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Construction industry good but not great: ACA


Construction industry reform has progressed promisingly in 2021 across New South Wales and Victoria, but much work lies ahead to support a booming infrastructure pipeline.

The Australian Constructors Association (ACA) commissioned a report to assess the NSW’s Government score against a 10-point commitment to the construction sector.

The report found that nine of the 10 points had improved during 2021, with increased diversity the only area to fall short in the scorecard.

Australian Constructors Association chief executive officer Jon Davies said governments have done well to streamline some processes.

“The greatest improvements have been recorded against the government’s commitments to standardise contracts and procurement methods, and develop a transparent pipeline of projects,” Davies said.

“In fact, the transparency of the pipeline is now exceeding expectations.”

To assess the Infrastructure NSW’s scorecard, 20 projects in NSW and six from Victoria were considered, with values between $201 million and $500 million.

While some expectations were exceeded, the ACA holds the construction industry to a higher standard, considering every infrastructure dollar spent kicks on $3 to the wider economy.

“In total, 90 per cent of the commitments fall into the moderate ‘matching expectations’ range and, despite gains, consistent government policy continues to lag other commitments,” Davies said.

“Further improvements are desperately needed to address the industry’s many challenges including high rates of insolvencies, low productivity growth, lack of diversity and poor mental health.”

The ACA used Victoria’s Major Road Projects campaign as a strong example of government working well with industry.

The campaign forms part of Victoria’s Big Build and aims to reduce traffic congestion and travel times, while improving safety.

“Face-to-face interactive briefings with industry have been well received and helped to elicit industry feedback on the market’s capacity to deliver the forward pipeline, along with options for packaging and phasing of individual projects,” Davies said.

“The model used by Major Road Projects Victoria which is based on delivering a package of projects across panel contractors is a great example of government collaborating with industry and providing good visibility of upcoming projects.”

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