Central bank boss Glenn Stevens has warned there are very few signs of business filling the vacuum left by the waning resources investment boom.

The Reserve Bank of Australia governor told investors in Sydney that "lessening political uncertainty" since the federal election helped lift business sentiment.

But it is not yet clear whether this will translate into an intention to "spend, invest and employ".

"The pace of new dwelling construction is starting to respond to higher prices in the established property market, as we need it to," Mr Stevens told Citi's 5th Annual Australian and New Zealand Investment Conference.

"But at this stage, the available information suggests that broader investment intentions in the business community remain subdued. It may be a while yet before we can expect to see conclusive evidence of a change here."

His comments come as two separate reports highlight the impact of fading mining investment.

In its latest Investment Monitor, Deloitte Access Economics says that for the first time in a decade the total value of investment projects at all stages of construction has declined for three consecutive quarters.

The forecaster's investment database showed the total value of projects decreased by $3.4 billion, or 0.4 per cent, in the September quarter to $873.7 billion. That's 5.7 per cent lower than a year ago.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Stephen Smith says government infrastructure spending can play an important role during an uncertain period of economic transition.

"In a phase in which business investment spending is looking increasingly shaky and support to economic activity is required, a more active public sector role in financing and supporting infrastructure projects should be welcomed," he said in the report.

The latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association construction outlook expects activity to slow markedly over the next couple of years.

After growing by 10.6 per cent in 2012/13, engineering and commercial construction will rise by just two per cent in 2013/14 and one per cent in 2014/15.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said, while telecommunications work and construction related to oil and gas projects are expected to expand, this is not anticipated to compensate for the reduction in mining work over the next couple of years.

"With the flat outlook for other key parts of the economy on the back of weak non-mining investment in recent years, the dampening impacts of a strong domestic currency, and a legacy of an extended period of low productivity growth, there is no hiding from the extent of the challenges to be faced over the next couple of years," Mr Willox said in a statement.

 

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