Generic photo of man building a house.
Generic photo of man building a house.

Does the local building industry require stimulus?

DIRECT cash grants for home renovations are expected to be the cornerstone of a multibillion-dollar building stimulus package the government is set to announce in a bid to rescue the housing construction ­industry and save tens of thousands of jobs.

So, how is the Northern Rivers building industry faring?

There are mixed reports.

Ballina Shire Council has been inundated with development applications - an indication of a healthy industry.

Ballina’s mayor David Wright said the industry was strong, with large developments under way at Lennox Head and Skennars Head.

“I don’t know about every single builder but there’s a lot of land being developed,” Cr Wright said.

He said government stimulus would help elderly people who need alterations to their homes, and local shops that stock building materials.

“The reason most of our shops are doing okay is that builders still have employment,” Cr Wright said.

“A lot of elderly people would benefit from putting in disabled facilities.”

Ben Lynch who specialises in kitchens and cabinetry in Lismore said the workload hasn’t dropped off amid the global pandemic.

“We haven’t been struggling for work,” Mr Lynch said.

“From what I know everyone’s going pretty well but I do know a few people who felt the initial impact.”

Meanwhile, Sherilee Matthews from Lickiss Fabrications in Lismore expects the workload to decline in the coming months.

Her company supplies glass and aluminium products to the area.

“What we’re seeing is a downturn, but it’s not too bad, a lot of the builders had work going already,” Ms Matthews said.

“We’re not quoting as much as we used to.

“The fear is when the work runs out, when JobKeeper finishes, that’s when we might be hit the hardest.”

Ms Matthews, who has retained all of her staff, welcomed the prospect of economic stimulus for the industry.

“Any stimulus would help builders, that’s a good thing, quotes are not coming through like they used to,” she said.

The package is due to be signed off this week by cabinet’s­ ­expenditure review committee.