14 infrastructure leaders sign open letter calling for urgent industry reform

Key infrastructure industry leaders are calling for urgent industry reform in an open letter response to the Federal Government’s latest inquiry – Inquiry into procurement practices of government-funded infrastructure.

In the joint letter, the Federal Government is urged to lead reform of how major projects are procured nationwide – this comes as the Government invests a record $110 billion into infrastructure projects Australia-wide. 

The 14 industry leaders who have signed the open letter include:

  • Australian Constructors Association
  • AiGroup
  • Australasian Railway Association
  • Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors
  • Australian Owned Contractors
  • Building Smart Australasia
  • Consult Australia
  • Engineers Australia
  • Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
  • Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA)
  • Lean Construction Australia and New Zealand
  • The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
  • Queensland Major Contractors Association (QMCA) 
  • Roads Australia

These industry leaders are calling for industry reform and say the infrastructure industry is in crisis due to lack of staff, a high rate of insolvencies and low productivity growth that trails that of other significant industries by 25 per cent.

Australian Constructors Association Chief Executive Officer, Jon Davies, said government procurement processes are a major contributor to the crisis.

“Women make up only 12 per cent of the industry’s workforce and our workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than a workplace incident,” Mr Davies said.

“For these, and other reasons, the industry is struggling to attract and retain sufficient people to undertake the pipeline of work ahead of us.

“The government is essentially relying on a broken industry to rebuild the economy.”

Consult Australia Chief Executive Officer, Nicola Grayson, said the joint letter demonstrates the seriousness of the situation and that industry is aligned in recognising the need to address the challenges.

“We all agree on the urgent need for reforms that drive an improved industry culture, create increased capacity and capability, and ensure that project commercial frameworks are equitable and align the interests of all parties.

“Reform of the magnitude required will only happen through greater collaboration across all levels of government and in consultation with industry.

“In particular, the Federal Government, as a direct procurer of major projects and as a significant source of funding for jurisdictionally led projects, can play a major role in resolving these issues and supporting the sustainability of the sector and its supply chain,” Ms Grayson said. 

The Australian Constructors Association and Consult Australia, along with several of the groups, have submitted detailed responses to the inquiry.

 The Federal Government is being encouraged to quickly follow the inquiry with meaningful actions that create a more sustainable infrastructure industry for the benefit of all Australians.

To read the open letter, click here. 

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