Infrastructure Market Capacity 2023

Publication Date
12 December 2023

Extraordinary levels of infrastructure investment in regional areas drive skills and labour shortage

Regions across New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland will experience significant increases in construction activity over the next four years, which will drive skills and labour gaps, Infrastructure Australia’s 2023 Infrastructure Market Capacity Report has found.

Infrastructure Australia Chief of Policy and Research Steve Brogan said: “Infrastructure investment in certain regional areas will see an average annual increase of 75 per cent, with some regions seeing investment doubling in the span of a year – responding to the need for high-quality, resilient infrastructure in our regional communities. 

“We have pinpointed regional areas across Australia where extraordinary levels of public and private infrastructure investment are expected to create labour gaps in the coming years—the ratio between demand and supply will reach 2:1 by this time next year.”

“A shortage of workers presents a serious risk to the on-time and on-budget delivery of projects in regional Australia. We particularly need more engineers, skilled trades, and labourers to deliver on this much-needed investment.

“We urge governments to continue working together and with industry to address the looming workforce shortage in regional Australia. While broad skills and workforce reforms are underway nationally, we need to urgently boost the pipeline of workers into the sector and develop a national infrastructure workforce strategy to ensure communities reap the benefits of these investments sooner rather than later,” Mr Brogan said.

The annual Infrastructure Market Capacity report identifies key trends in public infrastructure investment, and analyses market capacity constraints that could inhibit delivery of the major public infrastructure pipeline.

 Top five regional hotspots:

Top regional hotspots in other jurisdictions:

  • Murray - New South Wales
  • Mid North Coast - New South Wales
  • The Northern Territory Outback – The Northern Territory
  • Central Queensland - Queensland
  • Riverina – New South Wales
  • Warrnambool and South West - Victoria
  • West and North West – Tasmania
  • Wheatbelt – Western Australia
  • Barossa, Yorke, Mid North – South Australia


Case study: Mid North Coast, New South Wales

  • Between 2022—23 and 2024—25, the Mid North Coast will experience an average annual growth of 98 per cent in market demand.
  • At its current peak in 2024—25, total expenditure in Mid North Coast will be more than three times higher than actual work done in 2022—23 ($89 million versus $323 million), averaging 98 per cent growth a year.
  • 1,600 full-time equivalent employees are required to meet peak project demand in the Mid North Coast in 2024—25, compared to 600 in 2022—23.

To read the latest Infrastructure Market Capacity Report, visit 2023 Infrastructure Market Capacity report | Infrastructure Australia.


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