We believe that the economic slowdown in China is dampening capital expenditure for mining and infrastructure projects in Australia. This is a major downside risk to the construction sector and we have revised down our 2012 real growth forecast accordingly, from 1.5% to 0.5%.
Key developments in the sector include:
In April 2012, the Australian government invited bids from the private sector for designing, financing, constructing and operating the Moorebank intermodal freight terminal in Sydney. The project, which is likely to involve an investment of nearly AUD2bn (US$2.1bn), is expected to eliminate around 3,300 trucks per day from Sydney''s road network, according to Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. The project will create 1,650 jobs during its construction phase, according to Albanese and Finance Minister Penny Wong. An additional 1,700 people will get jobs after the project becomes operational; this is likely to be in 2017, although this is dependent on gaining approvals from planning and environmental authorities.
In April 2012, the airport management of Australia''s Melbourne Airport released the preliminary development plan for its Southern Precinct project - the airport''s five-year investment programme - for public consultation in April 2012. The Melbourne Airport expects to budget more than AUD1bn (US$1bn) for the entire Southern Precinct project, with the first phase, which primarily involves a new domestic terminal, estimated to cost up to AUD300mn. With this expansion, the Melbourne Airport would increase its capacity by 20mn passengers per annum. The public consultation was expected to last until May 7 2012; then, depending on board and planning approvals, the first phase is due to enter construction in October 2012, with the terminal to be operational by July 2014.
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In May 2012, the Queensland state government launched a public consultation process for the AUD10bn (US$10.14bn) Dudgeon Point Coal Terminals project, reports Dredging Today. The public has been invited to comment upon the proposed construction of port terminals at the Port of Hay Point in North Queensland. It is intended to more than double the port''s handling capacity, with the two new terminals to have a combined annual coal capacity of 180mn tonnes.
The project will also include the construction of six rail loops and an overpass.
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