On Tuesday the standing committee on infrastructure, transport and cities will hear about the challenges and opportunities facing the construction industry to deliver government infrastructure projects over the next decade.
In a statement, committee chair and NSW MP John Alexander said he recognised that the government’s $110 billion infrastructure for the next 10 years would strain the local construction industry.
“While the major infrastructure projects in the pipeline will play an important part in Australia’s economic recovery, the committee recognises that it will also place considerable demands on the construction industry and may exacerbate challenges the industry is already facing, including productivity and skill shortages,” Alexander said.
According to the hearing terms of reference, the committee will consider the existing infrastructure pipelines and supply requirements for Australia’s construction industry; the limitations of current frameworks, standards, rules and norms; alternative procurement models; and compare infrastructure approaches in other jurisdictions locally and overseas, as well as other industries.
“The key focus of this inquiry is how to improve procurement practices for government-funded infrastructure,” Alexander said.
“Through strategic, effective and efficient procurement practices, governments can: help ensure the delivery of quality projects and value for money; drive important industry changes; and maximise opportunities for Australian businesses.”
The Tasmanian government is among one of the state governments to make a submission to the hearing, with the Tasmanian infrastructure and transport minister Michael Ferguson saying that the inquiry terms of reference were aligned with local initiatives to improve his government’s approach to infrastructure delivery.
Ferguson said that Tasmania’s own 10 year infrastructure pipeline had committed to early market engagement so that industry could inform the government’s best procurement options for each major project. He also said this helped the government infidelity supply chains, and get feedback on market capacity to deliver.
“We have committed to industry peak bodies that we consider improvements to current planning and regulatory challenges,” Ferguson’s submission read.
“We are currently leading work with industry representatives on better ways to get projects to market and ‘reduce red tape’ through addressing planning and regulatory barriers, and will be investigating a whole of government approach to reforming the local legislative requirements and statutory approval process for construction activities.”
Starting from October 5, the committee will hear from industry leaders, peak bodies and stakeholder groups regarding issues and cultural change that must be addressed in Australia’s construction industry. A panel session on 14 October will then explore technology and digital themes with these same groups.
Alexander said he looked forward to collaborating with relevant stakeholders to help grow Australia’s sovereign industry capability.