The Australian Constructors Association (ACA) has welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia’s mid-cycle update but counselled that more must be done to improve the sector’s long-term sustainability.

ACA Chief Executive Officer Jon Davies outlined industry’s response to the update, “Industry welcomes the mid-cycle update and the earmarking of additional priority projects across the states and territories.

“By issuing a mid-cycle update, the critical role that construction of infrastructure will play in the nations’ post-COVID economic recovery is reinforced. Industry is ready to collaborate with Infrastructure Australia, government and stakeholders to ensure projects can move seamlessly from concept to shovel ready reality,” said Mr Davies.

However, ACA believes that improvements must be made to how contracts are procured and delivered to provide fiscal certainty and sustainability for the sector and increased value for government.

“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,” said Mr Davies.

Mr Davies called on all stakeholders to collaborate to drive cross-sector change by continuing to focus on the implementation of key initiatives such as the Construction Industry Leadership Forum (CILF) and Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) developed between the ACA and the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria.

“Through these initiatives industry and government can work together to identify better project initiation and delivery processes that improve the sustainability of Industry and deliver value for money infrastructure for Australia’s communities. These initiatives should be coordinated at a National level to involve all states and territories to ensure consistency and sharing of best practice,” said Mr Davies.

Following on from the mid-cycle update the ACA will shortly be issuing a detailed response to the challenges identified in Infrastructure Australia’s 2109 Audit.

“In the coming weeks, ACA will seek to make a series of positive recommendations that can support the long term performance of our sector, with a focus on three interlinked cornerstones for a more sustainable construction industry: Culture, Commercial frameworks and Capability, Capacity and Skills.

“We need to find sustainable ways to deliver the infrastructure that society and business require to support our future growth and to leverage the significant economic and social benefits that come from the construction of new infrastructure,” said Mr Davies.