Tuesday, July 28, 2009

See that crane on the skyline?

Private-sector infrastructure development has as good as stopped, with all but 14 of the new projects announced in the past three months government-funded - the lowest number of new private projects on record.

Access Economics has revealed the number in its latest quarterly Investment Monitor. It says that when the existing private developments finish there will be hardly any to replace them.

Only 2 of the 14 new private projects are in NSW; a new brewery being built by Bluetounge at Wanervale on the central coast for $120 million employing 250 workers and a new global headquarters for Cochlear being built by Watpac Constructions at Macquarie University for $80 million announced in June.

"That's all there is...

Without public sector projects the pipeline would dry up," says Access Economics Director David Rumbens.

Access has identified 6 new government projects in NSW, most funded by the Roads and Traffic Authority and the State Rail Authority including the $4.9 billion planned rail link between Rozelle and Central.

Projects still underway include the $1.9 billion desalination plant being constructed at Kurnell due to be completed by the end of the year, the $1.5 billion Hunter Expressway between the F3 and Branxton Highway which will finish in 2013.

Projects that remain in planning include a $2.2 billion 600-turbine wind farm near Broken Hill and a $900 million revamp of the Opera House.

Building in Sydney's CDB is set to grind to a halt, with no new commercial or office buildings planned.

"The only construction underway in either the Sydney CBD or the Melbourne CBD right now is work that was approved before the crisis," said Mr Rumbens.

"There is no longer much for office space, and finance is harder to get."

"The Prime Minister is right. Even after economic growth returns, investment and employment will continue to shrink."

Access expects a further 40,000 construction workers to lose their jobs nationwide over the next two years.

Australia's construction workforce has slipped from just over 1 million to 949,000 in just six months. Access expects a further fall to 907,000 by 2011.

"Some of the workers on commercial sites will find employment building houses as residential work pick up, but many don't have transferable skills," Mr Rumbens said.

Access says there are now $7 billion more projects on the books than three months ago, almost all of the new ones government funded. But there are still $12 billion less than a year before.

What's new

Public projects lead the way in NSW

NSW Railcorp: $320 million new railcars PUBLIC
NSW RTA: $140 million F5 widening PUBLIC
NSW RTA: $101 Astonville bypass PUBLIC
State Rail Authority: $6.5 billion Rozelle to Central PUBLIC
Hunter Water: $43 million recylcing plant PUBLIC
Bluetongue: $120 million Warnevale brewery PRIVATE
Cochlear: $80 million global headquarters PRIVATE

Public projects lead the way in Victoria

VicRoads: $750 million Peninsula Link PUBLIC
Vic Rail Track: $609 million new metropolitan trains PUBLIC
Vic Rail Track: $559 million South Morang extension PUBLIC
Vic Rail Track: $194 million Sunbury electrification PUBLIC
Vic Infrastructure: $140 million Southbank redevelopment PUBLIC
VicRoads: $74 million Dingley Arterial PUBLIC
VicRoads: $48 million Smartbus route extension PUBLIC
Vic Rail Track: $194 million Sunbury electrification PUBLIC
Institute of Architects: $35 million headquarters revamp PRIVATE

New projects since March
Access Economics Investment Monitor, June quarter

Published in today's SMH and Age

Graphic: Skylinetcs