A FEW CIVIL WORDS
30 March 2021
New Secretary for Transport for NSW an Insightful Appointment
The New South Wales Government has appointed a new head of Transport for NSW. This follows the departure of Mr Rod Staples wherein the NSW Minister for Transport the Hon. Andrew Constance MP said the organisation needed to move in a “new direction”.
CCF NSW welcomes the appointment of Mr Rob Sharp as the new Secretary, commencing 7th April. Mr Sharp has over 30 years of customer, commercial and operational experience and was most recently the CEO of Virgin Australia Airlines.
Minister Constance said to media when announcing the appointment “Mr Sharp is the perfect person to lead the agency in a new direction with his experience in performing successful business turnarounds and transformational change.”
CCF NSW Chief Executive David Castledine said “This is an insightful appointment, and is very welcome. We have been extremely concerned about the volume and split of contract sizes coming out of Transport NSW since the restructure with RMS in 2018.
“Given civil construction work is so critical for the NSW economy, any lost opportunity to conduct that work is especially painful. We could, and should, be in a far better place than we are right now” said Mr Castledine.
Research CCF NSW commissioned in late 2020 and conducted by leading economic researcher BIS Oxford Economics quantified the enormity of the situation facing our industry.
Mr Castledine explained “The massive reduction in contract values being released by Transport for NSW in FY19 and FY20 – over 50% less in dollar terms than was released in FY18 – has hurt the industry badly.
“At a time when the new contracts should be sharply escalating to meet the planned increasing pipeline of works, a contraction of 50% is bitterly disappointing.
Fig 1: Estimated State Funded Transport Commencements by Project Size Bracket (BISOE Nov 21)
“We have been expressing our concerns over this reduced activity to the Minister’s office for some time. The organisation must ensure contracts of all sizes get out the door quickly. Our industry, which directly employs over 200,000 people in NSW, will not be sustainable unless it gets work.
“A change in direction that places this as a priority will be most welcome” said Mr Castledine.
At a meeting with the Minister on 29th March, Mr Castledine congratulated the Government on the appointment of Mr Sharp. The Minister stressed he was very focused on ensuring the industry was listened to, and that he wanted ‘relationships’ to be front and centre of the way Transport for NSW does business.
The Minister offered to organise a meeting with himself, CCF NSW and the Secretary shortly after he commenced.
“Bringing a private industry expert into the State’s largest procurer of civil infrastructure is an excellent step.
“The first 100 days in office will be critical for the new Secretary, and we will do whatever we can to ensure he is fully briefed on what the industry is concerned with, and on what steps can be taken to maximise the extraordinary pipeline of work we have before us in New South Wales” said Mr Castledine.
Chief Executive Officer