24/06/2010 - 00:00

Public sector jobs keep construction afloat

24/06/2010 - 00:00


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AN array of government-funded building projects, including theatres, Tafe colleges and police centres is boosting the order books of construction firms in Western Australia.

Public sector jobs keep construction afloat

AN array of government-funded building projects, including theatres, Tafe colleges and police centres is boosting the order books of construction firms in Western Australia.

Major commercial construction projects funded by the state government, include the $91 million State Theatre Centre being built by John Holland, and the $60 million expansion of the Central Institute of Technology, being constructed by Cooper & Oxley Builders.

The state is also funding a $30 million redevelopment of the Albany Waterfront, a $60 million new police station in Northbridge and a $52.5 million new Carnarvon Police and Justice complex.

The Albany investment is in addition to the $46.3 million the state government invested in the recently completed Albany Entertainment Centre, located in the heart of the Waterfront project.

In March, Lands Minister Brendon Grylls launched an expression of interest process for a four-star or higher hotel and short-stay serviced apartments at the waterfront.

The Albany Waterfront redevelopment project is forecast to generate $60 million in private investment and up to $400 million in economic activity for the Great Southern Region to 2020.

Elsewhere, three of the major public sector projects boosting the industry are situated in Northbridge’s cultural precinct.

At the $91 million State Theatre Centre, structural works are almost complete, while finishing works on the exterior and interior are on schedule.

The theatre itself is a complex construction project, particularly from a structural perspective, as it encompasses multiple elements including: delta core wall panels; structural steel; load-bearing block work; in-situ concrete; and architectural frame system walls.

Around the corner on Aberdeen Street, Cooper & Oxley Builders is well advanced in works to construct a $60 million, three-storey building equipped to train students in the areas of engineering, architecture and building.

The building was designed by Lyons and T&Z Architects and is part of the Central Institute of Technology’s plan to consolidate its activities in Northbridge.

Also in Northbridge, Arccon Constructions is performing a forward works and demolition contract for the development of the $113 million new police station on the corner of Roe and Fitzgerald streets.

Tenders for the construction of the main police building closed last month.

The complex is expected to house more than 400 officers as well as a short-term lockup, and is scheduled to open mid-2012.

Other public sector work boosting construction company order books is the $52.5 million Carnarvon Police and Justice complex.

The previous Labor Government initially funded $38 million toward the complex in the 2008 budget.

Also, in the 2010-2011 budget the state government committed $43.4 million for a new courthouse in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and $43 million for the redevelopment of the Kununurra Courthouse.

Broad Construction’s executive general manager Simon Amos said, in response to the exit of the private sector from major construction work, that his company’s operations were currently highly “government-centric”.

Mr Amos said he expected the state and federal governments’ commitments to infrastructure spending would carry on over the medium-term.

“I think it will continue, obviously the commitment from government, particularly the WA government’s commitment to inject significant money into health, prisons, entertainment and schools, is huge for the industry,” Mr Amos said.

“That’s a five-year window to make all of that happen, so that will carry on in the background and we’re gearing up for that appropriately. Hopefully we will see some zest in the market from the private sector too.”


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