New Roads Australia Survey Results
A new Roads Australia (RA) survey has recently been carried out of 166 senior private and public sector executive involved in transport infrastructure across Australia, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The survey results demonstrated that more than a third of industry respondents claimed the crisis was affecting capacity to deliver current projects (37%), while 40% of respondents said it was too early to tell. It was also creating uncertainty, particularly with future project timing and funding.
35% said there was an issue about immediate availability of staff, 10% were concerned about the availability of subcontractors and 7% expressed concern about plant and equipment. Other concerns were border and travel restrictions; loss of revenue; working from home lower productivity; unavailability of clients and key personnel; lack of availability of health protection measures such as hand sanitisers and toilet paper.
RA President, Michael Bushby, said, “In the short-term, the infrastructure industry needs to be recognised as an ‘essential service’ to allow construction work to continue and maintain the momentum for improved transport. Maintenance and network operations staff also need to be able to continue doing their jobs to support freight and other essential services that use roads and rail.”
He claimed that face-to-face collaboration was traditionally key to delivery of major transport projects. However RA members are attempting to adapt using technology to conduct non face to face meetings.
Members also expressed concern about the long-term surety of current federal government pipelines.
“Transport infrastructure projects can’t be readily switched on and off, so it is vital industry has confidence that project pipelines will continue over forecasted periods,” Mr Bushby said, and sought reassurance from States and Commonwealth that state and federal governments would remain committed to project pipelines.
Mr Bushby added that RA would be sharing the survey results with governments and seeking responses to some of the practical impediments raised by respondents.
Roads Australia is requesting the government:
- Reduce payment terms to contractors to help them maintain their cash flows and pay their employees on time
- Provide assurances of their commitment to long-term pipelines so industry can plan and invest in capacity to support an economic recovery and deliver the next wave of infrastructure.