Matthew Ruckert working in the factory at Rockhampton's Kawana Kitchens, where prospects are rosy.
Matthew Ruckert working in the factory at Rockhampton's Kawana Kitchens, where prospects are rosy. Allan Reinikka

Boomtime signs showing for Rocky

ROCKHAMPTON'S long-awaited and much-anticipated building boom could be under way, new figures have revealed.

In the three months to the end of November, there were 88 building approvals - a rise of 100% on the same period in 2010.

And while that number might appear modest it has to be viewed in the context of what's happening elsewhere in the State.

Gladstone is the only other region where the number of approvals is growing.

After surviving an extended lean period the region's builders and associated trades can look forward to a golden future according to the Housing Industry Association's Rockhampton spokesman Joshua Tranberg.

"Gladstone is already running at capacity while here in Rockhampton median house prices are still average or below average so people should jump in now to cash in.

"In the next five years there will be a dramatic expansion in housing here," he said.

Mr Tranberg said Gracemere was already booming and there were not many spare blocks in Rockhampton.

Gavin Zielke, manager of Rockhampton cabinet maker Kawana Kitchens, was even more enthusiastic yesterday.

"There is solid evidence now that the region is moving forward, bucking the Queensland trend," he said. .

"It's an indication of the strength of the region. People are investing and the future looks bright.

"The last three months of 2011 were extremely busy for us and 2012 has started very strongly.

"The building approvals indicate that people are thinking about doing something and that's very encouraging."

He said the lack of opportunities in other parts of the State was likely to draw rivals to Rockhampton to take advantage of the boom.

"Bring it on. I don't mind competition and certainly don't feel threatened by it."

Mayor Brad Carter, who a few months ago criticised developers for failing to turn approvals into bricks and mortar, said yesterday all the signs from the local industry were very positive.

"There is construction activity and a very confident outlook. Investor confidence is strong, stable and solid."

Denis Keeffe, the chief executive of the CQ NRL Bid, seized on the news with relish.

"For the last six months we have undertaken a detailed analysis of business prospects for the region and I think it is fair to say we are on the cusp of a boom that will last for 30 or even 50 years," he said.

"We aren't going to get an opportunity like this again so we have to be smart enough to take advantage of it."

He said all the indications were that the boom was starting, with workers moving to the region from other parts of the country.

"It's going to be the most productive period in Central Queensland's history in my opinion," he said.

The Housing Industry Association figures suggest Rockhampton and Gladstone were growing faster than all other parts of the State.

Dwelling approvals were flat in Mackay and down by 30% or more in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Bundaberg and Townsville.



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