QMCA says construction boom nearly over

THE Queensland construction boom has less than four months to run, before investment and workload begins a slide into a steady decline.

That is the word from the Major Projects Report released by the Queensland Major Contractors Association.

The figures - put together by research firm BIS Shrapnel - only covers projects that eclipse $100 million, without including flood repairs.

By the end of the 2012/13 financial year, construction investment would have tipped $18 billion, up from 17.6 billion the year before.

This is driven by the massive LNG refineries being developed in Gladstone and mining projects in the Bowen Galilee and Surat basins.

But by 2016/17 - just four years away - that figure is projected to fall to just $10.9 billion, a fall of 40%.

To put in perspective, this is still much higher than the 2010/11 financial year that was less than $8 billion but was considered a boom-time for workers.

What it does mean is that with 26,000 workers needed at peak construction levels right now, 40% of those workers may not be able to find more work on projects of a similar scale.

QMCA president and BGC Contracting civil manager Tony Hackett said that was a massive number of people needing to find new jobs or face unemployment.

"That has an impact on Queensland and Australia as a whole," he said.

Mr Hackett said projects needed to be planned to ensure a smoothing of the decline, warding off a sharp fall.

The solution, he said, was to ensure workers were highly skilled so they were more productive.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney remained optimistic despite some of the projections.

He said while there was little surprise that engineering work was slowing down, demand for minerals would again require major projects to be built.



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