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Industry groups say Victoria must act soon, or sand and other raw building materials will need to be imported from interstate or overseas, dramatically raising construction costs for infrastructure projects.
Victoria is running out of the sand, rock and gravel needed to build housing and the government’s major infrastructure projects.
Industry groups have warned we will soon need to start importing sand and other raw building material from interstate or overseas, dramatically increasing the cost of construction, if action isn’t taken now to address the dwindling local supply issues.
Major government studies have found under the current rate of use that by 2050 Victoria may need to have a third of all its raw material supplied from quarries not yet built or planned.
Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia state director Brian Hauser said the industry’s key concern was the slow pace of reform to remove red tape and approve new quarries.
“‘In order to deliver the 60 million plus tonnes per annum of high quality quarry products and the additional cement and concrete needed, there needs to be faster approvals for quarry and sand reserves,” he said.
Seven of 11 projects added to a government “Hot List” of planned quarry expansion, earmarked for fast tracking are still mired in planning approval delays 10 months later.
The “Hot List” quarries would add 160 million tonnes of sand, basalt and gravel resources and are close to Melbourne’s growing suburbs.
Civil Contractors Federation Victoria chief executive John Kilgour said the massive demand for raw materials on major infrastructure projects like the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, West Gate
Tunnel and North East Link were contributing to the draining of local supplies. “There will soon be a significant shortage and we will have to get it from somewhere, be that from interstate or overseas,” he said.
He said the further projects were from the quarry gate the greater the costs of transport and logistics. Raw materials make up about a third of construction costs and any rise in their price can dramatically impact a project’s bottom line.
For every 1km of highway built, 14,000 tonnes of gravel and raw materials are used.
The $9 billion Metro Tunnel alone needs over 1.4 million tonnes of concrete to build its twin nine kilometres of tunnel, while a similar or greater amount would be needed for the $16 billion North East Link.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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