Both main political parties have so far shied away from committing to much needed reforms in the lead up to this year’s election, so our response has been to switch from advocacy for change to ideas about how it can be realised.
The Australian Constructors Association’s big idea is FAIR! We are calling on both sides of politics to commit to taking steps to implement the Future Australian Infrastructure Rating (FAIR) initiative in the first 100 days of office if elected.
FAIR is a mechanism to realise reform recommendations by the nation’s infrastructure advisor, Infrastructure Australia. It provides a way for the Federal Government, as the bank roller of major projects, to coordinate and incentivise reform in a consistent way across state governments without getting involved in project details. And it is simple. It does not require any major change in existing federal governance processes or increased Commonwealth involvement in project details.
#RatingsGetResults. FAIR builds on the success of ratings schemes like NABERs, Green Star and the IS Rating to rate government funded projects on how well they performed against a range of key reform areas such as improved productivity, increased innovation and improved sovereign capability. Federally funded projects undertaken by state government delivery agencies would be given a rating that would be published, leading them to strive for increasingly better outcomes for their stakeholders.
Just like people who look at restaurant ratings, contractors, wanting the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities, would look at state government agency ratings when choosing where to focus their best resources, providing another reason for government delivery agencies to collaborate with industry to drive improved outcomes.
The FAIR initiative could be included in the next iteration of the National Partnership Agreement as a requirement for all federally funded projects and to further incentivise quality outcomes, high ratings could unlock access to new funding pools similar to the previous Asset Recycling Scheme.
All signs point to FAIR. The federal government’s investigation into the impact of government procurement processes on the sustainability of the construction industry supports the urgent need for reform and the important role that the Commonwealth can play in making this happen. The Australian Constructors Association is already progressing initiatives that directly respond to five of the eight recommendations the report.
The government and industry-developed Culture Standard will go a long way in supporting cultural reform that will see the industry become an employer of choice, including for women. Work underway through the Construction Industry Leadership Forum is already targeting the report’s recommendations on value for money, standardisation, project packaging and adoption of digital technologies.
State based reforms are important, but the cornerstone of our advocacy efforts is the role that the Commonwealth can play in incentivising and coordinating reform through FAIR. FAIR is the solution to the report recommendations to establish a mechanism for monitoring and rating project performance and verifying value for money. FAIR would also enable sharing of best practice so the industry can continue to improve.
In fact, FAIR provides a mechanism for the Federal Government to coordinate and incentivise most of the proposed reforms in a consistent way across state government procurement processes. Productivity savings of more than $15 billion every year are possible and can be achieved through improvements to government procurement processes driven by implementation of FAIR.
More on FAIR.
Read the federal inquiry findings Government Procurement: A sovereign security imperative.
This month the Australian Constructors Association announced the appointment of Duncan Gibb, CEO Construction Australia – Fulton Hogan as the new President of the Board. Duncan has replaced Cathal O’Rourke who served as President since November 2020.
Duncan is passionately committed to improving the sustainability and productivity of the construction industry through government and industry collaboration. In accepting the role Duncan said it is his turn to help the industry that has supported him for the better part of 40 years. Find out more about Duncan’s motivations for accepting the role here.
We talk a lot about culture in the construction industry and as an association we are committed to vastly improving it. That is why have spent several years developing a world-leading Culture Standard for the industry through our partnership with the governments of NSW and Victoria in the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce. The aim of the Culture Standard is to tackle the intertwined issues of worker wellbeing, time for life and diversity and inclusion – all related to the culture of the construction industry. But what actually is culture? In this month’s Australian Constructors Association blog we invited anthropologist Kevin Porter to share his insights on what culture is and how it is formed. Read his thought provoking blog here.
Time to celebrate construction
Building the nation’s infrastructure is a big responsibility and deserves recognition. The Australian Constructors Association and Engineers Australia have proudly partnered over the last 25 years to present the Australian Construction Achievement Award (ACAA). The award ensures the people who are building the nation’s projects are recognised for their work.
The ACAA recognises the capability and ingenuity of the construction industry. Showcasing expertise in delivering complex and innovative solutions, the ACAA recognises the social and economic benefits of infrastructure projects. These projects have been delivered efficiently and in a way that nurtures worker wellbeing, improves the skills of the workforce and promotes environmentally responsible outcomes. Collectively, these features contribute to a more sustainable construction industry and are what makes these projects the best of the best.
Projects cannot be built without the broader industry network—whether it be in the delivery of construction equipment, IT, construction materials, steel products, superannuation products for the industry’s employees, legal services or other—and iconic brands like Adbri, Caterpillar, Cbus, InEight and Infrabuild support this award because they too are part of the industry’s success stories.
Despite some challenging years, the construction industry continues to innovate and this year’s finalists are testament to the strength of Australia’s construction and engineering workforce. Having undertaken a rigorous assessment by an independent panel of experts, six projects are in the running to take out the top prize at the presentation event to be held on 4 May in Sydney. Unfortunately, tickets to the event have sold out but stay tuned for the winner announcement. Find out more here.
Future of Construction Summit #FCON22
Only a few tickets are left to what will be one of the most exciting events this year—the Future of Construction Summit #FCON22. The Australian Constructors Association is proud to partner with FuturePlace in presenting FCON.
Delivered over two days from 4-5 May at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, the Summit will provide an opportunity for leaders representing all segments of the construction industry to engage in discussions about industry reform and the opportunity for a more productive and sustainable construction industry.
- Day 1 (4 May) is our reform day. Discussions will cover topics including productivity, culture, commercial frameworks, capability and capacity, ESG and more.
- Day 2 (5 May) is our technology day. Discussions will focus on setting the direction and unleashing the transformation to digital in construction.
Download the agenda.
We will be sharing live highlights throughout the event on LinkedIn so be sure to search #FCON22 and comment! For those who can make it in person, I’ll see you there!