The stark assessment of Australia’s housing industry being the worst in a decade by CSR, was backed up today by the collapse of another building company, St Hilliers Construction, putting jobs and many public housing and construction works at risk.

Administrators were called in after St Hilliers Construction was unable to secure $150 million in funds from its lenders for the expansion of Ararat Prison in central Victoria.

CSR, which makes Gyprock plasterboard, Bradford insulation batts and PGH bricks and pavers, has forecast a further fall in the already weak housing construction activity in the next 12 months.
“Excluding the global financial crisis and the introduction of the GST, this represents the lowest level of housing activity in the past 15 years,” the company said. CSR still managed to make a profit of $76.3 million in the year to the end of March, its best result since selling off its sugar business. Managing director Rob Sindel said he believed the industry would improve in the long term, particularly once consumer confidence picked up.
More interest rate cuts would help, he said.

The troubles at St Hilliers Construction is just another tale of woe in the building industry, after Kell & Rigby was wound up in April.

The Sydney-based company owed millions to businesses and its employees after being unable to pay its bills for more than three years.
Kell & Rigby has since been bought by another construction firm, Ganellen, and employees are to receive just 24 cents in every dollar owed to them.

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