Findings from a survey of the nation’s major constructors reveals government is changing the way it is buying infrastructure to deliver better value for taxpayers and support a more sustainable construction industry.

The latest report, commissioned by the Australian Constructors Association on government performance against NSW’s 10-point commitment to the construction sector, finds the NSW and Victorian governments are changing their approaches in delivering the record pipeline of projects.

Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies said the Construction Industry Scorecard shows government has made progress, improving across 9 of the 10 commitments.

“The greatest improvements have been recorded against the government’s commitments to standardise contracts and procurement methods, and develop a transparent pipeline of projects,” Mr Davies said.

“In fact, the transparency of the pipeline is now exceeding expectations.

“Face-to-face interactive briefings with industry have been well received and helped to elicit industry feedback on the market’s capacity to deliver the forward pipeline, along with options for packaging and phasing of individual projects.

“The model used by Major Road Projects Victoria which is based on delivering a package of projects across panel contractors is a great example of government collaborating with industry and providing good visibility of upcoming projects.”

The Australian Constructors Association commends the NSW and Victorian governments on their efforts but says to the pace of reform needs to be increased to deliver the largest infrastructure program Australia has ever seen.

“In total 90 per cent of the commitments fall into the moderate ‘matching expectations’ range and, despite gains, consistent government policy continues to lag other commitments,” Mr Davies said.

“Further improvements are desperately needed to address the industry’s many challenges including high rates of insolvencies, low productivity growth, lack of diversity and poor mental health.”

Recognising the need for industry to also play its part, in this latest report the Australian Constructors Association reflects on efforts in holding up its own 10 commitments published in late 2020.

“In line with our purpose of bringing stakeholders together, many of our activities this year have progressed through our strategic collaborations with the NSW and Victorian Governments in the Construction Industry Leadership Forum and Construction Industry Culture Taskforce,” Mr Davies said.

“A key output of the government and industry collaboration has been the development of the draft culture standard.

“The culture standard seeks to improve the culture of the industry including making it an attractive place to work—particularly for women.

“With the construction industry missing out on employing approximately half the working population, immediate action is needed to reverse the decline in industry diversity.

“The challenge is for the industry culture to change to attract and retain a more diverse workforce including women.

“Achieving this reform by leveraging government procurement practices is preferred to quotas that don’t alleviate the underlying issues and can have unintended consequences such as increasing the cost of construction.”

The Australian Constructors Association congratulates the NSW and Victorian Governments on working collaboratively with industry to deliver positive outcomes. These jurisdictions have set a high standard for other states to follow.

Download the report.