Tasmanian construction boss Tim Mead says he has never seen it this busy, but a year ago, the situation was different.
The Mead Con managing director said he shared the renewed economic optimism expressed by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Mr Frydenberg was in Launceston and Devonport talking up the positive turnaround in the state's economy; he said it was thanks to his government's COVID-19 assistance programs such as JobKeeper and the HomeBuilder scheme creating a pipeline of work for the nation's tradies.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"It was not that rosy at this time last year and certainly towards April when for our 70 staff the work dropped off, and the businesses closed up, and when we couldn't have the people on the sites, it was tough," Mr Mead said.
"Thankfully, we were able to get JobKeeper, and we were able to hold onto those staff through that period. By the middle to the latter part of the year, the tenders started to come out, and it was a lot rosier, and we were able to pick up work and retain our staff and the good people we have got around us.
"We've seen a dramatic turnaround through that middle period of last year to where we are now. We went from scrambling for work to where we're turning it away."
Mr Mead said the boost was due to infrastructure building projects and the massive take-up on the HomeBuilder assistance scheme in Tasmania.
"With 2500 applications in HomeBuilder in Tasmania, I think we only build that many homes in a year generally across the State, so there are undoubtedly busy times ahead," he said.
"With the volume of work and the number of jobs we have, it's going to take 18 months to two years to get through that work."
Mr Frydenberg called Mead Con "a graduate of JobKeeper," no longer requiring income support and was going from strength to strength.
He said it was good to hear Mead Con employed 14 apprentices and had taken on four new apprentices this year with the benefit of the 50 per cent wage subsidy. "This is a real strength across the country where the jobs are coming back, particularly in the construction industry, and Mead Con is involved in residential and commercial construction," he said.
Mr Frydenberg said 35,000 people in Tasmania either lost jobs or saw their working hours reduced at the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
He said the state's unemployment rate was 8.2 per cent last year the highest in the nation and had now fallen to 5.9 per cent, to be the lowest.
Mr Frydenberg rejected criticism the government's $50 a fortnight rise in JobKeeper payments was too low. He said it was the single largest increase since 1986.
However, asked if it was enough to support people out of work, given 17 job applicants for every job vacancy in Tasmania, he said the focus was on creating jobs.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Follow us on Google News: The Examiner
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.