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Day 1 at the WA Major Projects Conference 2020

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Ledge attended day 1 at the 11th Annual WA Major Projects Conference 2020 and what an informative day it was. The conference condenses the array of upcoming WA infrastructure projects, providing valuable market intel.

In this article, we summarise a selection of the presentations, including:

Eliwana’s Iron Ore Mine and Rail Projects

Warren Harris, Project Director Eliwana, Fortescue Metal Group

  • The $1.8 billion project encompasses a 143km rail and a 30 million tonnes per annum processing facility and accompanying infrastructure.
  • The Eliwana plant is a significantly smaller plant design with the same capacity as FMG’s Firetail mine, which was built in 2013.
  • Not only is FMG investing in operational development, they also have a heavy focus on safety – in Dec 2019 FMG had a 3.5 TRIFR (Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate), which is a 38% improvement compared to Dec 2018.
  • Rail construction is well underway and the first 20 kilometres are almost complete. This accounts for 30% of the total workforce efforts required, due to the challenging terrain.
  • FMG continues to support local businesses, with $1 billion worth of projects awarded to Australian businesses, 82% of which have been awarded to around 290 WA businesses.
  • In addition to these projects, FMG is undertaking the Pilbara Energy Connect, with an investment of US$700 million to provide a hybrid solar gas energy solution for the companies Pilbara operations.

METRONET – Perth’s Most Ambitious Public Transport Program

Anthony Kannis, Project Director, METRONET

  • METRONET is not just about providing more transport, it’s also providing additional housing and employment opportunities and creating cohesive communities.
  • The project will deliver approximately 72 kilometres of new rail lines and up to 18 new stations.

Now an update on the various stations:

  • 8.5km of twin tunnels have been constructed for the Forrestfield-Airport link.
  • Bayswater station is costing in excess of $140 million as there is a focus on redeveloping the station to ensure it’s fit for purpose – being the first station that international visitors will see.
  • The Bayswater station will also be the first outer city station with an intersection of 3 rail lines.
  • Work on the main contract to extend the rail line from Butler to Yanchep will begin mid-year. This 14.5km rail extension will consist of three stops: Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep.
  • Thornlie-Cockburn link will connect the south west suburbs to the south east without having to travel via Perth city.
  • The Morley-Ellenbrook line, known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ consists of 21km of rail lines connecting Morley, Neranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook. It currently takes people travelling from these suburbs 55 minutes on average to travel to their location, compared to 25 – 30 minutes for those travelling on other lines. This new rail will cut this travel time down by a substantial amount.
  • METRONET are undertaking various other developments including extension/development to Byford, Armadale, Midland, Lakelands, Karnup stations, as well as a Level Crossing Program.
  • Projects that complement the development of rail lines include, 246 next generation railcars and high capacity signalling. This new signalling will increase the frequency of railcars on each line by potentially double the current amount per hour, which is 12-15 trains.

Subi East: Creating a City Village

Frank Marra, Chief Executive, DevelopmentWA 

  • It’s hard to miss the progress of the redevelopment of Subiaco, with the Subiaco Oval being completely demolished in 2019, Frank Marra Chief Executive, DevelopmentWA gave an update on the exciting new developments that have ‘reimagined’ 35 hectares of the historic suburb.
  • Subi East is one of the State’s largest inner-city redevelopment projects, delivering 2,000 new dwellings, creating 2,700 new jobs during construction and 650 thereafter.
  • One of the biggest demolitions of its time in WA – 100,000 tonnes of material was removed from Subiaco Oval and 95% has been recovered for reuse and recycling. Click here to view a short video on the demolition process.
  • The demolition of Princess Margaret Hospital will take 2 years to complete.
  • Subi East has entailed years of planning for DevelopmentWA. They have involved the people’s needs every step of the way, whilst maintaining the history and heritage of Subiaco.
  • There is no clear date for when the entire Subi East development will be complete, however it’s clear that it will have a huge impact on the community as it ‘plans to create a dynamic urban village, spark economic activity and cultural regeneration’.

Preparing for the Future

Rebecca Brown, Director General, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

  • WA has new strategies to diversify the economy to build resilience in the State’s economic structure.
  • The six priority sectors:
  1. Energy (FMG, renewables, battery)
  2. Tourism, events and creative industries
  3. International education
  4. Mining and METS
  5. Technology and advanced manufacturing
  6. Primary industries
  • Electronic vehicles and battery-based energy storage systems are driving the demand for lihtium-ion batteries.
  • WA is ranked among the top 5 global producers of battery minerals, with around 64% of the State’s battery minerals exports going to China in 2018.
  • WA continues to invest in ‘preparing for the future’, with the WA government committing $6 million towards research and development to ensure we remain a key player in the global market.

WA Economic Outlook

Noel Richards, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics

  • WA domestic economic activity fell by 7.2% in 2016-17, capping four years of contraction in the WA domestic economy.
  • Domestic economy steadied in 2017 – 18 (+0.6) but shrunk again in 2018 – 19 (-1.0) for the year December 2019 up by 1.7%.
  • The trade war and COVID-19 have caused disruption in China’s economic transition.
  • It is difficult to know the full extent of COVID-19, although WA is more exposed to the fallout from a demand perspective than the rest of Australia, with over half of WA merchandise exports bound for China.
  • The State’s investment pipeline is 36% lower today than in 2014
  • It’s not all doom and gloom as WA’s resource sector income more than doubled between 2015 – 16 and 2018 – 19. So, if things were to get worse in China, there is a buffer.
  • Three rate cuts in 2019 and another on March 3rd should support consumption and confidence, however we are yet to see results.

There is a great deal of infrastructure projects currently happening in WA and plenty more to come as we continue to build a successful future of our State. Although there have been disruptions to the economic climate, WA is well placed in the global economy.

Thank you to all those involved in the production and organisation of conferences like the WA Major Projects and to the major sponsors DevelopmentWA and Civil Construction Federation. Until next time.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact your Ledge Finance Executive directly, or contact us here.

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