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Ahead of the 2022 election, Consult Australia has called upon the next federal government to adopt its seven key policy recommendations, advocating for reforms in the infrastructure sector.

Consult Australia is the industry association representing consulting businesses in design, advisory and engineering.

According to Consult Australia, Australia’s economic future relies heavily on delivering record investment in infrastructure as well as stimulating private sector investment in other areas. 

To achieve this, it said there needs to be a strong ecosystem of productive businesses, ready to take the lead on innovation and collaboration. 

Consult Australia’s proposals span across statutory reforms to fix the insurance market, procurement practices, skills, and mental health. 

As acknowledged by Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, Consult Australia and other industry groups and leaders have called for reform over many years. 

Consult Australia said reform is now more urgent than ever because of the diminishing health of the industry as a whole and the size and scale of the demand especially in infrastructure. 

Consult Australia’s recommendations are:

  1. De-risking for delivery – Introduce a range of statutory reforms to de-risk the market. This will dramatically reduce the level of disputation and bring some balance back to the professional indemnity insurance market
  2. Collaboration as culture – Embrace and embed collaboration as the cultural norm in contract design and tendering approaches. This will significantly reduce the imbalance between contracting parties and provide a more collaborative, productive environment with all parties focussed on successful project delivery
  3. ‘Go slow to go fast’ – Adopt and support a ‘go slow to go fast’ approach, where the emphasis in project development is placed on preliminary due diligence to enhance project outcomes. This will deliver better projects and minimise cost and time overruns that currently mar projects, particularly infrastructure projects
  4. Smarter pipeline of projects – Adopt and support an approach to the pipeline of projects that provides certainty to the industry and increases accessibility for small and medium businesses. This will deliver benefits to productivity (both industry and government), workforce planning and regional participation
  5. Digital by default – Drive innovation by committing to and pushing for digital investment at all stages and on all projects so businesses, particularly small businesses, have the confidence to do the same
  6. Thinking smarter about skills – Invest in a range of initiatives to tackle the deepening skills shortage in engineering and related professions. This will maintain world class design, engineering and advisory services for Australia and boost productivity by job growth and high employment participation
  7. Striving for a mentally healthy industry – Champion model behaviours both as a regulator and a client to support the vitality of our industry. This will ensure we have sustainable businesses with healthy and productive people at the heart

More information about Consult Australia’s election priorities can be found on its website here.

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