13/10/2021 - 15:54

Labour strain threatens infrastructure growth

13/10/2021 - 15:54

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Demand for trades and labour for major infrastructure projects in Western Australia could more than double by 2022, Infrastructure Australia has warned, with a likely shortfall of skilled workers.

One in three infrastructure related jobs are going unfilled, according to the report.

Demand for trades and labour for major infrastructure projects in Western Australia could more than double by 2022, Infrastructure Australia has warned, with a likely shortfall of skilled workers.

Infrastructure Australia’s debut Infrastructure Market Capacity report said demand for finishing trades and labour in WA will grow at a rate of more than 100 per cent year on year.

One example of a shortage of skilled workers is in rail.

"Industry stakeholders working in rail suggest a worsening shortage of roles integral to rail infrastructure, in particular rail signallers and systems engineers," the report said.

"Consultation with industry bodies suggested that these shortages are worse in WA where similar roles are utilised by the mining sector.

"Specialist rail worker positions, including rail surveying or rail construction management, require large amounts of technical knowledge.

"Therefore, a shortage of only a few individuals can have a significant impact on a jurisdiction’s ability to meet rail project milestones."

Materials demand was also set to rocket.

“Strong growth in road work in WA is driving major public infrastructure pipeline demand for asphalt up by an average annual rate of nearly 175 per cent over the next two years (and over 180 per cent for bitumen binders),” the report said.

Steel demand growth will reach 300 per cent, Infrastructure Australia said.

National

The report found national spending in the sector could reach $52 billion by 2023 but could be hindered by the high employment growth rates needed to meet demand.  

The report estimated employment in the sector would need to grow from 183,000 people to more than 288,000 to accommodate for what the report says is an impending infrastructure boom.

This potential shortfall is expected to exceed 105,000 according to the report, with one in three jobs advertised going unfilled.

Infrastructure Australia chief executive officer Romilly Madew said investment presented an opportunity for further employment but there was a risk businesses may struggle to fill roles.

A total of 34 of the 50 public infrastructure occupations were found to be in shortage.

This in turn has contributed to a reduced confidence from industry in its capacity to deliver on-time and on-budget, the report found.

“This research further underscores the need for a coordinated project pipeline to manage capacity constraints and provide confidence and certainty for both industry and government,” Ms Madew said.

“While infrastructure investment is rightfully a key component of our national COVID-19 recovery, we need to ensure we are equipped to deliver this once in a generation infrastructure spend.”

A second phase of the market capacity programme is under development and expected to be published in the first half of 2022.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options