Mining (3)
Workers are seen underground South Africa's Gold Fields South Deep mine in Westonaria, 45 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, March 9, 2017. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

According to a new industry report, Queensland will be home to major engineering work in 2017-2018 that will allow the state to reverse its five-year decline. However, it warns that without funding commitments, any improvements will not be met with long-term results.

The report, which outlines a Pipeline of as many as 166 projects, sheds light on a five-year forecast of public and private sector engineering projects worth more than $50 million across the state. Last year saw major engineering activity drop to its lowest since 2009-2010, reaching as low as $4.9 billion. There will be more activity in 2017-2018, which is expected to support almost 19,000 jobs.

To meet the requirements of major projects, investment in construction training and skills will need to be stepped up, according to CSQ Chief Executive Brett Schimming. “We are starting to see increased competition for engineering construction skills due to the boom of major infrastructure projects taking shape in southern states, resulting in workers competing for the opportunity to fulfil a dwindling pipeline of activity in the short term,” he said.

The ratio of privately funded projects to publicly funded has returned to what it was between 1986 and 2007. Back then, high infrastructure demand stemming from the mining and energy boom prompted private sector expenditure to become four times the public sector.

According to QMCA President Iain Ward, major project activity in Queensland has turned around from private sector and energy projects that dominated the industry in the last 12 months. He added the expected value of major project work between now and 2021 is expected to amount to $39.1 billion. This comes as a 40 reduction of what was recorded between 2011 and 2016, Ward noted. “What this means is industry is now looking to government for increased funding certainty of roads, rail and water projects to sustain jobs and provide the priority economic infrastructure the State needs,” he added.

The report shows that, in 2017-2018, major project work will rise to reach $7.4 billion. Nevertheless, a large part of the growth is subject to the performance of 87 of the 166 projects.

This also includes the Carmichael project, which includes mine, post and rail development. As part of the $16.5 billion project, India’s Adani Group will start extracting coal from the mine from 2020, which will help in generating power from 100 million people in India who live without electricity. The project, which has been received with opposition from environmentalists, is also expected to create 10,000 jobs.