The key finding of this Report is that major project work has risen by 58% in 2017/2018 to $6.9 billion after two successive years of low activity. Subject to level of funding commitments for 22 credibly proposed projects, activity in 2018/2019 is forecast to be retained at a similar level. However, recovery in activity may be short-lived and decline again in 2019/2020 due to an identified lack of viable replacement projects.
Maintaining recent momentum is therefore the core challenge facing the state, requiring a range of initiatives to improve levels of funding for infrastructure, ensure capability and capacity to manage a growing pipeline and, fundamentally, provide positive conditions and frameworks that support the economy’s growth engines: public and private investment. Given rising major project activity in other states, and the need to provide infrastructure to meet growing demand in Queensland, governments need to consider how they can raise additional funding for infrastructure projects, accelerate existing projects or stimulate private investment. Maintaining a stable and mildly growing pipeline of major project work from here will not only support economic growth and the sustainability of the major projects industry, but importantly will likely cost the government much less than if the projects were undertaken later in the cycle or in a more heated environment.
Industry can feel more confident about investing in new equipment, productivity enhancing initiatives and skills development if they are given reasonable lead times to prepare in the form of a clear, long-term major projects pipeline – and if governments and procuring agencies implement supportive policies.
This year’s Report provides a comprehensive list of major project work, together with analysis on the corresponding level of construction activity this entails and the subsequent demand for skilled construction labour. This analysis is based on both the completion of existing projects and the likelihood of potential projects proceeding. A complete list of major projects considered for this analysis, and the explicit assumptions for each project regarding work done and construction workforces employed each year, are provided in the Appendix at the end of this report.
As well as presenting the pipeline, the Report discusses the key economic settings where major project activity is taking place, for Queensland and Australia, together with global trends.