The Western Australian Government has approved new measures to streamline construction contract approval processes and expedite $140 million of road and maritime projects.
The measures aim to protect Western Australian jobs and create more opportunities for local businesses amidst the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WA Government focused on streamlining the process for awarding contracts for transport construction projects up to a value of $20 million.
The new state-wide Construction Panel Contract will include buying rules, designed to minimise the costs of tendering for companies, and maximise the spread of work among small and medium sized contractors.
In addition, expediting the delivery of road and maritime projects through the new Construction Panel aims to assist contractors to plan and program works, save time and costs, whilst helping give local businesses certainty and retain local workers.
Up to $140 million of transport projects will also be expedited under the panel, saving jobs and protecting the future contracting capacity of local Western Australian businesses.
It is expected more than 1,000 local jobs across the 24 projects will be brought forward.
The panel arrangements will also be considered for use as future projects come online, to ensure quicker project delivery and provide more opportunities for small to medium sized contractors.
In addition, Main Roads is fast-tracking the tendering process for a number of large-scale road projects, worth $2.37 billion and estimated to create 13,000 jobs.
- Bunbury Outer Ring Road – (budget $852 million) – 4,500 jobs
- Leach Highway Welshpool Road Interchange – (budget $93 million) – 600 jobs
- Stephenson Avenue (Stirling) – (budget $125 million) – 800 jobs
- Fremantle Traffic Bridge – (budget $230 million) – 1,400 jobs
- Roe Highway/Great Eastern Highway/Abernethy Road – (budget $180 million) – 1,200 jobs
- Albany Ring Road (budget $175 million) – 1,000 jobs
- Great Northern Hwy Ord River North Stage 3 & 4 (budget $89 million) – 600 jobs
- Lloyd Street Extension (budget $40 million) – 280 jobs
- Tonkin Highway Gap project (budget $290 million) – 1,050 jobs
- Mitchell Freeway Extension to Romeo Road (budget $215 million) – 1,200 jobs
- Mitchell Freeway Hodges Drive to Hepburn Avenue widening (budget $76 million) – 530 jobs
WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said that major projects would be a key part of the state’s economic recovery post the COVID-pandemic.
“It’s important we do everything we can to support our local businesses, so they are in the best position to continue to employ West Australians,” Mr McGowan said.
“These works will not only support and save local jobs, they will also provide much needed upgrades on road sites across the state.”
WA Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said, “We understand the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on industry and are committed to working together to support local businesses and support local jobs.
“The proposed buying rules were underway prior to the current COVID-19 emergency, however given the current climate, they are being amended to further reduce tendering costs and provide more opportunities for local businesses to win government contracts.
“This new panel will fast track major road and maritime infrastructure projects, worth up to $20 million, to support small and mid-tier businesses and save local jobs.”
Infrastructure Australia endorses two WA rail projects
In another win for the Western Australian transport sector, Infrastructure Australia has added two major WA rail infrastructure projects to its Infrastructure Priority List.
The two METRONET projects – the Morley-Ellenbrook Line and High Capacity Signalling System – are expected to create more than 9,000 job opportunities and provide a boost to the economy.
The Federal Government has committed $2.5 billion for network-shaping METRONET projects. The new work involves 70km of new heavy passenger rail and up to 18 new rail stations.
This includes a $500 million commitment to the jointly funded Morley-Ellenbrook Line project, which will deliver 21km of rail line to improve connectivity and productivity for locals living in the north of Perth
The Capacity Signalling System project is designed to improve the performance of the current rail network by allowing trains to run more often, reliably and safely.
Construction on the Morley-Ellenbrook Line is expected to get underway in early 2021 and reach completion in 2023-24.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said it was now more important than ever to provide the safe and efficient transport connections needed for all of Australia to start moving again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, said adding the projects to the list meant the game-changing elements of METRONET were a step closer.
“METRONET will get cars off the road, bust congestion, connect communities to jobs and services and unlock opportunities for business growth in the region,” Mr Tudge said.