WATTERS Electrical is using a trend-bucking boost in the regional construction sector to bounce back from the dark days of mid-2012 when parent company, Hastie Group, went bust.
District tradesmen were among 80 people who lost their jobs in the $500 million Hastie collapse two years ago.
But under the direction of its original owners, Watters is experiencing a resurgence with 14 people recruited since January, taking its workforce in Albury to about 60, and it’s still growing.
It has secured work on two major local construction jobs — the $70 million Albury-Wodonga cancer centre and a $61 million defence warehouse project at Wadsworth Barracks.
The barracks job at Bandiana is generating 300 jobs.
Both projects are due for completion next year.
Watters Electrical is the principal supplier of electrical and data services at Bandiana and will install electrical, data and security services at the cancer centre.
It is also doing upgrades on the generator and main switchboard at Albury hospital where the cancer centre is being built.
The Bandiana warehouse will stretch over 20,000 square metres —the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Albury-based Watters Electrical spokesman Gavin DeMarinis said the company would have a peak workforce of up to 40 on the cancer centre project and 30 more at Bandiana.
“We’re definitely on the bounce back from where we were,” Mr DeMarinis said.
The positive outlook locally comes against a backdrop of another slip in construction nationally last month.
The performance of construction index, conducted by the Australian Industry Group and the Housing Industry Association index, recorded its fourth straight month of contraction last month with a drop of 0.3 points to 45.9 — still below the 50-point level that is the difference between expansion and contraction.
House building rose 3.8 points to 54.6 and apartment building was 12.3 points stronger to 57.9. Commercial construction dropped 10.8 points to 45.7.
Watters has moved from Bennu Circuit to North Street since the Hastie collapse.