Powerhouse Parramatta in Western Sydney. Photo: Moreau Kusunoki and Genton
Given the multiple shocks of recent months, Australian builders are looking to the new financials year to deliver a strong pipeline of opportunities for recovery. On the ground, state and territory governments are taking action to support the industry, with targeted stimulus programs across residential, social infrastructure, community facilities, and transport infrastructure projects.
In its recent Construction’s Bridge to Recovery paper, the Australian Construction Industry Forum highlighted it is necessary to ensure stimulus measures directly benefit small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector. It also called for strong investments in quality social housing to support the residential sector.
“As the building and construction sector represents almost 10% of the Australian economy, and the industry employs 1.2 million Australians in over 390,000 businesses, it is essential for Australia that we get this right,” ACIF Executive Director James Cameron said in a media announcement.
The states and territories have taken note—and Jobsite found many significant opportunities are set to open up in the coming months.
Two of the state’s largest transport infrastructure projects, the Melbourne Metro and the Level Crossings Removal program, will generate ongoing works packages.
The Frankston line section of the LCR program received a $3 billion funding boost and has so far completed eight level crossing removals. Ten more are yet to be undertaken. A total of 12 new rail stations will be built as well.
The latest information at the project website shows planning is also underway for works across other rail lines including Upwey, Werribee and Cheltenham.
Melbourne Metro is also progressing well, with all four tunnel boring machines now deployed, digging the tunnels for the rail lines that will pass under the Melbourne CBD. Supporting works are also continuing across the area. The government is expecting works will continue into 2025.
The state’s Building Recovery Taskforce has announced fast-tracked approval for a range of projects. These include a $290 million, 21 storey office building at 140 Lonsdale Street, which will become the Melbourne headquarters of the Australian Federal Police; a $234 million mixed-use tower in Bourke Street; a $180 million 41-storey hotel development at 600 Lonsdale Street; a $60 million 20 storey commercial and retail building at Elizabeth Street; and a $60 million residential development on the former Commonwealth Games village site in Parkville.
Smaller projects, including numerous regional projects, have also been given a boost. They include a new $25 million TAFE campus for Port of Sale designed by GHD Woodhead; a new 120-bed aged care facility at Wantirna, which the government said will soon go out to tender; and a $60 million heritage works program that will fund restoration works around the state, including $1 million for works at MacRae Lighthouse on the Mornington Peninsula.
Close to $500 million will be spent on upgrades to social housing and funding new shovel-ready projects. Meanwhile, $129 million will deliver projects for local communities, such as new council buildings and public facilities, solar installations, water projects, infrastructure projects, and rebuilding in bushfire-affected regions. Open tenders for many of these can be found at the Victorian Government’s Buying for Victoria portal.
One of the state’s biggest urban rail projects, the new Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport rail line, is expected to break ground later this year. It is predicted to create around 14,000 jobs and will include the construction of the rail line, three stations in the new Airport precinct and three new suburban stations.
Also in the infrastructure space, the Coffs Harbour bypass on the Pacific Highway is set to go out to tender in the coming months. The decade-long Pacific Highway upgrade is replacing all two-lane stretches of road with separated dual carriageway and creating bypasses for towns along the route to avoid congestion.
The $1.2 billion Coffs package will include around 14km of a four-lane divided road to motorway standard that will connect with the Woolgoolga upgrade package further north.
Western Sydney generally is a real hotspot for activity. New projects include the International Centre for Training Excellence in Blacktown. EOIs have just closed for the Main Works Package head contractor as part of a two-stage tendering process.
The two other major Western Sydney projects to keep on the radar are the $790 million redevelopment of Liverpool Hospital and the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. The latter is believed to be the city’s largest arts and cultural project since the building of the Sydney Opera House.
Construction of the Powerhouse Parramatta is proposed to start in early 2021, with contracts for the project expected to be awarded over the coming months.
In the Australian capital Territory, social housing is getting a boost. In addition to a number of small detached dwelling and townhouse projects on the drawing board with the ACT Housing Authority, the tender has just opened for a 40-unit multi-residential project, Common Ground Dickson. The tender to select the Head Contractor closes on July 7.
Other opportunities currently out to tender include the Head Contractor for the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children Expansion project, which will include a specialist purpose-built children’s oncology facility.
The billion-dollar Brisbane Metro project is set to commence soon, with Brisbane City Council announcing the Brisbane Move consortium comprising Acciona Construction Australia and Arup Australia Projects as preferred Design and Build tenderers.
The project includes a route throughout the Brisbane CBD incorporating a new tunnel at Adelaide Street, works to convert the Victoria bridge to remove motor vehicle traffic, the redesign and upgrade of Brisbane’s Cultural Centre area, station works and necessary civil works like road and intersection alterations and upgrades.
Early works packages are already being rolled out for service and utility relocations and intersection upgrades, and tenders are being released through Brisbane City Council’s Supplier Portal. Council also publishes regular Brisbane Metro construction updates.
In the west, major projects being fast-tracked include the $121.5 million Port Hedland Spoilbank Marina project, with designs finalised and early works expected to commence in October.
A major spend on new construction and upgrades for social housing has also been announced and is expected to support 4,300 construction jobs across the state. Funding includes $319 million to build, buy, renovate and maintain social housing in the cities and the regions.
For private market homebuyers, on the other hand, the government has announced a $20,000 grant for homebuyers investing in a new home build, in addition to existing federal stimulus and subsidies.
One of the most significant projects in Adelaide is gathering momentum. The $400 million Central Market Arcade redevelopment is done by ICD, Nanshan Singapore, Sinclair Brook and architecture firm Woods Bagot in partnership with City of Adelaide council.
The development will include 12,000m2 of new retail, a central hall, public rooftop, hotel, apartments, offices and a childcare centre.
The state government also has an ongoing program of construction of new social housing, along with redevelopments, upgrades and improvements to South Australian Housing Authority existing stock. It has released an EOI for builders and trades to become pre-qualified on its supplier register for projects. The EOI closes July 2, full details here.
Projects moving ahead in the Northern Territory reflect the region’s importance as a connection point with Asia. For instance, the $120 million IoT Data Centre, which is proposed for full completion by 2021, and is expected to be the first of 12 data centres IoT plans to develop in Australia.
Construction tenders are also expected to open shortly for what will be Australia’s largest ship lift at Darwin’s new Marine Industry Park. The $400 million dollar project will construct a 103-metre ship lift capable of servicing large vessels.
Another project that will generate a solid flow of work is the $225 million Charles Darwin University City Campus, part of the State and Federal Government Darwin City Deal. Construction is expected to commence this year and will include educational buildings, student accommodation, public spaces and a number of upgrades to surrounding parts of the city.
The University of Tasmania’s Inveresk campus project in Launceston will be generating substantial work, with the announcement that Northern Tasmania’s Vos Construction has secured the first major construction tender.
Vos will be leading the construction of the $21.7 million Library and Student Experience building. Another part of the Stage One package is a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the North Esk River, which is being built by North-West Tasmanian firm BridgePro Engineering.
The entire $300 million Northern Transformation Project is a partnership between the federal government, state government, local governments and the university. It will involve multiple projects in Launceston, including two additional university buildings, as well as a new UTAS campus in Burnie.
“A project of this scale has enormous direct and indirect benefits for the local economy and it is exciting to see those benefits flow as work progresses,” University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said.
“In these challenging times, certainty and strong forward momentum on the Northern Transformation Program is vital—funding is securely in place, planning is well advanced and our work schedules in Burnie and Launceston remain on track.”