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The Golden Age For Industrial Development In Queensland

As a region, South-East Queensland stands on the precipice of opportunity; one created by the development and completion of major infrastructure projects that have the potential to create a regional hub to service Australia and beyond.

For any business, access to markets, materials and resources are critical, and according to our team, 2021 will see a boom in the design, development and construction of industrial and logistics hubs to take advantage of new opportunities created by access to markets.

Market Analysis

Contributing 8.6% to Australia’s GDP, the freight and logistics sector is critical to our country’s economy. According to MHD Supply Chain News, growth in this market is particularly strong in Queensland, which saw a growth of 5.2 per cent[1] annually for ecommerce logistics, distribution and warehousing, the highest of any state nationally.

To support this sector, there is no doubt that the requirement for warehousing, logistics hubs and industrial developments will increase in Queensland over the coming years.

Allied to this boom is a scarcity of space, particularly in the Brisbane region, with the vacancy rate dropping to a five year low of 4%. Some of this shortfall is being made up in Queensland regions, with projects such as the Crestmead Logistics Estate[2], a $1.5bn estate delivering 650,000m2 of warehousing, located centrally between Brisbane and Logan.

As we look to support our clients’ industrial projects in 2021 and beyond, we have had a look at the regional implications for the sector, on the back of the infrastructure boom.

Projects Defining The Boom

There are several critical infrastructure projects that will define the future of logistics and industry in South East Queensland. Here are our critical projects by region, which will see significant road, rail and aviation links create access to markets like never before.

Brisbane, Moreton Bay & Logan

In the last year, we have seen a vital cog in Brisbane’s development, the completion of the second runway project at Brisbane Airport[3], which has added capacity for passenger and freight traffic as part of the $1.1bn development. With 82,000m2 of apron, 24/7 operation and onsite customs and biosecurity services, the opportunities for international air freight to connect with national and international markets is strong.

Road infrastructure across the Greater Brisbane Region is also undergoing significant development. Ipswich Motorway; Rocklea to Darra is due to open in Mid-2020, improving access to one of the city’s most industrialised regions. The Coomera Connector will see significant improvements in travel times between the rapidly growing Logan and Gold Coast regions, significantly relieving pressure on the M1, which is being upgraded concurrently.

However, there is still a critical missing link that needs to be addressed; the development of a direct rail connection to the Port of Brisbane from Acacia Ridge so that double handling of freight is not required.

Sunshine Coast

Alongside the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport, the development of a high-speed undersea communications cable, the planning and construction of a regional CBD at Maroochydore, the story of investment in the Sunshine Coast region is dominated by the Bruce Highway.

Cooroy to Curra[4] has been in development across the last decade. Commencing in 2009, the project has seen three sections of highway upgrade completed and a fourth and final section (Section D) in construction, which, when completed will see 63Km of highway realigned and upgraded to 4 lanes at a total cost of over $2.3bn.

In addition, the $662m Caboolture-Bribie Island Road to Steve Irwin Way upgrade will see improvements including extra lanes, flood resilience, new bridges and improved speed and capacity brought to a key element of the highway.

The $301m Maroochydore Road and Mons Road Interchanges project will enhance traffic flow and safety. The Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway will upgrade the 6-lanes between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway including major upgrades to both interchanges and a new 2-way service road for local traffic between Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist Drive.

This means that over the next few years, there will be a modern highway connection between, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, enabling the more efficient movement of people, goods and resources.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast Region has long been known as the Sunshine State’s tourism jewel, but in recent years there have been significant developments to support industry and growth. The Pacific Highway Upgrade was Australia’s largest road project, at $15bn. Following almost total completion, it has seen the highway duplicated from the Tweed to Newcastle, taking around 2.5 hours off travel time.

Within the region itself, M1 Upgrades at Mudgereeba to Varsity Lakes, Burleigh to Palm Beach, Palm Beach to Tugun and Varsity Lakes to Burleigh will see over $1bn[5] invested in the network. 2021 will see the initial packages of work for the Coomera Connector being released, further improving future access to the Gold Coast.

Toowoomba and Darling Downs

Of all the regions in Queensland, the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region is arguably undergoing the most significant transformation through infrastructure investment. Already benefitting from the $1.6bn Second Range Crossing and the establishment of Wellcamp Airport, the region will be home to one of Australia’s most ambitious project; Inland Rail.

Inland Rail is a 1,700km freight rail line that will connect Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. It is a freight focussed nation-building project come to fruition in 2026, delivering an expected economic boost of more than $18 billion to GDP[6] during construction and the first 50 years of operation.

From a logistics and industrial perspective, the South West Queensland region, particularly the regional Centre of Toowoomba, will benefit from access to markets like never before, supporting the critical industries of resources and agriculture to efficiently and effectively ship goods within Australia and internationally.

The Wrap Up

Much like ancient Rome it as safe to say that all roads lead to South-East Queensland.

With a growing population, the continuing development of the logistics, warehousing and industrial sectors, and limited land in the region’s capital, the long term development of the sector will require planning, creativity and understanding of best practice development.

In practical terms, it will mean that there will be greater options available to develop industrial, warehouse and logistics developments, supported by a connected rail, road, air and sea network. The challenge for any prospective development, however, will be the timely design, approval, development and construction of facilities intended to capitalise on the boom created by Queensland’s major projects and the increase in freight shipments to businesses and consumers.

At Inertia, we have an integrated team of engineers, with a proven track record of delivering for our clients across land division, development approval, structural engineering and civil infrastructure to support the logistics, warehousing and industrial sectors. To learn more and to bring our knowledge to your next project, contact us.