AUSTRALIA'S investment boom is picking up pace despite claims of economic uncertainty over the impact of the carbon and mining tax.
Today's Deloitte Access Investment Monitor details a record 935 investment projects planned or under way, each worth $20 million or more. The total value exceeds $894 billion, an increase of 7.5 per cent in the past three months and 16 per cent over the past year.
Leading the way are what Access calls ''an unprecedented number of mega projects'' - 14 worth more than $10 billion and five of those worth more than $30 billion.
''Large projects are longer term investments - they take longer to construct, and need to be in operation for longer for investors to see a return on capital,'' says Access director David Rumbens. ''Amid the extreme short-term volatility we have seen on share markets and currency markets, a continued focus on the longer-term picture is comforting.''
Mining accounts for about one-third of the $406.8 billion of projects under way and almost all of the $487.3 billion in projects planned.
Western Australia and Queensland account for half of the investments, led by the $29 billion Chevron Wheatstone LNG project off the Pilbara coast and and the $20 billion Australia Pacific coal seam gas to LNG project linking Roma and Gladstone. Both projects will be subject to the expanded 40 per cent petroleum resource rent tax.
''This is yet more evidence [that] investment in mining continues to boom in full knowledge of the taxes,'' said Treasurer Wayne Swan ahead of introducing the mining tax legislation this week.
Access says 34 coal projects are under way or planned, 15 of them worth more than $1 billion. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told Parliament last month that the carbon tax would close mines in northern Queensland. Access reports 10 of the big coal projects planned are in Queensland.
Away from mining, investment is weak. The biggest Victorian projects are the $1.2 billion redevelopment of the former Carton & United Breweries site and the $1.1 billion redevelopment of the former Royal Children's Hospital. The largest in New South Wales is the $2.1 billion South West rail link.