A nationwide survey of members of the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) has concluded that the civil infrastructure sector is ready to take on more projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey found that the sector had the capacity to increase its pipeline of civil infrastructure works, to employ thousands more workers and stimulate the economy.
Civil Contractors Federation National undertook a nationwide COVID-19 CCF Member Survey of civil construction companies to obtain feedback and data on the business impact of COVID-19, the ability for companies to tender for more civil construction projects, and their likelihood to employ more workers.
Chris Melham, Chief Executive Officer of CCF National, said the survey results demonstrated that civil construction companies, particularly those operating at the Tier 2, Tier 3, and below, had “significant capacity” to assist the Federal Government achieve its goals of supporting the economy and to keep people employed during the unprecedented economic conditions.
“The survey sends a powerful message to the Federal Government that the civil infrastructure sector is ready to lead the economic recovery if Governments inject more money into the sector for new projects,” Mr Melham said.
“I have previously written to the Prime Minister recommending that he bring forward spending from the already committed 10-year $100 billion infrastructure program – this spending is not a cost it’s an investment.”
92 per cent of respondents advised they would have the capacity to tender for new projects up to $50 million, if governments allocated funds for civil construction works covering: road, rail, bridges, ports, utilities, power, water, telecommunications, and other local civil projects.
64 per cent of companies indicated they would need to employ additional workers if they were successful in tendering for additional projects, and a further 29 per cent indicated they would consider employing more workers.
“It is important however that these projects are spread across as many Tier 2, Tier 3 and below companies across Australia to ensure widespread benefits can flow from any stimulus investment,” Mr Melham said.
“Particularly in rural and regional communities where infrastructure investment can deliver a significant multiplier effect to those local economies in the form of employment, training and community spending.”
Civil Contractors Federation National has provided the survey results and the survey’s five recommendations to the Federal Government to encourage it to broaden and strengthen its stimulus approach by harnessing the capacity of the civil construction sector to take on more projects and employ more Australian workers.
The survey recommendations are as follows:
Recommendation 1: That the Federal Government increase the level of infrastructure investment in the immediate term by bringing forward its ten-year $100 billion infrastructure investment fund and by using debt funding to increase the level beyond $100 billion in the post COVID-19 period.
Recommendation 2: That additional project monies be allocated in a fair and equitable manner across all jurisdictions.
Recommendation 3: That the Federal Government develop and release a public agency supplier payment policy as a matter of urgency as a form of injecting cash into the civil construction supply chain by ensuring the immediate payment of all outstanding claims and prompt payment of all future claims.
Recommendation 4: That the Federal Government adopt a procurement policy that incorporates disaggregation of major projects to provide an opportunity for Tier 2 companies to tender, for example, through joint venture arrangements.
Recommendation 5: That the Federal Government consider as a matter of urgency reforms to contracts and the procurement policy/process aimed at achieving a more balanced approach to risk allocation and the development of collaborative contracts.
The survey is available here.