More than 30 million cubic metres of pre-mixed concrete were produced across Australia in the 2017 calendar year, according to new figures.
A representative body called the Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA) says the record production year was realised through an increase in public infrastructure projects, particularly along the eastern seaboard of Australia, and demand for high rise residential buildings.
This record compares to 27 million cubic metres in 2015, which increased to 28.5 million cubic metres in 2016.
Other findings revealed that more than 30,000 people are employed directly by the industry, with another 80,000 estimated to be employed related positions. Also, the industry contributes over $15 billion to the national economy every year.
Ken Slattery, chief executive of the CCAA, believes major infrastructure projects, especially in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, are driving this growth.
“The boom in infrastructure projects such as WestConnex and NorthConnex in Sydney and the West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne, is good news for the heavy construction materials industry and for the more than 110,000 Australians who are employed directly or indirectly in the sector,” Slattery adds.
He insists this is also great news for the Australian economy as the industry is contributing more than $15 billion to the national accounts.
Slattery emphasised that a report by consulting firm Deloitte had concluded that infrastructure projects worth at least $324 billion were in the pipeline, an increase of almost $50 billion over the past two years.
Additionally, the building of the Western Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek was expected to further lift demand for concrete and related products by at least another 1% over the next five years.
Slattery anticipates that the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, which is currently underway, would also result in demand for concrete increasing by another 2%.
“Demand for concrete is increasing rapidly at a time when more and more planners realise what architects and builders have known for a long time: no other material is as versatile, sustainable and cost-effective.
“Whether we are talking about a building as emblematic as the MONA in Hobart or pre-cast concrete single storey homes in our suburbs, concrete is also the safest of all building materials – it is non-combustible, does not emit toxic fumes, does not produce smoke, or drip molten particles when exposed to fire.”
According to CCAA, NSW construction projects are anticipated to consume an average of 9.5 million cubic metres of pre-mixed concrete a year between 2018 and 2022. Victoria is expected to follow with 8 million cubic metres, and Queensland is predicted to approach 7.2 million cubic metres a year.
Victoria closely behind at about 8 million cubic metres, and Queensland predicted to grow further and approach 7.2 million cubic metres a year.