September 28, 2020
Infrastructure has become one of the most prominent industries focused for economic growth and development as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With infrastructure agendas that spread across all states, it has become seemingly evident that the Government’s approach to Australian economic recovery will be led by construction projects. This will impact the supply chain revolving around the construction industry with predictable boosts in the economy.
In Victoria, major infrastructure projects have been at full force despite the impact of the pandemic. With Victoria’s Earth Resources Regulator having had to expedite necessary work approvals to avoid disruption in construction projects. Other indicators of a strong market demand include new advertising processes for minerals licences involving the community’s opinions.
Quarries, mines and gas sites have been working hard to stay operational given the precautionary measures needed to be undertaken as a result of COVID-19.
Aggregated primary resources from quarries are predicted to drive economic recovery whether it’s from higher demand for sand or rock to build new infrastructure or to fuel the growth of mining and mineral and gas exploration.
In Victoria alone, there are approximately 120,000 workers in the resources industry across businesses of all sizes.
The workforce remains strong despite the unemployment impacts of COVID-19. Major projects such as the Metro Tunnel and North East Link are progressing strongly.Other infrastructure commitments made by the Victorian Government include a $2.7 billion Building Works program which accounts for $1.18 billion in new and upgraded schools, $1 billion to Abroginal and social housing and $328 million to road, rail and pier upgrading.
The recent shutdown of Sydney Harbour Tunnel for maintenance work indicates how NSW is spending their infrastructure allowance through upgrading current infrastructure and improving upon them.
In Queensland, $51.84 billion has been guaranteed to maintain infrastructure investment until 2022 to 2023, including a $400 million Accelerated Works Program aimed at delivering new road, bridge and pavement works statewide.
Further multi billion dollar projects have been arranged such as the Cross River Rail and Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane and the $23 billion roads investment which covers upgrades to the Bruce Highway and the M1 between Gold Coast and Brisbane.
While major infrastructure projects will drive significant long term benefits for the economy, repairs and maintenance projects of existing infrastructure provide quick stimulators impacts to it - making them necessary for a quick boost to the economy.
Likely key components of a post-COVID19 financial stimulus package include major road, rail and energy infrastructure projects - which in turn impact the demand for labour and raw material capacity.
In Western Sydney, a new international airport is in the works in Badgerys Creek which will see an influx of jobs and opportunities to create innovative ecosystems around a new aerotropolis.
Engineers Australia have created a post-pandemic economic plan which emphasises on the maintenance of infrastructure assets, a more effective procurement and contracting process, and a renewed emphasis on shovel ready projects such as common social housing.
Large quarries have been gearing up for the increased demand for primary resources, which will likely see a spike that will sustain from 2021 onwards given the number of nationwide projects planned in the works.