Eight thousand engineering construction jobs will go in Queensland by 2015/16, a new report shows.
An unprecedented expansion in the liquefied natural gas industry pushed work to an unnatural high, and the state is in for an unfortunate correction.
Major work done, for projects over $100 million, is forecast to contract nearly 50 per cent over three years to 2015/16, to a trough of $9.5 billion.
Queensland Major Contractors Association and Construction Skills Queensland released on Thursday their sixth report at a breakfast of industry heavyweights in Brisbane.
An upswing is forecast for 2016/17, rising further in 2017/18, but there is significant risk attached with a large portion of work unfunded, included Galilee basin mining project.
The association’s president Tony Hackett called for the state and federal government to smooth the peaks and troughs, by trickling projects onto the market when private sector investment is low rather than in boom time.
“We’re not trying to paint doom and gloom. The overarching picture is that we were at an historic peak and it is starting to return to 2009 levels,” he said.
“It is starting to look like a new normal.
“So what you’re seeing is those jobs disappearing and that has a profound effect on the Queensland economy and unemployment.”
Mr Hackett took a jab at treasurer Tim Nicholls who was painting an “extremely rosy picture” of economic growth and the state’s finances on radio Thursday, at a time when the construction industry is hemorrhaging.
Deputy Premier and state development minister Jeff Seeney was forced to defend the government’s track record to the 300-plus crowd.
After all, the government had promised construction was going to be one of the four pillars of the state’s economy.
“The construction industry is coming off a once in a generation boom,” Mr Seeney said.
“It is, as you say, patchy.
“All the government can do is that we provide opportunities for the construction industry.
“I’m confident that in the two years we’ve made strong inroads in reducing the plethora of legislative restraints that applied to your business under the former Labor government.”