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Project management skills ‘crucial’ for Federal Budget construction blitz

 

The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) has flagged the need for a skilled project management workforce to deliver the construction projects anticipated in the Federal Government’s 2020-21 budget.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack recently told The Sydney Morning Herald that the 2020-21 Budget, which is set to be announced on October 6, will include “significant” infrastructure spending.

The AIPM has welcomed the announcement, and expects skilled project management resources to be vital to the success of the future construction projects, which add to an existing $100 billion list of infrastructure expenditure.

“With a focus on infrastructure and construction projects to help steer Australia’s economy out of the COVID-19 period, (the) government needs to consider the availability and competency of a skilled project management workforce to deliver projects efficiently to ensure that the original investment is maximised,” AIPM chief executive officer Elizabeth Foley said.

Foley said there is a link between unskilled project management and a failure of projects.

“In line with our recent advocacy at state government level, for projects of this scale, certified project managers are needed who can demonstrate that they have the practical experience their resumes claim, and evidence that their experience is up-to-date, and their knowledge is growing with changes in industry and technology,” she said.

The AIPM have also supported a study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers which analysed the efficiency of projects in separate industries. It found that construction projects had the lowest average efficiency.

The factors that contributed to less efficient projects included a lack of skilled labour, poor cash flow, smaller profit margins, high insurance costs and the lack of a business case.

“If you’re a project manager, no matter which industry you’re working in, it’s important to ensure effective communication, collaboration and coordination with your team and stakeholders, as this was often associated with more efficient projects,” ECU joint chief investigator Richard Hughes said.

Foley encouraged project management education courses to ensure an adequate skillset is provided to deliver upcoming projects.

“It is imperative that higher education courses related to project management that are available today have high-quality content and delivery, to ensure there is the skillset to deliver on the projects that will carry Australia out of the COVID-19 crisis and consequent recession,” she said.