In welcome news for the Queensland construction industry, the Palaszczuk Government announced a $200 million investment in the Building Acceleration Fund at the weekend as part of its economic recovery plan to combat the impacts of COVID-19. This falls shy of the $600 million injection that some members of the industry were calling for. However, we think it is an important step towards generating activity and jobs in the industry.
As one of the largest industries in Australia, construction is pegged to be a key player in the economic recovery and the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have all announced proposals to bolster the construction industry for economic recovery.
The Building Acceleration Fund is a repackaging of the Catalyst Infrastructure Program (CIP) first launched in 2015 and delivered by Economic Development Queensland. Like the CIP, the Building Acceleration Fund will assist in funding infrastructure projects (i.e. water, sewage, roads etc.) and has been touted as a “catalytic infrastructure initiative”. This means the funding is aimed at projects which support or encourage further development and private sector spending.
The specifics of the funding and eligibility requirements have not been announced, and it will be interesting to see how the ‘catalytic’ requirement will be measured. Currently, the only indicative measures are that the project must be ready to commence construction within 12 months of funding approval and must demonstrate substantial flow-on economic benefits. What would be considered ‘substantial’ flow-on economic benefits and how to demonstrate that are yet to be seen, but given the rebranding, it may be similar to the CIP requirements.
We also know:
Applications for the Fund will open mid-August 2020 and details of the application process and eligibility requirements are said to be available then.
Author: Carla Mazibuko
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