Bunnings closes store
THE giant Bunnings Trade Centre in the Industry Central industrial estate at Murwillumbah is to be closed as the downturn in the Tweed's construction industry sends shockwaves through the rest of the local economy.
The centre specifically serves trades people such as professional builders, plumbers and others and has been a centrepiece of the new industrial estate.
Tweed Mayor Kevin Skinner yesterday said the closure was yet more proof how badly tradespeople in the Tweed were hurting, with some having to travel into central Queensland for work.
However, Bunnings management is insisting the closure of the huge complex, opened with fanfare and optimism about the Tweed economy just over two years ago, is simply part of a re-adjustment.
Bunnings acting general manager for trade Jason O'Hagan said the Bunnings Murwillumbah Trade Centre would be “relocating and will now operate out of the Northern NSW and Gold Coast store network”.
“We are committed to improving our trade offer and delivering the lowest prices, widest range and best service to our customers,” Mr O'Hagan said.
“All current team members at the Murwillumbah Trade Centre will be relocated to stores within the Northern NSW and Gold Coast network.”
The complex was officially opened on May 28, 2009.
Nine months earlier, announcing the decision to open the centre in the Industry Central industrial estate, Bunnings general manager Matthew Toohey said the complex would be built as part of his com-pany's plans to roll out new stores across Australia, along with “dedicated trade centres to cater to the professional builder market”.
Cr Skinner, who lost a battle to convince other councillors last week to fast-track a rezoning to allow expansion of the Tweed City shopping centre, which he argued would be a boost to the construction industry, described the closure as “another blow”.
“I'm not surprised,” Cr Skinner added.
“It's a sign of the times.”
“I ran into a carpenter at a citizenship ceremony yesterday who's got no work here.
“He's been travelling up to Gladstone.
“Carpenters are never out of work, but here they just can't get work.
“It has a ripple effect.
“A long-time surveyor told me it was the first time he can remember getting up on Monday mornings and not having three or four urgent jobs.
“It's a lot worse than people realise.”