Wed 10 Nov 2021

[Newsletter Sep-Oct 2021]

Infrastructure Market Capacity report October 2021  

A new data capability for Infrastructure Australia Infrastructure

Australia is proud to publish its first Infrastructure Market Capacity report, forecasting a surge in demand for skills, labour and materials due to the rapid increase in public infrastructure investment.

Read the Infrastructure Market Capacity report
Read Infrastructure Australia’s media release

The Infrastructure Market Capacity report responds to a request from the Council of Australian Governments in March 2020 for Infrastructure Australia to regularly report on the capacity of the market to deliver on the record investment pipeline. This report is an Australian-first and a new data capability for Infrastructure Australia, providing a level of visibility of the major project pipeline and resulting demand for skills, labour and materials that governments have not had until now.

Supplementary reports released today also provide detailed analysis on: Infrastructure Workforce & Skills Supply
Energy Market Capacity
National Study of Infrastructure Risk        

Key findings
Major public infrastructure activity will approximately double over the next three years, peaking at $52 billion in 2023. This record investment creates new opportunities for local business and employment, however also risks constraints in the capacity of the market to meet this growth in investment. In mid-2023 the employment in the infrastructure sector will need to grow from 183,000 people today to more than 288,000 with the potential shortfall in jobs being filled forecast to exceed 105,000, with one in three jobs advertised going unfilled. This presents an opportunity for further employment, but there is also a risk these roles will be unfilled.

Additional findings

  • A forecast average annual growth rate of 33% as industry reports reduced confidence in their capacity to deliver on-time and on-budget.
  • Industry indicates a high confidence of delivering 10-15% annual growth, but a low confidence in delivering growth over 18%.
  • Demand for plant, labour, equipment, and materials will be two-thirds higher than the previous five years.
  • Over the next three years it is expected there will be:          
    – 120% average growth in demand for materials          
    – 125% growth in demand for equipment          
    – 140% growth in demand for plant
  • The peak of demand for skills is 48% higher than supply. Meeting this demand would require annual growth of 25% over the next two years, which is more than eight times higher than the projected annual growth rate of 3.3%.
  • 34 of the 50 public infrastructure occupations identified are potentially in shortage.

From understanding the infrastructure market to ensuring its ongoing success
Infrastructure Australia’s role is to work collaboratively alongside government, industry, and the community to provide advice on the reforms and investment needed in the infrastructure sector.

The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, released last month, provides a practical and actionable reform agenda to address the challenges highlighted in the Infrastructure Market Capacity report.

Key reforms required across the infrastructure sector include:

  • Active portfolio and pipeline management to smooth the project pipeline, attract private investment and manage resource constraints.
  • Improved front-end engineering and design to improve investment decision making and manage risk.
  • Increased collaboration with industry to develop industry capacity and capability, and enable the local supply chain.
  • Embedding digital practices, including a more consistent and scalable approach.
  • Increased public sector capacity and capability to recognise the legitimate, but differing roles of each level of government in the delivery of the infrastructure pipeline.

About the Infrastructure Market Capacity Program
The inaugural report is focused on major public infrastructure pipeline (transport, utilities and building infrastructure), for investments over $50 million for Tasmania, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory and over $100 million for all other states.
This inaugural report represents the first phase of work in Infrastructure Australia’s ongoing Market Capacity Program that will monitor and report on the capacity of the market.
A second phase of the Market Capacity Program is now under development for publication in the first half of 2022.