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Infrastructure boom: Victoria is running out of raw building materials

Victoria is in the midst of an infrastructure boom, but the state is running out of sand, rock and gravel to build planned government projects.

Industry groups are warning that local materials need to be made more readily available, or raw building materials will need to be imported from interstate and overseas, which will increase the cost of construction sharply.

John Kilgour, CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation, said slow approvals to access new quarries are a problem.

“One of the major concerns we have is the slow pace of government reforms to approve new reserves in response to increasing demand for resources,” he told 3AW Breakfast.

“We’ve got something like $103 billion of projects either under construction or in the pipeline, and we use about 8 tonnes of extracted materials for every head of population each year here in Victoria.”

Mr Kilgour said approximately 15 new quarries will be needed in the next 30 to 35 years, in order to keep up with demand, but finding new sites for quarries is difficult.

“With the increasing population and housing density, that’s putting a lot more pressure on rezoning for potential quarries,” he said.

Mr Kilgour said the positioning of quarries can have a huge impact on the cost of completing construction projects.

“Obviously the material is important, but just as important is the proximity to where the projects are being undertaken.

“For every 25 kilometres that we have to transport the quarry material it’s going to add about $2 billion of costs on to the projects.”

In the last 12 months applications for quarry permits have been made in Kilmore, Melton, Bacchus Marsh, Whittlesea, the Central Highlands region, Ballarat and Murrindindi.

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