There is capacity within the civil sector to take on more work in the present economic climate, but procurement practices need to change to better support the local industry.
There are shortages of labour, equipment and supply resources, and if governments and other key clients continue to procure our services on a short term, project-by-project basis, then delivery may become an issue. Procurement processes for many of our projects need to change to ensure that industry players have contract surety over longer periods.
Companies can and will be able to better manage their labour, equipment and other project resources if they have contract certainty. You cannot continually be told that there is plenty of business out there and you need to gear up with no contractual follow through.
If the local industry is supported to prosper and grow, the civil sector in the Territory will deliver the infrastructure that we need to underpin future economic development. We do not need large interstate contractors being encouraged to enter the Territory market, when we already have well-established NT-based companies looking for business growth opportunities.
The sector needs to be backed and supported to take on larger and more challenging projects.
The industry has a great history in delivering projects in difficult conditions in urban, rural and remote locations across the Territory.
There are exciting infrastructure construction projects coming to market that with the right procurement settings, should provide our Territory-based civil construction firms with growth options, but this cannot be achieved with a business-as-usual approach.
We need innovative procurement solutions. Clients need to work in partnership with industry to ensure that the infrastructure the Territory needs to grow our economy is delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner.
In late November, CCF NT held its annual President’s Lunch and just under 200 civil contractors and associated industry partners turned out for the event.
Attendees heard from CCF NT president John Klaas, Minister Paul Kirby, NT Major Projects Commissioner Jason Schoolmeester and special guest, Olympic gold medallist Brooke Hanson OAM.
Brooke made her debut for the Australian team at the 1994 Commonwealth Games before going on to represent Australia over 25 times at major international championships.
In 2004, she fulfilled a childhood dream when after missing the Olympic teams in 1996 and 2000, she won gold and silver medals in Athens. She created history at the 2004 World Short Course Championships when she won a record six gold medals – five individual and the 4x100m medley relay in world record time.
Brooke delivered a powerful and motivational presentation, which moved everyone through a wide range of emotions, and showed that she is a true champion.
The President’s Lunch was CCF NT’s final formal event for 2021. We look forward to working with the industry and a wide range of stakeholders in the year ahead to assist in delivering the high-quality infrastructure that the Territory needs for economic advancement.