Building boom a boon
THE future is finally looking bright for Central Queensland turf farmer Andy Cooper.
After losing more than $200,000 during the 2010-11 floods and being struck down by leptospirosis, he is able to smile again, on the back of the Central Queensland construction boom.
Not one to look at the world as glass half empty, he has been supplying turf for huge housing developments in Gracemere and in Zilzie Bay.
Working with Rudy Trifunovic, regional manager for national construction company Homecorp, Mr Cooper has been supplying the turf for hundreds of front and back yards around the region.
Mr Trifunovic said the company was about to complete more than 300 homes in Zilzie Bay, Gracemere and Gladstone.
Mr Cooper said 29 were already finished in Gracemere, as part of a new estate that would build another 50 houses in the area.
He said: "After the floods, this has been a huge job for us to do; it's been a god-send for getting us back on our feet.
"We've been supplying the turf, and Rudy's been getting the houses built.
"It's a great thing for the construction industry here, but also for Gracemere itself.
"Gracemere is growing so much - I think with the new houses, it has really justified the need for the new shopping centre, and it only reinforces the need for a new high school in Gracemere."
After working in the region for just three years, Mr Trifunovic said he would be here for a long time, helping to build new communities to house resource industry workers.
He said: "I think it's a case of build it and they will come.
"What we are creating here at Gracemere and in Zilzie Bay is a growing community, it not only helps grow this area, but it will help to ease the housing pressures in places like Gladstone."
Mr Cooper said that the huge increase in construction work in the region had been a boon for his business, helping to revive it after the floods a year ago.