Posted on 5th August 2020 by Vanessa Cole
It's impossible to ignore the economic impact of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, Australia experienced a record 29 years of economic growth — but experts fear the economy could be set back by $34.2 billion over the next year.
The construction industry is helping mitigate these impacts, helping the economy to bounce back. For example, the NSW government recently announced a $70 million scheme to fund new community infrastructure, in addition to the fast-tracking of several key construction projects. Here are 10 of the construction projects helping our economy recover:
1. Inland Rail Project
Inland Rail is a massive project to build a 1,700km long freight railway connection between Melbourne and Brisbane. The new railway line will travel through NSW's Great Dividing Range — the most extensive mountain range in Australia. The economic benefits of the Inland Rail project are far-reaching. Not only will it create a large number of jobs over the coming years in NSW, but it will also help connect some of the regions remote farmland areas to ports in Brisbane, Queensland, boosting the economy for many years to come.
2. Western Sydney International Airport
Sydney's second international airport, located in the west of the city, has been under construction since September 2018. This project is one of the most significant in helping NSW through the coronavirus pandemic, with Scott Morrison claiming the construction phase of the project will create 11,000 new jobs. As with the Inland Rail project, we will experience the economic benefits of this project far into the future — with around a further 30,000 new jobs created upon completion of the build.
3. University of Newcastle's Honeysuckle Campus
COVID-19 hasn't hindered the inner-city expansion of the University of Newcastle, with this project one of 24 fast-tracked by the NSW government. The new honeysuckle campus will span two hectares and consists of seven buildings in total.
Although it will take ten years to complete all seven buildings, stage one is currently underway. This first phase will create an Innovation Hub and new facilities for the School of Creative Industries. Construction started in June and is expected to be completed sometime in 2021.
4. Parramatta Light Rail
Another major infrastructure project taking place in NSW is the Parramatta Light Rail. The project is designed to connect Sydney's communities better, improving transport within the city to facilitate people travelling to work, leisure activities and other essential amenities. The government has invested $1 billion into the project, with construction expected to continue until 2021. The pandemic hasn't halted progress on the project, and a proposed break in the development still on track to go ahead later this year to give nearby businesses some respite from the disruption.
5. Meadowbank Education and Employment Precinct
The development of the Meadowbank Education and Employment Precinct aims to transform the way we learn and work. The precinct will include new primary and secondary schools, accommodating around 2,500 students in total. This project is part of a broader plan within NSW to improve education within the region, with the government investing $6.7 billion to build and upgrade 190 schools. This investment is the largest we've ever seen in NSW and will provide some much-needed assistance to the economy.
6. Snowy 2.0
The NSW government approved the Snowy 2.0 project in May 2020, after several years of debate. This project is part of the government's plan to introduce more sustainable energy solutions in the region, pumping water uphill into dams to create additional energy by releasing it when required. Snowy 2.0 is one of the projects fast-tracked as part of the government's COVID-19 response and is estimated to cost more than $5 billion, creating jobs both during the construction period and beyond.
7. 4,000+ New Homes
Many of the projects fast-tracked by the government's recent announcement involve the construction of residential developments. Together, these projects will create over 4,000 new homes across NSW. For example, the Ivanhoe public housing estate in Ryde aims to generate 950 social housing and 128 affordable housing properties, as well as community facilities, schools and green space. Stage one of the construction works was approved in April 2020, with construction expected to begin in October 2020.
The Barangaroo development on Sydney Harbour is a regeneration project managed by the NSW government and City of Sydney local government. The area, previously used for shipping, will be transformed into a residential and leisure complex expected to welcome over 30,000 visitors each day. Not only will the construction create many job opportunities, but the Barangaroo development is also expected to boost the NSW economy by around $2 billion per year.
9. Sydney Football Stadium
Following its demolition in 2019, work to rebuild Sydney's football stadium is currently underway and will be supported by thousands of construction workers over the next two years. The project will create a state-of-the-art venue, which will become a hub for sports and entertainment in the region. The increased capacity for such events will help the economy recover from COVID-19, providing space for 45,000 people to enjoy such events, driving more visitors to the region. The pandemic hasn't slowed progress, with work expected to continue as planned. The structure will be complete in 2021, with the internal fit-out finished in 2022.
10. Sydney Fish Markets
The final major construction project on our list is the work to relocate the Sydney Fish Markets. It's early days for this project, which is still going through the tender process, but the NSW government has budgeted $750 million for its relocation. The construction phase of the project is due to start imminently and will be complete in 2024.
The projects listed in this article represent a small proportion of the construction work ongoing in NSW through the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the essential role this industry will play in our economic recovery.
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