The Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) of Victoria today welcomed the Victorian Government’s Building Equality Policy (BEP) as an important step toward securing the sovereign industrial capabilities required to deliver the state’s $160 billion infrastructure pipeline.

An Australia-first, the BEP will drive greater gender diversity within in the industry by mandating female representation in at least three per cent of each trade role, seven per cent of each non-trade position and 35 per cent of management, supervisor and specialist labour roles.

Click here to see the State Government Media Release.

Designed to disrupt gender stereotypes and foster equality in Australia’s most male dominated industry, Chief Executive Officer of CCF Victoria, John Kilgour, said the mandates would help Victoria continue to develop a more diverse and innovative skilled labour market.

“CCF Victoria is a proud contributor and instigator of proactive initiatives and programs when it comes to addressing wellbeing, time of life, diversity and sustainability in the civil infrastructure sector,” said Kilgour.

“These initiatives and programs, such as our ‘Positive Plans, Positive Futures’ that helps develop mentally healthy workplaces to offer positive environment for a diverse workforce, are continually assessed and refined to ensure they meet the needs of our members, their workforce, government and the broader Victorian community.

“We also offer a suite of support and development programs, such as our Women in Civil networking events, the CCF Foresite Program supporting third year civil engineering undergraduates and our industry RTO, Civil Train, with women filling 13% of students within the program, a level which exceeds government quotas,” he said.

With Victoria’s Big Build infrastructure program set to face projected skilled labour shortfalls in coming years, Kilgour said it was incumbent upon government and industry to work with universities, TAFEs and training providers to actively grow the breadth and depth of industry’s skilled talent pool.

“Victoria’s ability to deliver its ambitious infrastructure agenda is contingent on an ongoing and comprehensive labour market expansion plan, centred around developing the next generation of prospective engineers, builders, labourers and administrative and support staff.

“The implementation of enforceable gender mandates sends a clear signal to the industry that diversity is central to efforts to shore up the demand side of the labour market in relation to growing female participation’” he said. “However, it is essential that these efforts are supported by supply-side initiatives that actively target, educate and incentivise young women to choose a career in construction and civil engineering.”

The new requirements are being introduced through Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework (SPF) for works valued at $20 million or more over the life of the project, commencing with a two-year transitional implementation period and action on non-compliance to kick in from January 2024.

“We need to make women aware that construction is an attractive and viable career option – and these targets will ensure women are proactively included and stay in the industry, with stronger career pathways,” said Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan.

“Greater diversity makes our workplaces stronger – and greater representation of women in construction will benefit everyone in the industry,” she said.

In effect from 1 January 2022, the BEP also mandates that four per cent of labour hours for apprentices and trainees will be required to be performed by women.

The policy includes $3.5 million to support the implementation of the policy and a further $1.5 million for the delivery of medium and long-term actions from the Women in Construction Strategy 2019-22.