Today is a very exciting day for me, as it is my first as CEO of the Australian Constructors Association. I am thrilled and honoured to be leading ACA and working with a board and members who are committed to the long-term sustainability and success of the construction industry in Australia.

As an industry, we are vital to the economic and social well-being of the nation. We provide essential infrastructure to connect communities, enable trade and protect the nation from an increasingly unpredictable natural environment. We employ almost 10% of the working population and contribute 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.

Our industry is not, however, without its challenges. My role as CEO of ACA is to work with all stakeholders to identify weaknesses in our sector and to align our efforts into developing solutions to overcome those challenges, through open dialogue, collaboration and a commitment to ensuring the value of construction is recognised and celebrated.

For those of you that don’t know me, I have been directly involved in the construction industry for 30 years, working in several countries across many sectors and for a range of companies large and small. For the last two years I have been the CEO of Queensland Major Contractors Association, and in that time achieved significant success in advocacy, engagement and leadership, which I hope to mirror and surpass at ACA.

Much has changed over the years, but a lot has also stayed the same. It still takes about the same amount of time to fix a tonne of reinforcing steel, diversity and inclusion, while improving, still has a very long way to go, disputes are commonplace, and despite all of our collective efforts, the profitability of the industry is an ongoing and major concern.

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to significant upheaval and uncertainty in business and society, but it is also turning out to be a time of great opportunity. Changes that were expected to take years, like increased digitisation and working from home, have taken place in months. Adversarial relationships have been set aside for the common good, and there are positive signs of greater collaboration across governments, unconstrained by ideology.

I am excited by what this could mean for our industry; an industry deemed essential by all levels of government, an industry that must play a crucial role in leading the economy to recovery. Working closely with other stakeholders, we have the best opportunity that I can remember to address the challenges faced by our industry and to leverage all that is good to become stronger, more united and successful.

Over the coming days, weeks and months, I look forward to working with all of you to achieve the goals that we have set as an association to improve every aspect of our sector.

At ACA, we firmly believe that:

  • We can build capability and capacity, employing and training workers from other industries that have lost their jobs.
  • We can become a more attractive place to work with an improved work/life balance and equal opportunity for all.
  • We can become more productive and lead the way in the adoption of new technology.
  • We can work more collaboratively with our clients and industry partners to improve project outcomes.
  • We can improve the culture of our industry by rebuilding trust and improving transparency of dealings between Contractors, Clients, Designers, Suppliers and Unions alike.
  • We can increase the benefits to local communities of the projects we build.
  • We can reduce the impact we have on the environment and construct infrastructure better able to withstand future changes in our climate.

In summary, we have the opportunity to become a more sustainable industry focused on the future rather than dwelling on the past. My challenge and that of everyone associated with our association is to help realise those goals by questioning long-held views, embracing new ways of working and uniting for this common purpose.

I look forward to this challenge and hope I can count on your support.

Jon Davies – CEO

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