The Australian Constructors Association (ACA) has welcomed today’s release of Infrastructure Australia’s updated Infrastructure Priority List.

ACA Chief Executive Officer, Jon Davies said the Infrastructure Priority List reaffirms the critical role of the construction industry in supporting the nation’s economic recovery and ongoing economic competitiveness.

“With this record number of new investment opportunities, all levels of government need to work with industry to ensure that projects are delivered in a timely and efficient manner that maximises the social and economic benefits of the government’s investment.

“The construction industry, in its present form, is not sustainable. Cost over-runs and disputes are commonplace.

“If we could just halve the gap in productivity growth between the construction industry and other industries over the past 30 years, we could construct an extra $10 billion of infrastructure every year for the same level of expenditure.

“This will be vital in a post COVID-19 world with high levels of government debt but no less of a requirement to construct productivity enhancing infrastructure.

“The opportunity is not just one of productivity and profitability—it is the opportunity for industry sustainability.

“The construction industry is not seen as an employer of choice. Women make up just 12 per cent of the construction workforce, and construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than a workplace incident.

Representing Australia’s leading construction and infrastructure contracting companies, the ACA’s focus is to improve the sustainability of the construction industry.

Mr Davies said a sustainable construction industry is built on three pillars: equitable and aligned commercial frameworks, a strong positive culture, and the capability, capacity and skills to execute the projects it is called upon to deliver.

“All three pillars are interlinked, and therefore improvement in one requires improvement in all.

Whilst there are a number of State based industry reform initiatives underway including the Construction Industry Leadership Forum and Construction Industry Culture Taskforce comprising ACA and the Victorian and NSW governments, ACA believes that there is a pressing need for the Federal Government to coordinate and incentivise reform across the country.

“The ACA is calling on the Federal Government to take a more active role in defining and incentivising the use of best practice infrastructure procurement and delivery models to support the sustainability of the industry and improve industry productivity.

“The recent publication by the UK Government of a ‘Construction Playbook’ is a great example of how this could be achieved,” Mr Davies said.