Australia’s peak voice for the civil construction industry, the Civil Contractors Federation National (CCF), appeared and provided evidence today before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities into its Procurement of Federally Funded Infrastructure Inquiry.

CCF National Chief Executive Officer Christopher Melham highlighted the need for greater collaboration between industry and government to achieve a more efficient, equitable, and competitive procurement framework and a more sustainable construction sector by providing greater opportunity for tier 2, 3 and 4 head contractors.

Mr. Melham said it was critical that a formal consultative mechanism be established involving key civil industry representative bodies, federal and state government infrastructure and policy agencies, to progress much-needed procurement and policy reform.

“As I outlined today, there would be significant value in establishing a formal mechanism, such as a ‘Civil Infrastructure Consultative Forum’ to facilitate a two-way dialogue between industry and government on critical civil infrastructure matters such as investment, procurement and enhanced skills development and training. Federal, State/Territory Governments and the private sector are collectively investing more than $60 billion per annum into civil infrastructure – a more coordinated effort between industry and government would maximize the return to the Australian economy of this significant capital investment program”, Melham said.

“The CCF is also advocating for a more balanced approach to project allocation to the respective Tiers with a clear appreciation that Tier 1’s are required for certain risk profile projects, and significant ‘balance-sheet’ projects. But a more sustainable level of project allocation is required for Tier 2, 3, 4 and below which will result in additional benefits to the community including, higher local employment opportunities, increased and upskilled local workforce, higher economic growth in the local community, and improving Australia’s sovereign capability”, he said.

Mr. Melham said CCF National’s recent report Rebuilding Australia, A Plan for a Civil Infrastructure Led Recovery, identified procurement reform as a key priority for government and provides key recommendations.

“I also highlighted today the importance of infrastructure investment running in parallel with training, education and up-skilling funding in the civil infrastructure sector. This can be achieved in the vey short term by reinstating civil occupations on the National Skills Needs List at a classification level that would ensure apprentices, employers and training providers become eligible for grants and funding under the Commonwealth Government’s flagship program, the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.

“CCF National looks forward to the outcomes of the Inquiry and will provide further information to the Committee as a result of today’s hearing”, Melham concluded.

For further information: Mr Duncan Sheppard, Senior Policy and Communications Advisor, 0438 330 039