Con­struc­tion will be ’fir­ing’

The Weekend Post - - Views -

IT’S of no surprise that the Far North faces a crit­i­cal con­struc­tion in­dus­try staffing shortage.

Af­ter the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008-09 many of our skilled trades­peo­ple left the re­gion to get work else­where.

Hous­ing con­struc­tion slowed and there was lit­tle com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity.

Many had hinged their hopes on the pro­posed multi-bil­lion dol­lar Aquis in­te­grated re­sort and casino at Yorkeys Knob.

Aspial’s Nova tow­ers in the CBD were on the hori­zon, but there was noth­ing con­crete.

Then, out of the blue, came Syr­ian bil­lion­aire Ghas­san Aboud, who not only talked about $500m of in­vest­ment, but started con­struc­tion on three ho­tel sites in the CBD and is eye­ing off a fourth.

Tradies came back to town while oth­ers, who were driv­ing taxis and do­ing other work, pulled their work belts out of the back shed and re­turned to the tools.

But the up­take of ap­pren­tices has failed to keep pace with the resur­gence in the sec­tor.

A Con­struc­tion Skills Queens­land re­port says in the com­ing year “con­struc­tion will be fir­ing on all cylin­ders”.

“Em­ploy­ment in the in­dus­try has re­cently jumped amid the grow­ing work­load on of­fer, out­pac­ing growth in ap­pren­tice­ships.

“The pick-up in ac­tiv­ity across all sec­tors leaves trades­peo­ple in high de­mand and an ex­pected labour shortage through the medium term.”

The re­port shows 10,200 peo­ple in the con­struc­tion sec­tor in the Far North but just 760 ap­pren­tices.

It sug­gests age­ing work­ers hav­ing to work longer while fewer staff will be do­ing more work to meet short­falls.

Nick Dal­ton Deputy editor

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