Infrastructure boom tops out


Deloitte with the note.

The government-led boom in infrastructure investment pushed the value of project investment within a hair of an all-time high in September 2023.

But the capacity constraints and cost blow outs of the past two years came to a head in December quarter.

A number of major transport projects reached completion, while the Federal Government pulled funding from 50 road and rail projects across Australia in response to the Independent Review of the Infrastructure Investment Program.


As a result, the total value of projects in Deloitte Access Economics’ Investment Monitor database fell slightly – by 0.8% – to $948 billion in December quarter.

This marked the first quarterly decline in total database value since the onset of the pandemic in June 2020. Database year-on-year growth slowed to 3.1% after peaking at 14.7% in June 2022.

The flow of new investment was strong with over $35 billion worth of new projects added to the database in the quarter. This was the highest level of quarterly additions since 2019.


But the $35 billion worth of new projects were not enough to offset the $37 billion worth of projects that either completed construction or were deleted from the database. The completion of Sydney’s WestConnex and Melbourne’s Sunbury Line Rail upgrade accounted for over $18 billion worth of completions alone.

There was a further $4.5 billion worth of deletions stemming from the transport industry after projects were scrapped following the Federal Government’s response to the independent review. A number of other projects that had federal funding withdrawn remain in the database, but have been moved to the planning stages with state governments still to decide whether to proceed under alternative funding arrangements.

The $424 billion worth of definite projects in the database (defined as those under construction or committed) is 4.8% lower than a quarter ago and 1.2% lower than a year ago. Despite the decline, the value of definite project investment is still around 44% higher than in the same quarter pre-pandemic.


The decline in definite investment was partly absorbed by an increase in the value of planned investment (which includes projects defined as under consideration or possible), which grew by $14 billion in the quarter).


This is the absurdity of Albo’s immigration-led economy. Investing furiously to resolve unplanned infrastructure bottlenecks to stand still. 

Rinse and repeat, as resource limitations and relentless people flows send you backward anyway. 

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.