Rail a major component in $50bn Qld infrastructure spend

Rail had the largest growth in funded infrastructure in Queensland in 2020, according to the recently released Queensland Major Project Pipeline (QLDMPP) report.

A joint initiative of the Queensland Major Contractors Association (QMCA) and the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ), the report outlines the total pipeline of major infrastructure projects, adding up to over $50 billion of planned, funded, and in construction works.

QMCA CEO, Jon Davies was enthused about the pipeline.

“We are delighted to see significant growth in the pipeline, with works totalling $50.6bn scheduled between 2019/20 and 2023/24.”

While the largest sector is the resources and heavy industry sector, the $6.68bn worth of announced projects in that sector are not yet funded.

“However, there is still an element of risk around the total figure as $23.2bn of work is not funded at this stage. This is mostly down to planned resources and energy projects which take considerable time to plan, fund and gain approval,” said Davies.

The rail project pipeline increased by $1.74bn in funded projects and $1.03bn in unfunded projects from the 2019 to 2020 version of the report, with multiple large rail projects in the state receiving funding.

“Overall there are reasons to be optimistic, with many major projects such as Inland Rail, Cross River Rail, Brisbane Metro and upgrades to the M1, Bruce Highway and essential water infrastructure developments beginning in earnest.”

Geographically, the projects in the QLDMPP report were largely concentrated in south-east Queensland, with 40 per cent of all funded work there.

Larger projects were receiving a greater share of funding and announcements, with 70 per cent of projects by 2023/24 being valued above $500 million.

Emerging challenges could include a skills shortage in the road and rail sectors, however opportunity could come in the form of the mooted 2032 SEQ Olympics bid, which would require projects such as faster rail links between Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Ipswich to be advanced prior to the games.