IA review is a chance to reinvigorate sector productivity

Roads Australia (RA) has released its submission to the independent review of Infrastructure Australia (IA), which makes several recommendations that would enhance cross-jurisdictional planning, allow the transport infrastructure sector to be more productive and deliver a wider range of benefits to the community.

“The advice that IA provides, when acted upon by government agencies, can lead to important economic and social benefits for the infrastructure sector and the wider community,” said RA CEO Michael Kilgariff.

“Yet, the delivery of the nation’s massive pipeline of transport projects currently faces multiple challenges, including significant supply chain constraints, rapidly increasing costs for materials and an extremely tight labour market with skills shortages.”

“Improved productivity of the infrastructure sector is crucial and requires a collaborative effort across governments, industry and the community. IA has a pivotal role in championing and delivering these outcomes – and RA’s submission to this independent review sets out how that can be done.”

“As one example, IA’s Infrastructure Priority List identifies currently unfunded nationally significant proposals. While this information is valuable, it does not in itself constitute a forward pipeline of work upon which industry can make informed decisions regarding contracting opportunities, skills and resourcing.”

“There are currently multiple project pipelines across jurisdictions, including at a national level. With the present level of investment, the supply chain challenges and skills scarcity issues, it would be beneficial for there to be a nationally coordinated forward project pipeline. Our submission recommends this could be undertaken by IA in partnership with the states and territories.”

“As part of this, we have also recommended that IA expands its excellent work around market capacity to focus on specific sectors in more detail, which will enable governments and industry to monitor labour workforce supply and demand for skills in high demand transport areas and plan accordingly. This will be increasingly important as digital technology plays an increased role in design and asset maintenance.”

“Attracting and retaining people from diverse backgrounds and experiences will be critical to ensuring our sector has a viable workforce for the future. RA’s submission recommends that IA be tasked with developing a national approach and framework for the inclusion of social outcomes in procurement. This would include the development of measures and assessment criteria to assist industry in transparency about these requirements.”

“When the right transport infrastructure is built and maintained properly it can produce significant productivity improvements for the whole economy. But we also need to ensure that the construction and maintenance of that infrastructure is itself benefiting from improved productivity.”

“The recommendations RA has put forward to the independent review of IA will enable industry to deliver productivity improving projects more efficiently. At the same time, they will enhance the capacity and long-term viability of our industry’s workforce by allowing it to become more skilled and diverse.”

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