Industry association Consult Australia has predicted continuing lean and patchy times for built environment consultants with no major new infrastructure announced in the Queensland Government’s Budget today.
Consult Australia Queensland State Manager, Stacey Rawlings observed that while future asset sales forecast to raise some $33 billion are a welcome injection of new funds, only 25 per cent of these proceeds are allocated for infrastructure investment, with 75 per cent used to pay down debt.
While Consult Australia appreciates the balance the Government must strike between paying down debt and investing in new projects, it believes this balance should sit more strongly in favour of infrastructure investment.
According to Stacey Rawlings, the Government should prioritise greater investment in productivity that will be driven by new projects, and will ultimately contribute to a more sustainable bottom line in the future. In this context, a 25 per cent allocation from these asset sales is not enough as the built environment industry will continue to contract without substantially greater investment in infrastructure.
Off the back of a strong Federal Budget for infrastructure, the industry is positive about the opportunity to reclaim Queensland as a hub for professional built environment consultants. Investment supporting the delivery of existing projects on the Bruce Highway, the Gateway Upgrade North, and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing are critical to sustain the industry. However, growth is ultimately dependent on a robust longer-term, funded infrastructure pipeline that supports business investment in the state.
Alongside additional infrastructure investment, Consult Australia believes the Government should continue to resource Infrastructure Queensland and Projects Queensland to clearly establish a long-term pipeline of major projects, supported by private sector investment.