QLD construction pipeline balloons to ‘resources-level’ $71 billion
Queensland is set to benefit from a growing pipeline of major project investment as rail, road, energy and water projects will see $71.3 billion of works undertaken across Queensland in the next five years, according to the Queensland Major Projects Pipeline Report released today by Queensland Major Contractors Association and Construction Skills Queensland.
QMCA CEO Andrew Chapman outlined the state’s future pipeline, “This year’s major project pipeline has returned to levels not seen since the resources boom in 2012. However, the pipeline is more balanced with various projects across diverse industries and locations, minimising the risk of another boom-and-bust period.”
“Across the sector, planned investment has increased, funded project activity has increased to over $37 billion, and the pipeline will peak in FY23/24 with a predicted investment of $19 billion. As a sector, we are confident that the pipeline will continue to grow as new opportunities become realised, particularly across emerging energy sectors as hydrogen, rare earth minerals, and renewables projects receive funding and approvals, and defence investment increases to support new strategic partnerships. And that is before we factor in projects that urgently need fast-tracking to support the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
“Delivering the pipeline will pose challenges for the industry, government and private clients with capacity, capability, costs, and carbon major factors determining success. As a state, our pipeline is healthy, but it is vital to remember that we are competing for talent, materials, and resources on a national and international scale, with New South Wales ($112bn) and Victoria ($144bn) having significantly greater pipelines that Queensland.”
Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) has used workforce modelling to estimate the workforce size and the nature of the skills needed to deliver the large civil pipeline.
“CSQ modelling indicates up to 16,200 construction workers could be required on average from now out to 2026/27,” said CSQ CEO Brett Schimming.
“This includes skilled trades, professionals and unskilled labour,” he said.
“Most worker demand will be in regional and remote Queensland, accounting for an estimated 60% to 80% of the construction labour footprint.”
“Queensland’s civil construction sector is already facing a $16.3bn portfolio of unfinished projects. This is the highest point since the mining boom ended, and 55% higher than pre-pandemic, with most of this publicly funded.
“Despite demand soaring, civil construction employment remains 20% below pre-pandemic levels, suggesting a current shortfall of at least 10,000 civil workers.
“The industry is experiencing significant labour shortages following the pandemic’s impact on migration.
“Tens of thousands of skilled migrants entered Queensland annually pre-COVID and thousands of these were then absorbed by the construction sector.
“These migrants are nowhere to be seen even since we’ve reopened – and we estimate we’re now missing around 130,000 skilled workers in Queensland since the pandemic began.
“We can no longer rely on these flows in future; it’s time to explore more sustainable strategies like ‘growing our own’ talent,” he concluded.
To see the full report form QMCA, click the link below.