Australian construction for the March 2016 quarter saw positive growth, with 4,302 projects worth over $76 billion entering the construction phase during this period. This is in comparison to 3,931 for the same time last year (+9%), and shows good market confidence, with such large volume of development going ahead.
It was the civil engineering sector which drove the strong numbers during the quarter, with 1,424 projects worth $5.9 billion entering construction, compared to 1,183 projects for the same time last year (+20%). This was fuelled by two of the larger projects including the South Road Corridor Darlington Upgrade in Adelaide worth $620 million, and the Citylink/Tullamarine Freeway Widening Project in Melbourne worth $230 million.
Commercial construction held steady during the quarter, with 516 projects starting construction. The $800 million Manuka Green, a multiple use precinct in Griffith, New South Wales, and the $200 million Southport Tower 3 were two of the bigger commercial projects to get underway. The mining sector experienced a dramatic increase in new projects during the quarter, with 139 new projects beginning (up from 78 last year), 125 projects being located in Western Australia. The biggest is the $54 billion Chevron gas project on Barrow Island. While projects entering new construction took a leap in the March quarter, so did pipeline activity, with 4830 projects worth $50 billion reported, compared to 4597 at $27 billion for the same time last year.
On the flip side, the number of deferred projects rose in comparison to the same time last year, with 411 projects put on hold compared to 375, representing $3.6 billion compared to $3.1 billion. This figure included 153 apartment and unit projects worth over $1 billion now on hold, but this value still represents a 37% decrease in deferments over 12 months. The March 2016 quarter was positive with civil engineering projects in roads and infrastructure leading the way.