Whit­sun­days will never be the same

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

CON­FI­DENCE in the Whit­sun­day build­ing sec­tor could be re­stored to lev­els not seen since be­fore the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis.

Ray White prin­ci­pal Mark Beale says while Cy­clone Deb­bie has had a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect, there will be a “sil­ver lin­ing” for some busi­nesses.

“It will take us some­where back to the days where town was full of peo­ple post GFC, it won’t get quite there at this stage but over the next five years,” he said.

“(And) once the new town plan comes into ac­tion in June that will hope­fully stim­u­late more de­vel­op­ment and cre­ate more jobs.”

The Whit­sun­day build­ing in­dus­try once ri­valled tourism as one of the dom­i­nant job sec­tors in the re­gion.

While the sec­tor is no longer sec­ond to tourism, Colony Homes di­rec­tor Clif­ford Hill thinks the dam­age left by Cy­clone Deb­bie will fire up de­vel­op­ment.

“The Whit­sun­days will never be the same again, it’s go­ing to fire up from now on, mainly be­cause we have (more than $1 bil­lion of dam­age) through the re­gion,” he said.

“There is a lot of dam­age and re­pair work, it will prob­a­bly take two to three years to get through it all.”

Mr Hill de­scribed the first six weeks since Cy­clone Deb­bie hit as “quiet” but said ac­tiv­ity was start­ing to pick up.

“Six weeks since the cy­clone we’ve gone quiet but its a tran­si­tional pe­riod, in the last two to three days there has been a bit more en­quiry," he said.

“What’s hap­pen­ing right now is that a lot of quot­ing is go­ing on and a lot of those jobs have been al­lo­cated and we are go­ing to see an in­flux of trades­men com­ing into the area.”

With the mar­ket soft­en­ing in big cities, Mr Hill pre­dicts there will be strong de­mand for full-time trade work­ers to re­turn to North Queens­land.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

THUMBS UP: Clif­ford Hill thinks there is good news ahead for the build­ing in­dus­try.

BOLD: Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner pushed for BAS and GST re­quire­ments to be waived for one quar­ter.

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