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The Unclear Road: Queensland’s Infrastructure Pipeline

Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman October 12, 2023

In writing articles I try to clearly and concisely, bring readers up to date with key industry issues.  However, the subject of Queensland’s Infrastructure Pipeline always causes me considerable difficulty to do this.

The Queensland Infrastructure Pipeline

When searching for information about the status of Queensland’s infrastructure projects, I get trapped in a loop of reading government media releases, government strategic documents, project webpages, and media articles about projects.  

This process invariably causes me great confusion, and always initially, leaves me with more questions than answers. However, unlike other occasions, this time I soldiered on!  


Federal, state, territory, and local governments often partner with the private sector to deliver infrastructure projects in Australia, sharing a combination of responsibilities. 

Another way of expressing this is that rules and agencies actively guide the spending of money and the execution of work, involving both public and private funds, frequently through partnerships.

Australian governments have developed national guidelines for the delivery of infrastructure projects to promote cross-government consistency and the use of best practice approaches. 

These guidelines cover the main approaches to project delivery, including traditional contracting, alliance contracting, and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The delivery of infrastructure projects in Australia involves a complex interplay of responsibilities between various levels of government and the private sector, guided by national infrastructure project delivery guidelines.  These project’s funding comes from public and private sources, often facilitated through partnerships such as PPPs. 

What is the Queensland Government’s Infrastructure Budget? 

According to Infrastructure Magazine 

The 2023-24 Queensland State Budget has been released and is set to transform the state with major infrastructure investments that will help to create more jobs, new industries, better communities and stronger regions. 

Queensland’s Big Build 

“A $20.321 billion Big Build capital investment in the 2023-24 State Budget – part of a $88.729 billion investment over four years – will support the delivery of the state’s biggest transformational projects as well as essential services for Queenslanders. 

Major programs being supported include the ten-year $7.1 billion Brisbane 2032 venues infrastructure program jointly funded with the Australian Government, the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the delivery of major water infrastructure and better health and transport facilities and services.” 

The Queensland Government has developed an excellent Government Infrastructure Pipeline that provides details of the current infrastructure commitments and activity over the next four years, as well as investment proposals that are at the planning stage.

Queensland Government Infrastructure Pipeline

This site is well worth a visit.

What is the Commonwealth Government’s Infrastructure Budget?  

In a press release from the responsible Minister on 1 May 2023, it is stated: 

“The Albanese Government will undertake a review of its multibillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment Program. 

We are maintaining our strong commitment to a 10-year $120 billion infrastructure pipeline, whilst ensuring the land transport infrastructure projects we deliver are nationally significant, and nation-shaping projects.” 

The media release further states at a later point:

“The 90-day independent review is responsible action by the Albanese Government. 

State and territory governments agreed to support this review at National Cabinet, and local governments will be consulted throughout the review. 

This process will allow all levels of government time to consider the projects that are actual priorities and assess their cost and deliverability in the current climate. 

We remain committed to delivering our election commitments and following through on projects already under construction.” 

What is the status of this review?  

According to an article in the AFR, it is stated: 

“Funding for dozens of infrastructure projects will be axed or delayed by the Albanese government after a $33 billion blowout made the current pipeline and new projects “in the next 10 years” too expensive without major change. 

The cost of 700-plus projects ballooned by $32.8 billion and continues to rise due to labour shortages and surging material costs, an independent audit delivered last month to Infrastructure Minister Catherine King says”. 

How many Queensland infrastructure projects may be affected because of this review?  

The Ministers Media Release  drew attention to the fact that there were some projects that had not started (no number given) and a further 160 projects with a commitment of $5 million dollars or less.   

According to an article in the Courier Mail titled ‘Major projects in limbo, millions at stake as Government sits on review’, it is stated: 

“Local councils are being kept in the dark about whether vital infrastructure projects are going to be canned as the Federal Government sits on the results of its independent review”. 

However, in another article, ‘Hundreds of ‘press release’ infrastructure projects across Australia risk the axe under new 90-day review’, it is stated that: 

“King [responsible minister] committed the government to “following through” on projects which have already commenced construction.” 

People interested in obtaining an excellent view on the status of major infrastructure opportunities from announcement to completion, should pay a visit to the Australian New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline website.    

I found the information provided by project location to be excellent. However, if you look carefully at the different status options, a lot could not be considered ‘already commenced construction’.  

The outcome of this review will potentially have major implications for the Queensland Construction Industry.  

According to Construction Skills Queensland, the major project activity outlook for Queensland is $50.4B committed and $115.8B planned. 

Final thoughts 

There are critical discussions taking place now between various Governments on the review recommendations. In the previous mentioned AFR article, a spokesperson for the responsible Minister is quoted as saying: 

The minister is considering the report in detail, and she and her department are working closely with state and territory governments and working through each of the recommendations,” 

In my view, until this process is completed, there will be no certainty about the Queensland Infrastructure pipeline.  

This is a very important ‘watch this space’ matter.  

Join Us for an Innovative End of Year Celebration 

Whether you are a construction industry disruptor or an established business looking to learn new ways, come along to our innovation event.

We are having a celebration to showcase all of the amazing talent in the construction industry to close out the Helix Innovation Series for 2023.  Come along to put your finger on the pulse of what the next wave of innovation will be.

Join us for this innovative end of year celebration which will embrace the holiday season!

Arrive from 5:3pm, kicking off at 6pm, at The Precinct, Level 2/315 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006.

To stay up to date with the latest in the construction industry, follow Helix Legal on social media through LinkedinMediumFacebook and Instagram.

Date: 19 October 2023

Time: Arrive from 5:30pm for a 6:00pm kick off

Location: The Precinct, Fortitude Valley


Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman October 12, 2023

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