Engineering activity in Australia is at its lowest level since 2010 and is expected to dry up further still as large projects come to completion.

From September 2015 till the end of 2016, the value of engineering construction work being done in the country fell by more than 30%. With largescale LNG terminals expected to come online in the coming months, the value of engineering works in Australia will plummet further still.

Stephen Smith, a Deloitte Access Economics partner who authors its quarterly Investment Monitor explains that the fall in projects is due to resource projects that were approved when the business backdrop was more supportive than it is now. These projects have kept the level of investment in engineering works artificially high: these are legacy projects.

As they come to completion, the dearth of investment since the end of the commodity supercycle will become clear, although their value to the economy will transfer to the exports column, as they begin producing LNG for overseas markets.

He tells GTR: “The most recent falls have been due to a number of large gas projects finishing construction in the country’s north and west. The completion of the A$25.3bn Australia Pacific LNG project in 2016 follows on from the A$21.5bn Curtis Island and the A$19bn Gladstone LNG developments which wrapped up in 2015.

“And there’s more to come with construction on the Gorgon, Prelude, and Ichthys LNG developments scheduled for [completion in] 2017, marking the end of another A$100bn worth of engineering construction activity.”

For the last quarter of 2016, the total recorded value of projects in the report is A$782.5bn – a 3.5% decrease from the previous quarter, and around 20% lower than the peak of late-2012.

Again, this is largely due to the dreary prospects for Australia’s mining sector. Commodity prices – of particular relevance to Australia’s industries are iron ore and coking coal – have risen over the past year, thanks largely to Chinese government stimulus, temporary shortages and high levels of speculation.

These elements are not expected to last over the long-term: mining companies in Australia are not investing in new capital intensive construction projects because they are unsure how long the price can be maintained.

Deloitte’s research shows that there was a net decrease in the value of projects still underway, due to projects being deleted, revalued or reclassified. Again, this shows the volatility in the market, along with the uncertainty harboured by investors.

Some of the largest projects to have come to construction stage over the past quarter, however, were not commodity-based and, arguably, are less disposed to such volatility.

A few of the biggest investments include a A$4.4bn rolling stock maintenance centre in Queensland, operated by Bombardier, a A$2bn airport link in Perth, a A$1.6bn road upgrade in New South Wales and a rail corridor upgrade, of the same value, in a suburb of Melbourne.