10 July, 2020 - Roads Australia (RA) notes this week’s announcement by the Victorian Government that it will change the procurement of the two Suburban Roads Upgrade packages as public-private partnerships into a multi-contract ‘$2.2 billion road construction blitz’.
Roads Australia President Michael Bushby said today the shortlisted consortium members were understandably very disappointed that the program would not go ahead as originally planned.
“It is important that the Victorian Government does not allow this decision to undermine business confidence in its transport infrastructure program,” Mr Bushby said.
“The Suburban Roads Upgrade program was designed to deliver early benefits for road users from accelerated road improvements, and it is important these benefits are not lost.
“This late change of approach by the Victorian Government now offers the parties an opportunity to acknowledge the state of the industry and reset the dial to ensure future projects are delivered in a sustainable way.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the recent national infrastructure boom in the number and size of transport projects has revealed major issues in the way traditional projects are delivered.
“These issues must be addressed if governments are to get best value for money and industry is to get the best use of its capital and people.
“It will require coordinated action by both industry and government. Indeed, one of the issues to emerge has been too little collaboration between industry and government, especially in the early stages of the procurement process.
“For the wider industry, it is important that proposed suburban roads upgrades and the announced COVID economic recovery projects proceed quickly with positive, collaborative changes in the way procurement is undertaken on these multi-billion dollar infrastructure programs.
“Industry acknowledges that the Victorian Level Crossing Removal Project has been a collaborative model that ensured governments got great value for the infrastructure spend, while ensuring contractors, consultants and suppliers of all sizes were able to undertake the work required.
“This revised approach should provide wider opportunities for all contractors and suppliers.&rdquo
Mr Bushby also said that while it was disappointing that COVID-19 had led to delays in awarding tenders, such as the Suburban Roads Upgrade, it had also initiated a massive Federal/state infrastructure spend.
“It is imperative that the revised tenders for the Suburban Roads Upgrade and other economic stimulus projects needed to be implemented quickly and managed effectively.
“The measure of success of this new initiative will be how quickly these collaborative projects can be brought to market and how well industry adapts to the challenge”, said Mr Bushby.