Andrew Porter from Stirling Homes and Jeanne Borchert of UHL helping to provide affordable housing in Gympie.
Andrew Porter from Stirling Homes and Jeanne Borchert of UHL helping to provide affordable housing in Gympie. Renee Pilcher

Gympie business is 'going gangbusters'

SOMETIMES everyone really is a winner, even in the highly competitive and economically stressed construction sector.

Proof is not hard to find in Gympie, according to Gympie businessman Gene Farrelly.

At his Mary St desk this week, Mr Farrelly told the happy success story of a mix of skills and services which enables him to do the work he loves, "make a quid" and help people.

And, he said, business is "going gangbusters".

"We've got 113 big builds at the moment, most in Toowoomba, but about 20 or so in Gympie".

It is a refreshing story in hard times, one that comes about through the non-profit role of his firm, United Housing Limited, in co-ordinating the services of a range of other associated private companies, the United Group.

"We work with private, corporate and government parties to provide Queensland communities with sustainable and affordable housing," he said.

He is particularly keen on the near-Gympie area, which he says is considered one of Queensland's extremely housing stressed locations.

Mr Farrelly started out in commercial and development finance at the Gold Coast and one day thought he could do better than arranging other people's profits.

Now CEO and managing director of UHL, he says the project has proved that good motives and genuine relationships can work.

"Big charitable aspirations" join with a philosophy of development projects that connect with the community.

"It is not just developing for development's sake.

"We are committed to building appropriate, sustainable living environments and creating win-win situations," he said.

The United Group has an unusually effective range of integrated business divisions, with a licensed real estate agency, a finance brokerage, project management, development and marketing and property management.

A brilliant win-win example he says, is the National Rental Affordability Scheme, in which the federal government offers $10,000 a year tax free for 10 years, to landlords who will offer a 20% rental discount, promoting construction of rental accommodation and providing realistic help for low income earners - all at a fraction of the normally expected cost to taxpayers.

"It's the best government initiative I've seen," he said.

"It's an amazing scheme".

To date, United has built and delivered 15 NRAS properties in the Gympie area and has another 12 under constructions.

All are being built by Gympie builder Stirling Homes.

With finalisation of other projects at Eumundi. Burpengary, Narangba and Townsville, UHL will have delivered well over 100 NRAS properties into the Queensland affordable housing sector in the past two years, as well as 10 in Bendigo.

Gympie Times


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