The fight for the future begins

FROM the $120 million Viridian Resort in Noosa to $30 million in school projects, construction company Matrix is now looking to the public sector for contracts.

Director Peter Burt says Matrix is getting involved with the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution (BER), as well as a number of other public sector projects in the wake of the downturn in the private construction industry.

“We started to focus on the public sector three years ago and with the current downturn it’s been good for us because we’ve been able to start a number of government projects,” says Burt.

“The traditional market for us has been development projects but private clients have dried up and until they return we’re focusing on small to medium term projects.

“We’ve got nine or 10 schools that we’ve started on or are about to start, plus some private schools, valued at around $2 million to $3 million each.”

Burt points out that for most companies in the industry, credit from the banks has virtually ground to a halt and put a dent in the company’s operations, leaving the director concerned for the future.

“Revenue was $150 million or more and in 09/10 it could be in that order – probably will grow on last year. But the following year (2011) is looking uncertain, it’s a bit of an unknown.

“It’s early days and we’re looking after our projects and waiting to see how the market unfolds.

Other projects Matrix is working on include the Mareeba Police Station, public housing projects in Brisbane, a hospital project in Cairns, as well as another aged care facility in north Queensland.

With 100 staff, Burt claims not only to be keeping people employed but Matrix has actually added staff, to keep up with projects generated by the BER.

While the company has started early operations to scope out opportunities in the Asian market, director John Davies says that after 20 years Matrix will continue its focus on Queensland.

“There’s a lot to be said for sticking to your netting,” says Davies.

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