From the CEO’s Desk
Hard as it is to believe, tomorrow will see the first of RA’s Annual Lunches held, as we welcome South Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Corey Wingard MP as our guest speaker in Adelaide.
For many parts of Australia, 2021 has again been dominated by interruptions and restrictions due to COVID. As a result, there have been limited opportunities to attend in-person networking events.
After what’s been another extraordinary and challenging year, I think we can agree everyone in our industry deserves a celebratory event to reconnect and enjoy the company of colleagues and friends.
Although I’m sorry that some remaining restrictions will prevent me from personally attending all our Annual Lunches this year, I’m nonetheless thrilled that we are able to hold them in each state and territory over the next month.
If you haven’t yet booked your seat, I’d encourage you to do so quickly, as places are filling up.
We look forward to welcoming you and celebrating another year of achievement for our industry.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian project wins global recognition
The International Road Federation’s (IRF) World Meeting & Exhibition has concluded in Dubai, with the four day event having a heavy focus on sustainability initiatives and new mobility services.
The event included the announcement of the Global Road Achievement Awards, with the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project declared the winner in the Program Management category.
This project was undertaken by Pacific Complete, a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and WSP, who partnered with Transport for NSW to deliver the 129-kilometre upgrade. The award recognises that despite major challenges including bushfires, floods and COVID, the project team’s skillful management ensured the project opened to traffic in 2020.
Making time for life
The Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) has now commenced industry consultation on the third and final pillar of its proposed Culture Standard, looking at ways to make certain our workforce has adequate time to rest and pursue life activities outside of work.
The Time for Life pillar of the Culture Standard responds to excessive and inflexible work hours that are endemic in construction today. This has resulted in significantly higher rates of worker dissatisfaction compared with the general population.
The Time for Life pillar will seek to turn this around with a focus on looking after workers and their families by breathing life into the work-life balance, creating a sector that more people want to work in and delivers better outcomes for the economy.
You can now have your say through the CICT’s virtual consultation hub through questionnaires and surveys that will help shape the Time for Life pillar, alongside the Wellbeing and Diversity and Inclusion pillars that have been open for consultation since last month.
The consultation period ends on 30 November.
Peter Woronzow has been formally appointed to the role of Director General of the Department of Transport for Western Australia, having been acting in the role since March 2020. The WA government has announced he will concurrently hold the roles of Commissioner of Main Roads WA and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Transport Authority. Peter has more than 40 years of experience in the transport sector and has been a frequent speaker at Roads Australia’s industry events in Perth.
Philip Morgan has been appointed Market Leader – Transport at GHD. Based in Perth, Philip first joined GHD four years ago and has an extensive professional background in the delivery of transport infrastructure projects in Australia and internationally.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has announced that Heidi Cooper will become the organisation’s new CEO, taking up the role from February next year. Heidi is currently Head of Corporate Affairs & Strategic Projects with Transurban.
Diversity & Inclusion
We all know that our industry confronts a challenge around mental health, with job stress a major contributing factor. Our 2021 RA Fellows have been working to help develop practical approaches that can address this issue.
Throughout this year, Fellows have collected work demand data using qualitative and quantitative data collection tools to assess the potential effectiveness of job re-design options that may help alleviate workplace stress.
Late last week, our Fellows presented their findings during a multi-site event which celebrated their successful completion of the RA Fellowship program and welcomed our 2022 RA Fellows.
The video below is taken from the winning project and features participants explaining some of the productivity and wellbeing benefits they derived from the trial of job re-design options on the Ovingham Level Crossing Removal project in South Australia.
You can see the details of all our 2021 RA Fellows’ projects here
Remember, if you have news or achievements in the D&I space to share with our readers, please send details through to Prue Northey at RA.
It was great to be joined by a wide audience of designers, constructors, owners and maintainers of integrated transport infrastructure at this week’s RA policy webinar on digital engineering (DE).
DE technologies and processes offer a host of potential benefits in the delivery and maintenance of integrated transport infrastructure – and yet adoption is below that of other sectors within the economy. Our panel of subject matter experts explored some of the reasons behind this – and how industry participants can be better engaged.
Key points that featured in the discussion were the need for accessible DE platforms and consistent data standards to promote interoperability and enhancing digital skills across the workforce – not just for those directly engaged in project design and delivery, but also at the receiving end, so that decision makers can properly understand and interpret information presented via DE platforms.
Keep an eye out for our forthcoming Policy Insights piece which will provide further information and set out how RA plans to engage in this space to help accelerate DE uptake across the industry.
Construction is now underway on the Parkes Bypass in NSW, with this week’s sod turning ceremony marking the official commencement of the three year program of works jointly funded by the Federal and NSW governments and being managed by by RA member Georgiou. The works will deliver a 10.5-kilometre western bypass of Parkes, as well as bridges over existing rail lines and connections to the Parkes Special Activation Precinct to leverage the Inland Rail project.
EOIs are being sought to deliver two major components of the Melbourne Airport Rail project – the Airport Package and the Viaduct Package. The first package will involve the delivery of a new station at Melbourne Airport and other rail infrastructure in the immediate surrounds, while the Viaduct Package entails construction of a new rail bridge over the Western Ring Road (M80), continuing into an elevated viaduct along Airport Drive. Both EOIs close on 17 December.
To Queensland, where the first contract has been awarded for the Gold Coast’s Coomera Connector. A joint venture between RA members Acciona and Georgiou, with WSP and BG&E as designers, will work to deliver enabling works and finalise the design for the project’s Stage 1 North, between Coomera and Helensvale. The project is intended to relieve pressure on the M1 by providing alternative crossings for the Coomera and Nerang rivers. Coomera Connector Stage 1 (which will be delivered in three works packages) is around 16 km long, with construction on Stage 1 North expected to commence in mid-2022.
Heading west, major construction has commenced on the Great Eastern Highway Bypass Interchanges project in Perth. Delivery is being undertaken by the Greater Connect Alliance, comprising RA members Laing O’Rourke, AECOM and Arcadis, in partnership with Main Roads WA. When completed in 2024, the project is expected to save users around 10 minutes in peak hour journey times, support growing commercial developments in the region and enhance active transport infrastructure by completing the ‘missing link’ in 30km shared path between Midland and Jandakot.
With EVs still a major focus as the COP26 Climate Change Conference wraps up, a new study from Arcadis highlights just how far Australia has to travel if EVs are to support national decarbonisation efforts. The Global Electric Vehicle Catalyst Index 2021 released this week ranks Australia last or second-last across critical measures considered central to driving EV transition, including government leadership and incentives, EV market maturity, and EV charging infrastructure.
ARRB and OmniGrip Direct have received funding support from Sustainability Victoria for a year long project that is examining whether recycled crushed glass can be blended with other aggregates to provide road surfaces with higher skid-resistance than conventional surfaces. It is hoped the project will facilitate circular economy opportunities by making use of materials otherwise destined for landfill.
Healthy Heads Trucks & Sheds, a non-profit that aims to improve the wellbeing for Australian drivers and shed workers, are looking for truck drivers and shed workers to give feedback on an app they’re working on. Interested parties can record their interest in taking part here – and selected participants will be asked to take part in a 45-60 minute video call.
Remember, if your organisation has news to share with the readers of RA Insider, please send details through to Simon Morgan
How do we improve highway safety and use cooperative traffic systems to avoid traffic congestion? Technology companies such as Nokia see vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications as a key contributor to the solution.
Nokia is developing a roadside cloud solution that combines multi-access edge computing (MEC) with 3GPP-based cellular networks (such as LTE) and static roadside equipment such as surveillance cameras. This helps put roadside storage and data processing where it is most needed to support ultra-responsive roadside services such as vulnerable road user warnings. It also supports distributed analytics for applications such as hazardous road condition warnings.
This week Nokia was joined by the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, as it opened a 5G Futures Lab at the University of Technology Sydney Tech Lab. This is expected to bring campus-wide 5G coverage to test other potential 5G use cases.
Upcoming RA Events
30 November – RA Industry Webinar with Tony Braxton-Smith and Susana Fueyo Suarez. Bookings now open. Sponsored by McConnell Dowell
2021 RA Annual Lunches
19 November – RA Adelaide Annual Lunch with Hon. Corey Wingard MP.