From the CEO’s Desk
Although COVID-19 will undoubtedly continue to dominate public discussion and industry thinking for some time to come, it has been encouraging to observe continuing signs of progress towards a COVIDSafe return to normality.
Earlier this week, RA was able to hold its first face-to-face event in Sydney since the beginning of the pandemic, as John Hardwick, Executive Director, Asset Management Branch, Transport for NSW joined us for dinner at Doltone House.
While COVIDSafe requirements necessitated some adjustments to our usual Single Table seating arrangements, it was nevertheless great to be able to offer RA members the chance to once again network in person, while also listening to insights from an industry leader.
RA is continuing to plan for a series of other in-person events as circumstances permit over the remainder of 2020 – we will keep you updated via email and the events section of our website.
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Earlier this week I distributed notice of the Roads Australia Annual General Meeting, which is being planned as an in-person event in Sydney on Friday 27 November 2020.
Should COVID-19 restrictions prevent the AGM being held in-person (or prevent some representatives from attending in-person), there will be an opportunity for member representatives to participate via Zoom.
The Roads Australia Constitution (S40) specifies that the President and half the elected Directors shall be up for election each year at the AGM. Nominations are now open for the Presidency and for three Director positions. Nominations for all vacant seats are expected from serving RA Board members.
If further nominations are received, a postal ballot will be held. Nomination forms need to be lodged by 13 October 2020 on the prescribed nomination form. Please contact me if you would like a nomination form.
The AGM will be followed by RA’s Sydney Annual Lunch. Given COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a limited number of places available and registrations for the lunch will open soon.
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It’s always good to welcome new members to Roads Australia – and I’m pleased to announce that Ausgroup Alliance have recently joined us.
Ausgroup Alliance are a company specialising in development, fabrication and delivery of all types of architectural facades, cladding and noise walls on projects across the country – many of which are made using recycled products.
RA looks forward to having Ausgroup Alliance actively involved in our events and policy stream activities.
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Finally, I’d like to advise that Roads Australia has now welcomed Simon Morgan to the team as RA’s Director – Corporate Affairs. He comes to RA with a broad background in communications, government relations and policy, and was most recently Director of Government & Communications at the Australian Logistics Council in Canberra.
In his new role, Simon will have broad responsibility for all communications, branding and marketing activities at Roads Australia, and will work closely with the RA team to deliver on the four Strategic Values of Roads Australia (ie to be the Leader, Collaborator, Facilitator and Champion), as outlined in the Roads Australia Strategic Plan 2020-2022.
Simon is looking forward to the challenge of his new role and to engaging with RA members and stakeholders to advance recognition and support for RA.
As noted in the previous edition of RA Insider, our long-serving Communications Director Mark Bowmer will depart RA at the end of October, and Simon is now working with Mark to ensure a smooth transition.
Stay safe and well.
NSW projects fast-tracked
More than 30 new and fast-tracked health, education and transport and roads projects will be delivered across NSW within two years, as part of the NSW Government’s $3 billion Jobs and Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.
The Fund is part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which will include an accelerated $600m in funding for projects built in four separate fields: health, education, transport and roads worth $2.4 billion.
The transport related projects that will receive accelerated or additional funding over the next two years to fast track employment, include:
$28.2m Mamre Road Stage 1 (M4 Motorway to Erskine Park Road);$90m Spring Farm Parkway Stage 1; andAn initial $20m to start work on the Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore precinct. Project up to $76m (subject to further community consultation)
Infrastructure Victoria proposes new PT fare model
Infrastructure Victoria is proposing a new, variable fare structure that would provide discounts for travelling outside peak times and for choosing less crowded services, such as the currently under-used bus network or weekend trains.
The recommendation is set out in a new report – Fair Move: Better Public Transport Fares for Melbourne – which looks at how to make Victoria’s public transport system cheaper, safer and fairer in the short to medium term.
Infrastructure Victoria notes that modelling shows that by offering different price options depending on when and how people travel, public transport can be cheaper, safer and fairer for most travellers, especially those on low incomes.
EOIs sought for Walkerston Bypass construction
Construction companies are being invited to submit their interest in building the $150 million Walkerston Bypass in Queensland.
When complete, the bypass will provide a 10.6-kilometre link between the Bruce and Peak Downs highways, following Stockroute Road before deviating south at the western end and joining the Peak Downs Highway west of Walkerston.
The first 2.6 kilometres of the bypass has already been built as part of the Mackay Ring Road, which opened last week.
Perth City Deal set to enhance active transport
Active transport infrastructure in Perth is set to be enhanced by a new billion-dollar partnership between the Commonwealth Government, WA State Government and City of Perth.
The $1.5 billion City Deal will bring government and private investment into the CBD, creating almost 10,000 jobs while encouraging more people back into the city creating flow on economic benefits for small businesses.
As part of the City Deal, $105 million has been allocated to the Perth CBD Transport Plan to upgrade cycling and walking infrastructure, bus stop accessibility upgrades and enhance Roe Street.
The centrepiece of this plan is the new Swan River Causeway Bridge, which will enhance road safety by taking cyclists and pedestrians off the existing Causeway Bridge and providing them with a dedicated river crossing.
The City Deal also allocates funding to several other projects designed to encourage more people to consider cycling, walking or catching public transport through the Perth CBD.
Professionals Australia has announced the appointment of Jill McCabe as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer. Jill has an extensive background in advocacy and industrial relations. Working in roles across the Victorian public sector since 2003 covering industrial relations and workplace health and safety, Jill has held executive positions at director level including as the Director Office of Women’s Policy, Director Community and Economic Participation and Director Office for Youth. Jill has also lectured in industrial relations at several of Melbourne’s academic institutions.
Over the past fortnight, RA has commenced its series of International Insights webinars, being held in lieu of our planned Study Visit to the UK/Europe, which has now been deferred until September 2021.
Our first session on 15 September explored active transport in a multi-modal transport system and included speakers from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Sydney, Delft University in the Netherlands, Infrastructure Australia and GTA Consultants, who kindly sponsored the event.
The second webinar of the series, held on 16 September, looked at international trends in the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, and lessons for Australia. Insights were provided by experts from the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD in France, the National Transport Commission and ARUP, who generously sponsored the session.
The level of engagement and high-quality questions posed by attendees demonstrated there is enormous enthusiasm for the way this series is providing Australian industry stakeholders with direct access to thinking and research from leading international experts.
RA will shortly be producing two new Policy Insights pieces based on the outcomes of these sessions – and further webinars in the International Insights series are planned for the coming months. Details will be made available soon.
The NSW Government is calling for community input on its plan to replace the Swan Hill Bridge over the Murray River. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Government is seeking on the preferred alignment for the future bridge, which aims to provide a safer and faster crossing connection over the Murray, with more lanes and a dedicated pedestrian and cycle path. Community feedback will be accepted until 5pm on Friday 30 October.
In Melbourne, two giant tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have broken through key sections of the Metro Tunnel, marking the half-way mark of tunnelling on the ground-breaking project. The TBMs have so far excavated more than 364,000 cubic metres of rock and soil and installed more than 30,000 individual concrete segments, each weighing 4.5 tonnes, to line the tunnel walls. The Metro Tunnel will create additional capacity for more than half-a-million passengers a week during peak periods and help reduce road congestion in and around the Melbourne CBD.
The Queensland Government has announced a $755 million commitment to build the 16-kilometre stage one of the Coomera Connector – popularly known as the ‘second M1’ – between Nerang and Coomera, with construction set to start within 12 months. The project is expected to make a major contribution to reducing congestions on the Gold Coast, with the project set to take up to 60,000 vehicles off theM1 at its busiest section around the Coomera River every day.
Also in Queensland, 17 regional councils will share in almost $3.5 million to fund priority infrastructure upgrades on roads, drainage systems and power supplies to better prepare for future natural disasters. Funding for these projects will be administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA). Queensland Treasurer and Minister responsible for the QRA Cameron Dick said that the investing in greater disaster resilience also creates more work in regional Queensland would also help to create jobs, a key pillar of the Queensland Government’s Unite and Recover COVID economic recovery plan.
In Western Australia, the State Government has allocated almost $27 million to upgrade some of WA’s worst roads through the WA Black Spot Program. Safety upgrades and improvements will be carried out at 92 locations with 44 in the Perth metropolitan area and 48 in regional WA. $21 million has been allocated by the State Government, with an additional $5 million to be provided by local governments for the projects which will improve safety, help reduce congestion and improve road network efficiency.
Still in WA, MELconnx Consortium (Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction) has been named as the preferred proponent to design and construct the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook rail line, which will help to reduce road congestion in Perth’s northern suburbs. The contract – which is the biggest of four works packages delivering the project –includes the construction of the rail line as well as building five new stations. Spurring off the Midland Line at Bayswater Station, the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will run up the middle of Tonkin Highway, through land north of Marshall Road, along Drumpellier Drive and finish in the Ellenbrook town centre.
Infrastructure Australia has confirmed the addition of two new Priority Projects to the Infrastructure Priority List. The Parkes Bypass on the Newell Highway in NSW will reduce congestion and enhance safety via a 10.5 kilometre bypass along the Newell Highway, including bridges over existing railway lines, connections to the Parkes Special Activation Precinct and upgrades to local roads. The upgrade of Canberra’s Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will extend its design life by 50 years, and offer improved travel times and safety benefits for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles using this route in the heart of the nation’s capital.
AustRoads has established a new website portal to keep industry and agencies up to date on the progress of the strategic project to harmonise the delivery of temporary traffic management services. Regular updates will be provided on the portal as this work progresses, with member agencies are preparing for their formal adoption of the Guide to Temporary Traffic Management, released in December 2019.
Congratulations to Ward Civil & Environmental Engineering CEO Julia Ward and her entire team on being named the Large Civil Construction Business of the Year at the 2020 Master Builders Association Business Leadership Awards. This award recognises excellence in management best practice, improvement initiatives, innovation, industry leadership and corporate social responsibility.
Transport for NSW is now providing drivers across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT with access to a one-stop-shop for road disruption information. The Live Traffic NSW website can now help drivers avoid congestion by showing the impact of fire, flood, snow, roadworks, crashes and more on roads across all five jurisdictions. The site is optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop, and users are able explore a map and list of incidents or input a journey to discover incidents on their route which may impact their travel.
Diversity and social responsibility
The Roads Australia (RA) Emerging Leaders Program is a national networking, thought leadership and mentoring series to develop the leadership capacity and diversity of the industry. Each year, RA offers the opportunity for one emerging leader who shows Promise, Passion and Pursuit to engage in a 12-month industry exposure and ambassador experience in order to fast track his or her career growth and industry profile. Nominations are now open for this fantastic opportunity, which will provide our winner with opportunities to observe and understand how leaders interact and make decisions – as well as a range of other unique benefits. So, if you’re an enthusiastic industry professional with less than 10 years’ experience, now is the time to put yourself forward! Applications close on Friday 23 October. Further information is available here.
Thanks also to all those to took part in our most recent RAEmerging Leaderswebinar sponsored by ARUP, which provided insights from those working on Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel Project,. Our speakers offered perspectives on building tight-knight teams, effective relationship building and the value of a collaborative approach to problem solving. The session also highlighted new community infrastructure associated with the West Gate Tunnel Project, including Melbourne’s first veloway for cyclists, as well as enhanced community amenity through open space and wetlands.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, last week saw CareerSeekers present a powerful event that demonstrated the value of providing professional career opportunities to humanitarian entrants to Australia. The 2020 CareerSeekers Spotlight was held as an online event, which allowed a larger audience to tune in and hear directly from some of the asylum seekers and refugees who have benefitted from this unique initiative. The full event is now available to watch online – you can see it here.
Upcoming RA events
Oct 1 – By invitation. RA Women’s Network Webinar with Workplace Gender Equality Agency CEO Libby Lyons.
Oct 6 – By invitation. Webinar with John Holland’s Andrew English and Mark Davies