Construction slump hits rural communities as good seasons boost demand

How long would you wait for a builder?

Builders across the country got very busy, very quickly when the federal government’s HomeBuilder program was announced amid the pandemic in 2020.

For rural communities, like Goondiwindi in South Queensland, the influx of construction jobs coincided with rain that broke the worst drought on record and brought about good season after good season.

So the farmers had money to spend.

But with residential construction busier than ever, the motivation for builders to travel out of town for agricultural jobs has disappeared.

Toobeah builder Mckanah Gibson said he focused on rural contracts from his base south of Goondiwindi.

“I’ve probably got 12 months of work ahead of me, not getting any more quotes or anything like that,” Gibson said.

“I don’t think you’ll find any builders in this area of ​​Goondiwindi who don’t have 12 months of work ahead of them.

“I’m trying to get more [tradespeople] but no one is available. Everyone is so busy. »

Builder Scott Jackson has never seen him so busy.(ABC Rural: Alys Marshall)

Goondiwindi builder Scott Jackson said he had never seen the town’s construction industry so busy in his 25 years in the trade.

“It’s tough because we try to keep everyone happy because they’ve looked after us so well over the years,” he said.

Unprecedented price increases

Mr Jackson said he was trying to juggle price hikes and material supply delays while taking into account his year-long waiting list.

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