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Business as Usual Budget Lacks Vision and Investment in Economic Infrastructure

Queensland’s State budget was delivered yesterday, with the state announcing $14.7bn of investment to support growth, economic activity and employment as part of their ongoing $52.2bn 4-year capital works program.

There was good news for the housing sector, and the announcement of a health and education build program that will see much-needed investment is needed in critical social infrastructure. In addition, we welcomed the support of funding for green energy initiatives with $2bn committed toward Renewable Energy Zones. While welcomed industry believes that additional investment will be required to develop the enabling infrastructure such as transmission lines to support the transition to renewable energy sources.

Disappointingly, the 2021 state budget contained little new investment in economic infrastructure designed to connect our regions, power our communities, move people and goods, and secure vital water supply.

Queensland Major Contractors Association had called on the Queensland Government to ensure that the 2021 State Budget focused on delivering road, rail, water, and energy infrastructure to lead the state’s post-COVID economic recovery.

“Industry understands the financial constraints under which the State Government operates; however, it was a disappointing budget regarding the long term vision Queensland requires to ensure the smooth planning, procurement and delivery of economy-boosting infrastructure.”

“Much of the funding allocated is for continuing projects under construction, so the sector is naturally concerned that the future pipeline of works is lacking. As highlighted in the 2020 Queensland Major Projects Pipeline Report, infrastructure investment falls off a cliff in FY 2022-23, and the state budget has done little to indicate a long term pipeline of future works.”

“More could have been done, and funding should have been allocated for the development of business cases for the next stage of major projects, particularly with the opportunity of the Olympics coming to Queensland in 2032.”

“In addition, the industry would have liked to have seen funding prioritised for projects that support the rapid movement of goods, the removal of freight from major urban centres through investment in highway upgrades and bypasses and level crossing removal programs across South East Queensland.”

Disappointingly, there was little information in the budget papers about the forward pipeline of economic infrastructure investment in the budget. With the 2032 Olympics rapidly approaching, Industry is desperate to understand what the plans are for the long-term legacy economic infrastructure to be delivered for this. 10 years is not a long time to get this infrastructure done and we need to move quickly.

The industry is also disappointed with the continuation of policies that actively harm the State Government’s investment in infrastructure. “Policies such as the Best Practice Industrial Conditions (BPIC) are counter-intuitive to the investment being made, adding high cost to each project, costs which the taxpayer ultimately bears.”

“Introduced to appease political factions and designed to do little more than enshrine mandated conditions into large infrastructure projects, the reality is that BPIC will not see one more Queenslander employed. However, it will cost taxpayers 15-30% more on each project, eroding any “efficiency dividends” that the government has spoken about achieving. When the state’s finances are finely balanced and economic stimulus and growth are paramount, the state’s government could help save significant future funds by scrapping BPIC. That would then result in the ability to afford more health and education facilities and teachers and nurses.” said Mr Chapman.

Our members.

Acciona Infrastructure Australia
Bielby Holdings
BMD Constructions
CPB Contractors
Decmil Group Limited
Fulton Hogan
Georgiou Group
John Holland
Laing O’Rourke
Martinus Rail Pty Ltd
McConnell Dowell
Seymour Whyte Constructions