GOOD VIBES State reaps re­ward of city build­ing boom

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - SIMEON THOMAS-WIL­SON and JES­SICA HOWARD

MA­JOR con­struc­tion projects are pro­ceed­ing at record lev­els in Tas­ma­nia and the Master Builders group says it is a bil­lion-dol­lar boom set to bring huge ben­e­fits to the state.

Five cranes cur­rently dom­i­nate the Ho­bart sky­line, en­abling work on projects such as the Royal Ho­bart Hos­pi­tal re­de­vel­op­ment, Par­lia­ment Square, Myer and a UTAS per­form­ing arts cen­tre.

“Com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity for us has never been as high,” Master Builders Tas­ma­nia executive director Michael Ker­schbaum said.

“We are em­ploy­ing around 12,000 Tas­ma­ni­ans as a re­sult of this boom ... we are do­ing fab­u­lously.”

It’‘

s been a great last few years and it looks like it won’t slow down any time soon MASTER BUILDERS TAS­MA­NIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MICHAEL KER­SCHBAUM

COM­MER­CIAL build­ing and con­struc­tion in Tas­ma­nia is at record lev­els, Master Builders Tas­ma­nia executive director Michael Ker­schbaum says.

With the in­dus­try pre­dicted to con­tinue its rapid growth, Mr Ker­schbaum said if the state could in­crease its rate of pop­u­la­tion growth to na­tional lev­els, then it could take full ad­van­tage of the boom.

There are cur­rently five cranes dot­ting the Ho­bart sky­line work­ing on de­vel­op­ments to­talling more than $1 bil­lion.

Pre­mier Will Hodg­man trum­peted the suc­cess story on so­cial me­dia last week and the pos­i­tive vibe has con­tin­ued as Ho­bart this week­end hosts the Master Builders Aus­tralia 2017 Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

“Com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity for us has never been as high,” Mr Ker­schbaum said. “We are em­ploy­ing around 12,000 Tas­ma­ni­ans as a re­sult of this boom, and per­cent­age wise it has us as the biggest em­ployer per sec­tor.

“It’s been a great last few years and it looks like it won’t slow down any time soon.”

De­mog­ra­pher Bernard Salt, a guest speaker at the con­fer­ence, said with the growth in pop­u­la­tion around the world, the con­struc­tion in­dus­try was set for rapid ex­pan­sion.

“He told us that the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try is set to grow rapidly in the fu­ture,” Mr Ker­schbaum said. “He said it is set to be one of the biggest sec­tors in Aus­tralia, en­joy­ing about 30 per cent growth, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

Mr Ker­schbaum said en­sur­ing the na­tional boom was repli­cated in Tas­ma­nia was about en­sur­ing a suc­cess­ful pop­u­la­tion growth strat­egy.

“Vic­to­ria is go­ing nuts, but if we can get near the na­tional av­er­age then we stand a good chance,” he said.

Ho­bart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said the pos­i­tiv­ity among busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity was pal­pa­ble.

“I can’t see this stop­ping for some time — there are a cou­ple more big projects in the pipe­line too, such as the Odeon re­de­vel­op­ment,” she said. “Business is more con­fi­dent too be­cause ev­ery tradie needs a toasted sand­wich and a cof­fee or some­thing like that.”

She said next on her wish­list would be a large con­ven­tion cen­tre and more ac­com­mo­da­tion in the back­packer and af­ford­able mar­ket.

Tas­ma­nian Small Business Coun­cil CEO Robert Mal­lett said the sight of sev­eral cranes in the Ho­bart sky­line sent a pos­i­tive wave through the business sec­tor.

While the re­tail sec­tor is strug­gling for growth and some small busi­nesses are do­ing it tough, he said the clear ev­i­dence of big business and gov­ern­ment will­ing to in­vest mil­lions in Tas­ma­nia had a flow-on ef­fect.

“Over­all, what this does is give us in the small business sec­tor a sense of se­cu­rity and a sense that there is con­fi­dence out there, that good things are hap­pen­ing, and if we hang in there for a bit longer then we will see the ben­e­fit of that,” Mr Mal­lett said.

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