CIVIL engineering firms can expect a further improvement in the volume of opportunities available to them in the next year, according to Barclay Mowlem Construction Limited business development manager Peter Dyball.But Mr Dyball believes that any future level of improvement within the industry will be reliant on a number of key infrastructure projects that have been under review or deferred over the past 12-18 months, getting the green light for commencement.He feels the Gallop Government has delayed the commencement of some of these projects in order to analyse and re-evaluate where money needs to be spent on civil infrastructure.Mr Dyball told WA Business News that the State Government has indicated it is now in the process of releasing a number of key infrastructure projects, and it is these projects that will determine the level of improvement within the industry. He is hopeful that some of this work will be approved for commencement early in the 2002/2003 financial year.“If some of these projects are deferred further or held over, or the funds aren’t there, it will continue what is happening at the moment,” Mr Dyball said.“But if the process is opened up to start some of these projects and initiate some work, then things will improve over the next 12 months to two years.”The projects to which Mr Dyball is referring are several major road infrastructure projects, such as extensions to the Roe and Tonkin highways, which are currently waiting for the go ahead from the State Government.The industry is also anxious for a conclusion to the debate over the South West railway from Perth to Mandurah, so that tendering for the project can commence as soon as possible.“At this stage there is a soul searching exercise happening with many (firms) in the industry,” Mr Dyball said.“Many of the major players in the industry are reviewing tender documents and scratching their heads asking, ‘how do we make a buck out of this job’.”Gutteridge Haskins and Davey managing director John Phillips agrees that the signs for the civil engineering industry are encouraging, with several major projects in the pipeline. But he said that, even with the current levels of consumer and business confidence in Australia, it would be some time before significant levels of business started to flow through.
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