The outlook for the transport construction sector in Australia remains positive as significant infrastructure projects continue to drive double-digit growth in activity.
As reported previously in DesignBuildSource, participants in the Construction Outlook survey published by Australian Industry Group (AIG) and Australian Constructors Association (ACA) in May expect the value of construction activity on road infrastructure to grow by 10.4 per cent in calendar 2011 followed by a further 10.2 per cent in 2012. That on rail projects is expected to grow by a healthy 16.2 per cent this year and 17.0 per cent next year.
The Construction Forecasting Council (CFC) is also bullish. In the twelve months to March next year, the CFC expects activity on road construction to increase by 9.47 per cent to $16.850 billion. By financial year 2013/14, the forecaster believes, that figure will reach $19.373 billion.
With regard to bridges, railways and ports, however, the CFC expects activity to contract this year, dropping back from $9.501 billion to $9.064 billion in the twelve months to March next year. Beyond that, however, activity on this type of infrastructure is expected to surge to almost $13 billion ($12.913 billion) in financial year 2012/13 as work gets going on projects such as the $7.2 billion Abbott Point Coal Terminal Project and the first stage of the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel from Domain to Caulfield ($4.5 billion)
Queensland to lead the way
With the exception of South Australia, all major states are expecting significant levels of growth.
In significant statewide developments, according to CFC forecasts:
• Thanks largely to Abbott Point, activity on railways, bridges and ports in Queensland is expected to increase by 27.85 per cent in the twelve months to March ($1.818 billion) before surging to $3.960 billion in financial year 2012/13. Work on road infrastructure will increase from $4.932 billion to $5.416 billion in the year to March before leveling off thereon after.
Whilst the state will continue to derive significant benefits through disaster recovery efforts and associated infrastructure improvement work, these benefits will be largely cancelled out by long term delays on the Cross River Rail Project, which has been put off for several years to help pay for recovery efforts.
• In Victoria work on roads is expected to grow from $2.410 billion to $2.913 billion in the year to March 2012 before reaching $3.410 billion in 2012/13 and surging to $4.433 billion in 2013/14 as work on the Westlink/West Gate Bridge Alternative gets going. In addition, thanks to projects such as the Metro Rail Tunnel and the Regional Rail Link connecting Deer Park to Werribee West ($4.3 billion), the state is expecting respectable levels of growth in work on other forms of transport infrastructure, with work on bridges, railways and ports expected to grow from $1.037 billion in the twelve months to March 2011 to $1.344 billion by 2013/14.
• Courtesy of projects such as the construction of 27km of dual divided carriageway between the F3 at Seahampton and the New England Highway west of Branxton ($1.13 billion) this year, activity on road construction will remain strong in New South Wales/ACT. In the year to March 2012, the value of work done is expected to grow by almost 20 per cent from $4.210 billion to $5.028 billion on the way to reaching $5.558 billion in 2012/13.
Activity on railways, bridges and ports, however, is expected to fall back 21.4 per cent from $4.035 billion to $3.170 billion in the year to March before bouncing back to almost $4 billion ($3.909 billion) in financial year 2012/13.
• In Western Australia, work on roads is expected to drop back from $2.291 billion to $2.063 billion in the year to March 2012 before returning to moderate growth thereon after. That on other forms of transport is expected to contract almost 5 per cent to $2.486 billion over the same period before rising again to $3.251 billion in 2012/13 thanks partly to the redevelopment of the Ocean Reef Marina area ($500 million).
• Activity in South Australia is expected to fall back this year and remain subdued thereon after. Work on roads is set to contract from $1.057 billion to $912 million; that on railways, bridges and ports is expected to drop from $323 million to $253.15 million.