Roads Australia recognises the need to champion a diverse, inclusive, sustainable and values-led organisation and industry.
An essential element of that commitment is proactively seeking ways to provide economic opportunities for groups in our community who may traditionally have found our industry inaccessible.
This week, I was pleased to be invited by The Hon Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Australians to take part in an Industry Roundtable to support the development of a National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation.
The Roundtable brought together representatives of 24 organisations engaged in the delivery of infrastructure to discuss current initiatives, strategies and programs to increase Indigenous participation, as well as the lessons learnt and barriers to progress.
During the conversations, I was pleased to highlight some of the work RA has been engaged with around procurement reform, and particularly recommendations around social procurement contained in the RA Procurement Reform Report. Indigenous participation in the transport infrastructure industry should be recognised and promoted as the benchmark for all in the industry to meet.
I'm continually impressed by the innovative ways that so many RA members are collaborating to enhance the diversity of our industry's workforce.
See the Diversity & Inclusion section of this week's RA Insider for another case study of how this industry is successfully creating opportunities for others in our community.
Stay well and safe
Chief Executive Officer
WestConnex Sale Will Deliver Transport Dividends
Roads Australia has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement that its remaining share of WestConnex has been acquired by the Sydney Transport Partners consortium.
RA has consistently noted that the involvement of the private sector in designing, constructing, financing, operating and maintaining toll roads has facilitated the capture of the benefits of innovation, leading to better project and community outcomes.
As the statement from RA President Michael Bushby said, Transport for NSW, WestConnex and Transurban are all valued members of Roads Australia, and we look forward to engaging with them as work continues to deliver the remaining stages of the WestConnex project.
Two further Inland Rail agreements progressed
ARTC Inland Rail has announced details of two further collaborative framework agreements involving RA members.
Freight Connect (a consortium led by Laing O’Rourke) will focus on an approximately 85km section between North Star in New South Wales and Whetstone in Queensland, as well as a separate 14km package south of Moree called Narrabri to North Star Phase 2.
The consortium will work with ARTC to review the reference design and develop construction plans and methodologies ahead of the development of a fully costed proposal for the first of the works packages next year.
ARTC Inland Rail has also confirmed the ACACPB Joint Venture, a 50-50 joint venture formed by CIMIC Group's CPB Contractors and ACCIONA Construction Australia will be the delivery partner for Inland Rail’s southern civil works program. The works will entail 306 kilometres of new track formation and include bulk earthworks, drainage, bridge/viaduct structures, materials and logistics management.
Both consortiums will now seek partnerships with businesses and skilled operators that can support project delivery.
This week's RA Transport Reform Policy Webinar, Shifting Gears: Modernising the way we use, manage & pay for roads considered how to address the challenge of hastening EV uptake, while also ensuring access to a revenue base that will support the construction and maintenance of high quality road infrastructure.
The webinar was generously sponsored by Q-Free, and their CEO Håkon Volldal joined us from Norway to share insights, noting that country’s astonishing success in promoting EV uptake. In 2020, 74.8% of new vehicle sales in Norway were EVs, against less than 1% in Australia. Norway has achieved this through generous incentives including zero tax on EVs and heavy discounts on tolls, insurance, registration and parking.
He noted the flip side of this success as severely declining revenues available to government to fund road infrastructure, and the need to change community mindsets from a focus on ‘what’ you drive to a charging regime based on ‘where’ and ‘when’ you drive. Q-Free has developed technology that will be piloted in Norway later this year that will allow direct comparison of road user charges under the ‘old’ and ‘new’ models.
Closer to home, Jonathan Spear, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, Infrastructure Victoria outlined key recommendations in Victoria’s 30-year Infrastructure Strategy that can help develop a more equitable and sustainable road user charging regime. This includes an eventual expansion of the road user charge recently introduced for EVs in Victoria to all vehicles, coupled with congestion charges and discounted off-peak travel on public transport.
Mandi Mees, Head of Program and Partnerships at the National Transport Commission and Deputy Chair, RA Transport Reform Policy Stream noted some welcome progress around reduced emissions intensity from vehicles in Australia, albeit from a low base. Australians are still inclined to purchase larger vehicles (compared with Europeans), although increased EV model choice in our market may start to change this. Mandi also touched on road user charges for heavy vehicles, noting the unique equity challenges involved in shifting to a distance-based model in that market.
RA's Policy Webinars are a great way to stay connected to conversations about the trends and issues that are shaping our industry. Keep an eye on RA Insider in the coming weeks as we release Policy Insights from some of our recent webinars that will help you stay engaged with developments.
At Aurecon, Managing Director – Energy, Resources & Water, Paul Gleeson is taking on the newly created role of Group Director, Sustainability. The additional role will see him growing the climate transition risk services business and managing Aurecon’s corporate sustainability transparency. At the same time, Aurecon has also appointed Scott Johnston as its new Principal Consultant, Transport. He has over 30 years of engineering experience, and an extensive background in infrastructure and civil construction works, including on major transport projects.
Alicia Fava has become Executive Director, Precincts, Planning & Assessment at Cross River Rail, focusing on the development of key precincts associated with Brisbane's Cross River Rail project. She has a significant background in the planning and delivery of infrastructure projects, including previous roles with Queensland's Department of Premier & Cabinet and Building Queensland.
Port of Melbourne CEO Brendan Bourke has announced he will retire from the role in mid-November after five years at the helm. He will be succeeded by Saul Cannon, who has held senior roles with Toll Group, Asciano and Telstra.
The Federal Government has awarded a major contract for the construction of the runway and taxiways at Western Sydney Airport to a joint venture between RA members CPB Contractors and ACCIONA. Construction of the 3.7 kilometere runway and its associated taxiways is now expected to commence in 2022, with the new airport slated to open in 2026.
The NSW Government has released its response to the Independent Panel's Interim Report on road classification and the transfer of regional roads to state ownership. The Panel - which includes RA CEO Michael Kilgariff - recommended that 391 kilometres of priority regional roads across eight Local Government Areas be prioritised for transfer to state ownership, and this has been accepted. Transport for NSW will now begin working with the relevant LGAs to give effect to the transfers. From next Monday, 27 September, all NSW councils will be invited to submit proposals for reclassifications in the main round.
In Victoria, the two week pause on construction activity in metropolitan Melbourne, the City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire has underscored the impending requirement for workers to show evidence to their employer of having had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to site on 5 October. There is a priority blitz on vaccinations for construction workers continuing until Sunday 26 September, including walk-up appointments (without a booking) available at key sites.
Also in Victoria, tenders have been invited for pre-qualified contractors to submit their expressions of interest for the Maribyrnong River Bridge Package as part of Melbourne Airport Rail. This package will entail construction of a new elevated twin track rail crossing of the Maribyrnong River to the west of and immediately adjacent to the existing Albion Viaduct, supporting both the Melbourne Airport Rail up and down tracks. The deadline is 5pm on 19 October.
Main Roads Western Australia has partnered with Anditi and iRAP to revolutionise road safety assessments with an approach which automatically detects road infrastructure data applied on 2,000km of roads across the state. The project analysed urban and rural roads using Anditi’s newly-developed Road.ai technology and 3D Web Portal, which enable the automated extraction and visualization of road safety attribute and asset data from Mobile LiDAR and 360 Degree Imagery. The technology captured median type and width, roadside objects, centreline rumble strips, intersection types, street lighting, trees, and property access points.
The latest research report from Arcadis - Supercharging Net Zero - simulates the urgent action required in order to bend the curve back towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. The research highlights the substantial commercial opportunities for private sector investors and energy companies that are committed to driving progress. It also underscores the public sector support required to catalyse these efforts.
Transurban is offering Linkt customers multiple chances to win prizes as part of its efforts to support the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. Prizes on offer for vaccinated Linkt customers will include two fully electric Hyundai Kona cars, a year's worth of free toll road travel, or a $100 toll credit. Prizes will be drawn in two stages, giving you multiple chances to win. The first stage is now open for entries, with winners to be announced in November 2021. There will be a second prize draw next year, allowing plenty of time for Linkt customers to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and put themselves in the running. Visit www.linkt.com.au to enter.
Remember, if your organisation has news to share with the readers of RA Insider, please send details through to Simon Morgan
Social procurement is becoming an increasingly important tool for our industry, as we seek to welcome those with diverse background and life experiences to our workforce. It is also an increasing focus for governments as they modernise their approach to procurement and expanding economic opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In early 2019, RA members Aurecon and Transurban came together with RMIT and Apricot Consulting to engage AbilityWorks Australia (AWA) in a shared value program integrating the work of AWA into their supply chain.
AWA employs over 150 full-time staff across four business units in wire and metal fabrication, digital technology, assembly and packaging, and logistics and fundraising. A significant majority of their workforce are those living with disability, or those socially excluded.
AWA was able to provide scalable manufacturing services in e-Tag production, as well as the development of new service lines in human-centred design consulting in construction and engineering.
The contracts have delivered significant commercial benefits for the participating organisations, as well as providing skills development opportunities for the AWA workforce. You can learn more by reading the case study.
Remember, if you have news or achievements in the D&I space to share with our readers, please send details through to Prue Northey at RA.
New RA events are continuing to roll out all the time. Check out our Events Calendar and keep an eye on our website www.roads.org.au to make sure you don't miss out on networking opportunities.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with all event enquires.
Upcoming Industry Events/Training
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