Record infrastructure boom to create new opportunities for business

Australia’s spending on major infrastructure projects is at record levels and expected to keep growing, creating new jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

Australia’s spending on major infrastructure projects is at record levels and expected to keep growing, creating new jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

A report by independent infrastructure adviser Infrastructure Australia estimates spending on major projects will double within the next three years, peaking at $52 billion in 2023.

The industry itself is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 33%, the report found, with demand for materials tipped to average 120% in the next three years, while average growth in demand for equipment and plants are predicted to lift 125% and 140% respectively.

At those rates of growth, demand for materials, equipment and plants in the next few years are anticipated to be two-thirds higher than the previous five years.

Although this should create new jobs and new opportunities for local businesses, Infrastructure Australia cautioned there could be some associated growing pains that governments would need to address.

Chiefly among these is a potential labour shortfall, with as many as one in every three advertised jobs possibly going unfilled.

“In mid 2023, the employment in the infrastructure sector will need to grow from 183,000 people today to more than 288,000,” Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew said.

“This presents an opportunity for further employment, but there is also a risk these roles will be unfilled.

Ms Madew noted the potential shortfall in jobs being filled could be more than 105,000.

“This research further underscores the need for a coordinated project pipeline to manage capacity constraints and provide confidence and certainty for both industry and government. While infrastructure investment is rightfully a key component of our national COVID-19 recovery, we need to ensure we are equipped to deliver this once-in-a-generation infrastructure spend.”

Ms Madew said governments should consider active portfolio and pipeline management to smooth out the construction of new assets, as well as develop strategies to attract private investment and better manage resources.

Embedding digital practices, increasing collaboration with industry and improving front-end engineering would also help manage the rapid expansion of the industry and roll-out of new projects, she said.


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