the sector in the past 12 months. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

Mayor backs Coast's billion-dollar building boom

SUNSHINE Coast Council approved $1.29 billion worth of building approvals in 2016 and saw 14,000 development, building and plumbing applications lodged which are driving strong property construction activity.

The totals are a significant increase on the previous two years.

Mayor Mark Jamieson is backing the job creation potential of growth for residents.

 

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson delivered his state of the region address at Mooloolaba Surf Club.
Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson delivered his state of the region address at Mooloolaba Surf Club. Erle Levey

"With building approvals in excess of $1 billion for the third consecutive year, the confidence in the Sunshine Coast's building and construction industry is contributing to positive economic growth and investment opportunities," Mayor Jamieson said in a statement.

"Last month, the total value of building approvals exceeded $200 million for the first time in three years, again illustrating the continued growth of building activity across the Sunshine Coast.

"Development has increased significantly on the Sunshine Coast over recent years, with game-changing projects such as the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and development of the new Maroochydore CBD and Sippy Downs Town Centre setting the scene for increased local employment."

 

The first suburb in Aura, Stocklands brand new city on the Sunshine Coast, is taking shape as construction ramps up to keep pace with the demand for new home sites.
The first suburb in Aura, Stocklands brand new city on the Sunshine Coast, is taking shape as construction ramps up to keep pace with the demand for new home sites. Patrick Woods

Unemployment rates have continued to drop and job opportunities have risen on the Sunshine Coast during 2016.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows the region's unemployment rate has fallen by two percentage points this year to 4.7% in September, well below the 5.6% recorded for Australia. 

Youth unemployment was also ahead of the curve at 9.8%, a major drop from 14.2% in November 2014 and well below the current 12.6% recorded for Australia.  

"Steady and sustainable growth in development over the longer term has positive flow-on effects that contribute to increased economic activity across the region, including employment generation, business confidence and consumer spending," Mayor Jamieson said.

Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said residential construction costs had been growing at a steady rate throughout 2016.

"The cost of residential building work has risen by 4.5% over the year and this is expected to continue into 2017," Mr Bidwell said.

"In terms of construction employment, the residential and commercial sectors have also experienced growth, with some trades even reporting shortages, which is an issue we'll keep a close eye on as building activity increases."

HRM Contracting and Consulting Manager for Sunshine Coast Sally Desch said 2016 had been buoyant across numerous job sectors. 

"There has been an increase in employers looking for staff ranging from unskilled workers through to professional staff," she said. 

"We recently had a situation where we didn't have enough tax accountants to fill the local demand vacancies. We also had strong recruiting demand for doctors.  

"High business confidence, development on the Coast and the ever-growing talent pool we have here is driving this positive trend and I believe we are on the cusp of really good things to come in 2017. 

"I see more positivity and more recruitment and roles becoming available.  

"The Sunshine Coast is also definitely growing which is driving the confidence in health and construction and some of the big players are looking at the area to house their businesses." 

Recent ABS data also revealed Sunshine Coast employers were likely to have grown their business over the past five years, with the proportion of employers who are increasing their staff numbers doubling from 14% in 2011 to 28% in 2016.   

Mayor Jamieson welcomed the latest figures, saying the foundations for a positive economic future were in place.  

"One of the greatest gifts any level of government can give to its community is confidence and the high business confidence and lowering unemployment we're seeing on the Sunshine Coast is certainly encouraging to mums and dads that their children have bright futures here," he said. 

"Our population of young Coast residents is growing and Sunshine Coast Council has a responsibility to put the pieces in place that will help them gain future employment and careers locally.

"Our region is already seeing some fantastic results, being recognised as one of the strongest performing regional economies in Queensland, the highest levels of business confidence and a record decline in unemployment to below that of Queensland." 



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