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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Engineering works on the rise again

Engineers back in demand

Positive news for the Australian economy as another issue that was supposed to cause the end of days is seen off.

Following years of seemingly endless declines from the 2012 peak, engineering construction activity was 14 per cent higher year on year at a seasonally adjusted $23.7 billion in the March 2018 quarter.

Public works has done plenty of the heavy lifting here, up 19 per cent from a year earlier to $9.5 billion, with infrastructure projects in New South Wales and especially Victoria a major driver of the rebound. 

Indeed there has been a tremendous increase in engineering work in Victoria since 2014, with activity in the state rising by two-thirds since that time. 

Queensland also saw quarterly activity lift to a 33-month high of $5.4 billion, following on from a wretched downturn as the mega-LNG projects transitioned to production.

Although mineral exploration and metres drilled are soaring again in Western Australia this has yet to translate into meaningful engineering work, with activity languishing at levels last seen in 2006.

Victoria kicked off some $11.5 billion of road/rail/bridge works in the March quarter, helping to lift the national quarterly value of engineering work commenced to the highest level since 2013.

Looking forward

The outlook for engineering employment and activity is bright enough, with the value of work yet to be done rising again, largely relating to roads and rail projects. 

If activity is really going to take off then we'd likely need to see a sustained rally commodity prices and in turn more mineral exploration translating into resources investment.