Qld’s heavy CAPEX pipeline dominated by public sector projects

First, thankfully the Queensland Government will lift the Brisbane-Moreton lockdown at 6pm tonight, although the threat of future lockdowns remains, making it challenging to plan anything over the next couple of months. I’m really hoping the COVID spread is contained and we don’t have another lockdown, because we don’t want to risk the economic recovery any more. A report from the Property Council and ANZ highlights just how positive things have been looking, as reported by John McCarthy at In Queensland: Employers see big problems with the state’s booming economy (i.e. the big problem is shortages of skilled employees, reportedly).

Certainly there appears to be a lot of positive sentiment in the construction industry around the pick up in planned public sector projects over the last year or so, as illustrated by the engineering/heavy construction work yet to be done (as at March 2021) data released by the ABS earlier this week (see chart below). In the three largest states, the infrastructure pipeline (i.e. engineering construction work yet to be done) is dominated by public sector projects (e.g. Brisbane’s Cross River Rail). Nationwide the the disparity isn’t as great due to what must be a reasonable amount of engineering construction work yet to be done for the private sector (most likely for the mining sector) in either WA or the NT (for which all the detailed data aren’t available, alas, so I can’t produce a chart). Nationwide, the infrastructure pipeline for private sector projects is $32 billion compared with $35 billion for the public sector according to my calculations.

A chart showing engineering construction work yet to be done has stepped up in the major states due to a pick up in work yet to be done for the public sector.

As always, I’ll note:

  • Queensland’s engineering construction work yet to be done is far below what it was early last decade when Bechtel was building the $70 billion worth of LNG processing facilities on Curtis Island, off Gladstone; and
  • the state government really should review whether any of its policies, regulations, or processes are holding up much need private sector capital investment in Queensland.

Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to contact@queenslandeconomywatch.com.

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