IN a stark reminder of how Warrnambool’s construction industry confidence has been dented, a city council report shows a $21.6 million slump in the value of building permits.
Figures for June, July and August this year show 107 permits were issued for projects valued at $12.2 million, while for the same period last year there were 161 permits valued at $33.8 million.
In the residential sector there was a 37 per cent fall in permit numbers, while project value was down $3.17 million. The council’s own building services department recorded a 30 per cent fall in the number of residential permits, but a $340,000 gain in project value.
The biggest slump was for commercial project approvals by private operators, which were down in value $18.4 million and 15 per cent in numbers, while the council’s department approvals for commercial jobs were the same number as last year, with a $372,529 rise in value.
City growth manager Bill Millard told last night’s city council meeting the steady economic decline in recent years was affecting residential and commercial markets.
“Things are very tough,” he said. “The recent business confidence survey showed lower confidence levels, which is a reflection of what’s happening in other parts of Australia. It’s pretty dour, I’d have to say.”
His report also showed a one per cent rise in the unemployment rate for the June quarter to six per cent.