International News

Construction industry ‘on road to recovery’

The latest Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) outlook report, released in conjunction with the Australian Constructors Association (ACA), showed that after three years of declining major project work, the nation's leading construction companies are predicting a recovery in engineering and non-residential building activity for the rest of the 2017 calendar year and into 2018.

Following an 8 per cent drop in the total value of major construction work in 2016, the latest projections include a 4.3 per cent increase in activity in 2017 and 6.4 per cent in 2018. Furthermore, an increase of 19.8 per cent in road projects and 19 per cent in rail are set to drive a 2.9 per cent increase in engineering construction in the second half of 2017.

While both industry groups noted mining-related engineering construction would decline in the second half of 2017, the rate was expected to slow to 14.3 per cent, before emerging from its downturn to modestly increase by 3.1 per cent in 2018.

Moving forward

"The overall pick-up in major project work in the construction sector confirms we are leaving behind the extended period during which the industry, and indeed the national economy, was dominated by the wind-down of the historic boom in mining and energy-related projects,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said.

“In place of mining-related work and apartment building, for the rest of 2017 and into 2018, the construction sector is anticipating further expansion in infrastructure investment, particularly in road and rail works, and a lift in private sector commercial construction.”

ACA executive director Lindsay Le Compte echoed similar sentiments.

“The current wave of announcements of infrastructure projects on the country's eastern seaboard will increase pressure on the availability of key project personnel for both industry and clients,” Le Compte said, adding immediate action would be required to undertake these proposed projects.

"Changing the culture of the industry will also be an important responsibility for employers in developing the industry's future workforce and increasing its attractiveness as an employer of preference," he added.

The full report is available to read here.

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