The Australian Construction Association (ACA) has welcomed the 2020 mid-year Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia but says more needs to be done to improve the sector’s long-term sustainability.
Infrastructure Australia is an independent body that provides research and advice to government, and its new Priority List - normlly issued only annually - identifies the infrastructure investments it considers to be most essential to securing a “sustainable and prosperous future” for Australia.
Jon Davies, CEO of ACA, said, “By issuing a mid-cycle update, the critical role that construction of infrastructure will play in the nations’ post-Covid economic recovery is reinforced”, but added that improvements to how contracts are procured and delivered need to be made.
Davies said, “In recent years, projects have changed, becoming substantially bigger, more complex and high risk, but our procurement processes and contract mechanisms and terms have primarily stayed the same.
“The consequence is an extremely challenging and adversarial operating environment which in turn is driving productivity down, raising the cost of infrastructure and making the industry a less attractive destination for labour and capital.”
Davies called on ACA stakeholders to help “drive cross-sector change” by focusing on initiatives such as the Construction Industry Leadership Forum (CILF) and the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) developed by the ACA and the New South Wales and Victoria governments.
The ACA currently plans to release a number of what it describes as “positive recommendations” to support the sector in the long-term and said that the industry was ready to “collaborate with Infrastructure Australia, government and stakeholders” to ensure the successful realisation of projects such as those on the priority list.
The Priority List now identifies a total of 155 infrastructure proposals that are described as being “nationally significant”.