Two of Queensland’s peak industry bodies – Queensland Major Contractors Association and Infrastructure Association of Queensland – have called on the Queensland Government to make decisions on major projects that are languishing in the approvals process.
QMCA CEO Jon Davies, pointed to the Galilee Basin Projects and ARTC Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail packages and urged the Palaszczuk Government to take action on these projects and end the damaging uncertainty.
“The 2019 Major Projects Pipeline Report undertaken by BIS Oxford Economics on behalf of QMCA and IAQ shows a clear and sharp decline in major project activity of 24% in FY2020. This decline will worsen if the Galilee Basin and Inland Rail projects continue to be delayed, or worse, do not proceed,” Mr Davies said.
“There is a clear pathway for these major projects that can capably deal with community, environmental and commercial interests. The Galilee Basin Projects have been a political football between the State and Federal Governments for far too long despite having apparently complied with the appropriate regulatory approval processes. Inland Rail has also become a tussle between the two levels of Government with no indication they are even close to signing the bilateral agreement, meaning Queensland is the only state yet to sign up.
“The longer these projects are delayed, the greater the impact in terms of jobs and economic activity in the regions. The two projects are estimated to generate more than 17,000 direct and indirect jobs in Queensland.”
Of the $41.3 bn worth of projects identified in the 2019 Queensland Major Projects Pipeline Report, $17.9 bn or 43% are privately funded projects. However, $9.6 bn of these privately funded projects are yet to receive investment decisions and these would be negatively affected by the worsening perception of protracted approvals in Queensland and sovereign risk.
IAQ CEO Steve Abson said while private investment decisions are heavily influenced by commercial factors, there is much that governments at all levels can do to encourage vital private projects.
“Creating a stable policy environment, setting clear and fair policy targets and regulations, and supporting transparent regulatory and approvals processes is essential to encourage private investment such as that required for the Galilee Basin Projects and the Inland Rail Public Private Partnership,” Mr Abson said.
“IAQ recently undertook a pivotal piece of research with infrastructure investors and developers which showed political uncertainty in Queensland was the number one barrier impacting global investment appetite and market confidence for nine in ten (93%) participants.
“Clearly, the recent stalling of major coal projects in the Galilee Basin is weighing heavily on investor sentiment. We call on this Government to take the action needed to progress these two projects and give the market confidence to invest in the Queensland infrastructure we so badly need.”