Queensland was a big winner in Australia’s mining boom, with a lot of activity occurring across the state’s far north where much of the minerals that the waking Chinese juggernaut was insatiably feeding on, were dug up.
Over the last couple of years however, economic analysts have been singing the boom’s dirge. But have the wheels really fallen off, or is Queensland still riding high on a construction wave that’s yet to fully peak?
According to research conducted by Propertyology, 37 major infrastructure projects with a combined value of $123 billion are currently planned across the state.
If all were to proceed, it would mean 142,900 new direct jobs. This is significant when you consider that jobs growth has been the largest driver of Sydney’s remarkable two-year property boom.
To put this forecast 100,000 plus new employment opportunities in perspective, a total of 11,048 jobs were created over the last three full calendar years in Queensland. While an additional 134,408 jobs were created across Australia in 2014, of which 52,975 were based in Sydney.
Of course where there’s increased employment demand, there’s naturally a need for further accommodation to house all those additional workers. As such, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Cairns have been flagged as property markets with very promising outlooks.
What’s on the cards?
Queensland’s proposed Galilee Basin is set to become the largest coal province in the world with the expansion of Abbott Point at Bowen. Local high rollers Gina Reinhart and Clive Palmer, along with Indian billionaires Adani and GVK collectively have $53 billion worth of projects in this particular pipeline.
The planned official opening of Galilee Basin would spell good news for a recently flailing Mackay market, where falling coal prices and a property oversupply have seen the area struggle in recent times.
It’s anticipated that the region would see an extra 31,500 new direct jobs, while Brisbane city would benefit from thousands of additional administration positions.
To a lesser degree, rising demand for Townsville accommodation due to an increased number of workers facilitating the supply of goods and services at the (literal) coalface should put extra upward pressure on housing values.
New government raises questions
Concerns have been raised in regard to how the recent change of government for our northern neighbours might impact the potential of this massive construction pipeline however.
During the January elections, Labor made it clear that they opposed the expansion of port facilities and in May, flagged a new proposal for the port dredging.
Since assuming power, Labor has scrapped the $5.2 billion BaT Brisbane transport infrastructure project and there are now doubts as to the future of the proposed Queens Wharf project, which was on a comparable scale to Melbourne’s Crown Casino precinct or Sydney’s new Barangaroo.
Despite the question marks surrounding some of the state’s construction plans however, Propertyology managing director Simon Pressley, says the Gold Coast property market has the potential to be Australia’s standout performer over the next two years.
“When the Gold Coast mayor first made mention that the proposed $7.5 billion ASF Resort project had potential for as many as 35,000 new (direct and indirect) jobs our ears certainly pricked up,” he told Property Observer.
The fact that the new state government has scrapped the project hasn’t dampened Propertyology’s bright outlook for the sunshine seeker’s playground.
“There’s already a lot of job creating infrastructure underway on the Gold Coast,” says Pressley. “And our outlook for the Australian tourism industry is off the Richter scale.
“Despite several major projects being declared ‘dead’ or doubtful over recent months, the job creation potential from within the long list of ‘likely to proceed’ projects is still very exciting.”
Overall, it appears that Queensland can expect sunnier days as its property sector picks up in the wake of continuing jobs growth, which is of course good news for northern inclined investors.