Business fights downturn woes

TIMES are tough and that means businesses are becoming more frugal, reining in the dollars to keep their businesses going.

Masters Engineering and Cooloola Crane Hire managing director Tony Rendell knows what he needs to do to keep his company viable and, although he had to let five casual staff go, knows it was the best move to ensure the business' other 50 employees will still have a job.

He said in this economic climate, like any company in Gympie, he had to tighten the belt but the business was not going as bad as rumours had recently suggested.

Mr Rendell said someone had a vendetta against the company and had spread rumours over the last three to four weeks that it was going into receivership, but those whispers were entirely based on fiction.

“We are experiencing troubled times but our crane side is increasing. We are still opening and trading strongly,” he said.

“The rumours are unfounded...There aren't too many large companies in the area that haven't (laid off some staff).”

Mr Rendell said a few of his major customers such as Laminex, Carter Holt Harvey and J. Smith and Sons had also experienced a slow in business which led to less jobs for Masters Engineering, although he had sourced work from around the nation.

He said the mining and building industry contributed to 90 per cent of his business and those were the industries that had been hit hardest by the economic downturn.

But Mr Rendell said business was going so well that he was due to take delivery of three new cranes this month and had just secured a long-term contract on the Sunshine Coast for their use.

This financial year Masters Engineering have about $1 million of work lined up and have just finished a $500,000 project in Sydney and according to Mr Rendell the business is a long way from shutting its doors.

He said he had just secured a job in West Australia and there was “a fair bit” of works in progress.

J Smith and Sons managing director and chairman of the Australian Industry Engineering Manufacturing Network (AIEM) Kerren Smith said his business had experienced a 40 - 45 per cent downturn but he is confident the industry will pick up.

J Smith and Sons supply trailers to the mining, car carrying and heavy haulage industry and work in the mining sector has stopped. Mr Smith said the car carrying industry was in limbo due to a reduction in car sales, although the heavy haulage business was going well.

Since the downturn, J Smith and Sons has had to cancel about 40 subcontracting jobs in the Wide Bay area, although it was able to maintain employees in the Gympie factory.

Mr Smith said unemployment would rise in the next six-nine months, but believed the worst was almost over and predicted mining would bounce back in the next nine-12 months.

“Should the dam and highway go ahead would recession proof this community,” he said. “The sooner we get an answer the better.”

Gympie Times

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