Hyne Timber’s Power St warehouse lies empty after the company closed its Rockhampton operation.
Hyne Timber’s Power St warehouse lies empty after the company closed its Rockhampton operation. Chris Ison

Home maker shuts doors

ONE of Australia's largest timber suppliers is quitting Rockhampton with the parting shot that there isn't enough new home building in the region to justify staying.

Peter Hyne, joint chief executive of Maryborough-based Hyne Timber, said the housing market had been flat for so long, and showed no signs of recovery, that there was no point in keeping its North Rockhampton warehouse open.

Workers were expected to finish clearing out the company's premises in Power St today. Mr Hyne said the Rockhampton warehouse had stopped trading but the region would continue to be served direct from the sawmill in Maryborough.

"The main reason is the economic climate. We have 12 wholesale distributors up and down the east coast and we are rationalising our footprint.

"With the Rockhampton lease up for re-negotiation we simply could not justify staying.

"There's been a downturn in the home building market in many places and it is very soft throughout Queensland. Our business is hooked into new housing and there's not enough activity in the Rockhampton region."

Mr Hyne's comments echo those of Mayor Brad Carter who has challenged developers to make things happen and stimulate construction. He's concerned that, although there are nearly 15,000 lots zoned and approved in Rockhampton, Gracemere and the Capricorn Coast, only a small fraction have been developed in recent years.

House building in the region peaked in 2007, when more than 1200 were constructed, but last year the number had plunged to less than 400. In the first 11 months of 2011 the council ticked off 463 homes, with Gracemere leading the way.

But according to the State Government, the region needs nearly double that number each year for the next 20 years to meet demand and the projected population growth.



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