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Here you will find the latest news and media releases from CCF WA and CCF's national office. Click on the news item below to read more.

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  • 19 Jul 2024 12:18 AM | Andy Graham (Administrator)

    Western Australia’s peak civil construction industry body has urged the State Government to shelve its WA Best Practice Industry Conditions (BPIC) policy rather than risk handing the CFMEU huge power on major infrastructure projects.

    The Civil Contractors Federation WA (CCF WA) says the CFMEU WA branch may not be crooked and corrupt but it certainly can't be trusted with the excessive power being handed to it by WA BPIC. 

    CCF WA CEO Andy Graham said WA BPIC stipulated mandatory pay and conditions on infrastructure projects, and did not even go close to meeting the "genuine agreement" test for major project agreements laid down by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke this week.

    "If BPIC didn't pass the sniff test last week, it's well and truly on the nose this week," Mr Graham said. "Minister Burke's investigators need to take a close look at this arrangement.

    “Contractors and subcontractors on the Tonkin Highway Extension project have no choice but to comply with WA BPIC – they were not even consulted, let alone reached genuine agreement.

    “Clearly though, the CFMEU was consulted, because the WA BPIC document is effectively a CFMEU pattern employment agreement.

    "Mandating BPIC on the Tonkin Highway Extension is the first step to all government projects being 100 per cent union sites, no ticket no start, like we see on high rise building sites in the city, where as long as you join the union you're safe.

    "We don't want that toxic culture in our sector. Companies and employees are of course always welcome to work with the union, but it should be their choice, not a government policy.

    “CCF WA believes no government should be forcing law-abiding businesses, with existing Fair Work-endorsed enterprise agreements in place, to tear those agreements up and comply with a set of union-dictated terms and rates.

    Mr Graham said the WA BPIC agreement gave the CFMEU excessive rights to interfere in business operations and included onerous consultation requirements which far exceeded those in the Fair Work Act.

    “One BPIC clause requires businesses to give the CFMEU detailed advice at least 28 days before engaging any company to do any work, whether or not this will have any effect at all on employees. It’s not clear why the union needs all that information, nor what it will do with the information.

    "That's just one example -- the CFMEU's fingerprints are all over BPIC."

    Mr Graham said CCF WA freely acknowledged the CFMEU WA was better behaved than other states. "But they're still the CFMEU -- they still have a long history of using threats and intimidation to get their way. Their slogan is ‘whatever it takes’, and everyone in the industry knows that's a motto that some of their organisers still proudly live by.

    “That's why there has to be a balance. But WA BPIC tips the scales way too far.

    “We don’t even have to imagine what our project sites might look like when BPIC gives the CFMEU free rein to do 'whatever it takes' in WA. Just look over east at what’s happening in Queensland and Victoria under similar so-called best practice union-friendly policies.

    “Construction costs have shot up and productivity has declined – why would we risk that in WA?

    “Three years of BPIC in Queensland has emboldened the CFMEU to launch increasingly bitter and personal attacks on businesses and employees – why would we risk the psychosocial health of Western Australians?

    “Weighing this all up, how can we even contemplate risking all of the destructive effects of BPIC – the added cost of infrastructure and housing, the inevitable industrial unrest and project delays, the stress on local businesses and workforces – just to satisfy a union’s expansion plans?”

  • 15 Jul 2024 12:00 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    CCF's national office has welcomed the immediate response from the Federal Government in condemning criminal behaviour and standover tactics by CFMEU representatives.

    CCF National CEO Nicholas Proud said: “The media reports on CFMEU behaviour certainly don’t provide contractors with the greatest confidence that they are operating in a lawful environment where fear, intimidation and criminality is brought onto the worksite when Unions are onsite.

    “While actions by the National CFMEU to place the Victorian Division into administration immediately reduce risk of further alleged criminal behaviour, it is clear that Federal Government needs to consider regulatory reform to ensure that criminality and thuggish behaviour isn’t tolerated within the union movement.
    “Every single person has a right to feel safe on a worksite in 2024, and with these revelations the CFMEU needs to be fully investigated to clean up its act or be deregistered.

    Mr Proud said violent behaviour on the workplace should not be tolerated.

    "CCF calls on the Government to bring together representatives of the construction industry, reputable union figures, law enforcement and the Fair Work Ombudsman to identify a way forward to a more balanced and constructive IR Framework."

    CCF is the Fair Work Commission Registered Organisation for 1,200 civil contractors across Australia.

  • 5 Jun 2024 9:28 AM | Andy Graham (Administrator)

    Federal Government advisory body Jobs and Skills Australia has copped some criticism this week for its draft Core Skills Occupation List (CSOL), which will define the occupations eligible for the new Core Skills Pathway – a key component of Federal skilled migration reforms.

    Jobs and Skills Australia published three lists: skilled occupations it’s confident should be on the CSOL; occupations it’s sure shouldn’t be; and occupations it was unsure about.

    Looking at these three lists, some have wondered if Jobs and Skills Australia is aware there’s a housing crisis fuelled by critical construction skills shortages. The Urban Taskforce Australia asked why yoga instructors and dog handlers are on the ‘confident on’ list while bricklayers, glaziers and plasterers are not. Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn said : “We cannot build homes with wellness instructors, we need tradies, and they must be on the definite list for skilled migration.”

    We agree, but there’s a more fundamental problem, and that is the total absence of trade-level civil construction skills from any of the CSOL consultation lists.

    Before the bricklayers and plasterers can do their stuff, the civil construction trades have to do theirs first. Without housing-enabling civil infrastructure, new home builds cannot commence. But you won’t find any trade-level civil construction occupations on the CSOL.

    In drafting the CSOL, Jobs and Skills Australia has only considered occupations classed at Skill Levels 1,2 and 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Civil construction occupations such as excavator operator and pipelayer are classed at ANZSCO Skill Level 4, so they weren’t even considered for the CSOL.

    Frustratingly for our sector, this omission ignores the government's clear intent in its Migration Strategy, which states that the Core Skills Pathway may include “trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers”, i.e. Skill Level 4 and 5 occupations – subject to those occupations being on the CSOL and workers being paid above the TSMIT.

    The writers of the Migration Strategy clearly signalled that they want to see common-sense skilled migration settings that break away from ANZSCO’s outdated and inflexible definition of ‘skilled’. Jobs and Skills Australia seems to have missed this signal.

    When the Migration Strategy was published (December 2023), CCF welcomed the proposed Core Skills Pathway. We noted that civil construction 'tradies' had been locked out of our country’s skilled migration pathways for too long due to ANZSCO’s outdated classifications.

    Now we find that Jobs and Skills Australia has decided to stick with the ANZSCO ‘rules’ despite the Migration Strategy clearly inviting a more flexible, common-sense approach.

    As the voice of our industry, CCF has pointed all of this out in our submission to Jobs and Skills Australia CSOL consultation. But the terms of reference for the consultation made it clear that they are only considering ANZSCO Skill Level 1-3 occupations, so we're not hopeful.

    Hopefully though this is just a roadblock and the Federal Immigration Minister, who has the final say, will rule in favour of common sense and include skilled civil construction occupations -- and bricklayers and plasterers too!

    - Andy Graham, CCF WA CEO

  • 23 May 2024 3:33 PM | Zacharie Nichols-Lang (Administrator)

    The Federal Government's planned overhaul of Commonwealth Environmental Laws, including the establishment of a National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), continues to face delays. It’s been reported this decision was influenced by pressure from the WA Government, which expressed concerned about the potential for local backlash.

    Current regulatory frameworks cause significant delays and productivity losses for contractors and principals awaiting project approvals. The proposed National EPA aims to streamline approval processes, including for renewable energy infrastructure projects, facilitating the path to net zero emissions by 2050. These reforms are poised to significantly impact the civil industry; we need clearer information regarding stages of implementation and how new regulations will affect their operations. CCF will continue to work toward achieving this clarity, remaining actively engaged in briefings and providing updates as more information becomes available. Members can expect further details on the consultation process, legislative review plan, and any roadmap to 2050. 

    Below are summaries of the five key areas comprising the reforms:

    Establishment of a National Environment Protection Agency

    A national EPA would issue permits, oversee project assessments, and enforce federal environmental regulations. It would ensure compliance with National Environmental Standards and possess enforcement powers akin to the Federal Police commissioner. The EPA could issue stop-work orders and audit businesses for environmental law compliance. Serious breaches could result in fines up to $780 million and seven-year jail terms. However, clarity is needed regarding Ministerial call-in powers. The current drafting allows Ministerial intervention without providing crucial information to project proponents. A mandatory advisory panel, comprising industry, scientists, environmentalists, traditional owners, and community representatives, should be established. Additionally, the Minister must consider various factors before making decisions.

    Environment Information Australia (EIA)

    EIA will provide independent environmental data to inform national decision-making, with information also being publicly available. New laws will appoint an independent head to oversee data accessibility, State of the Environment reporting, environmental-economic accounts, and trend tracking.

    Regional plans

    Regional Plans will use a traffic light system to classify areas by environmental value. Green Zones, with little to no environmental value, will generally permit development. Yellow Zones, with some environmental value, will require additional measures, with some projects possibly blocked. Red Zones, with high environmental value, will impose significant conditions, preventing most projects.

    Restoration actions and contributions (formerly offsets) reform

    These reforms aim to transform environmental offset systems for environmental gains and project efficiency. Proponents must fully compensate for significant impacts via restoration activities or contributions. The National Environmental Standard for Restoration Actions and Contributions will provide clarity on compensation rules.

    Nature Positive Environmental Standards

    New laws will include powers for the Minister to make National Environmental Standards and set out how standards apply to key decisions under the new laws. These new laws aim to preserve the natural environment while also reducing impediments to development by clarifying requirements and streamlining accreditation.

  • 17 May 2024 8:00 AM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    By Andy Graham

    CCF WA welcomes continued strong state government investment in civil infrastructure that's vital for ongoing economic growth. But there are challenges ahead, including an alarming decline in forecast investment and a damaging industrial relations policy.

    In a sign of the times, the 2024/25 WA State Budget forecasts road and rail capital investment to decline year-on-year, as the METRONET peak passes and the government looks to prioritise investment in water and energy.

    Reduced rail investment was inevitable, but the small number of major road projects in the project pipeline is a concern. Main Roads' capital investment in new civil works is currently forecast at just $450 million in 2027/28, compared to more than $2.3 billion this FY. We hope the state and federal governments can work together to fund some of the exciting and transformational metropolitan and regional road projects currently in the planning phase.

    Across the board in fact, government infrastructure investment is forecast to dip alarmingly in the final years of the current Budget cycle, 2026/27 and 2027/28. We are hopeful some future announcements will boost those 'out years' but the government has to get better at providing a smoother and more certain pipeline of work. It’s gone backwards in that respect – we are used to seeing spending dropping off by 20-30% over the 4-year budget forecasts; this year it’s more than 60%. This makes it impossible for government contractors to invest in capability with confidence. And of course it's tough for non-government contractors to deal with the peaks and troughs of government spending.

    The Budget has some welcome measures to address housing shortages but we believe there must be opportunities for more targeted initiatives to address the roadblocks constraining housing lot supply, which remains stagnant and well under what the state needs to put a serious dent in the housing crisis in coming years.

    The elephant in the room for housing lot affordability, and for infrastructure affordability in general, is the state government’s WA Best Practice Industry Conditions (BPIC) policy.

    BPIC is little more than a free kick to the unions with taxpayers and home buyers footing the bill – as any Queenslander will tell you.

    The fact that BPIC is initially being trialled on one major project - Tonkin Highway Extension and Thomas Road Upgrade - is little comfort to the contractors who’ll be affected, directly or indirectly. And if the trial is declared a success – and we have no idea how that judgement will be made – and BPIC is rolled out across more government infrastructure projects, then construction costs will soar, leading to fewer civil projects and fewer jobs.

    Construction costs have jumped 30-40% over the past few years; the state is getting a lot less bang for its infrastructure buck already. Now is not the time for the government to add fuel to the fire with a policy that will supercharge labour rates and throttle productivity.

    Read on LinkedIn

  • 9 May 2024 12:00 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    CCF WA’s annual analysis of capital spending by the State Government’s key civil infrastructure delivery agencies and corporations (in road, rail, water, ports, energy and land development) shows a forecast investment of just over $10 billion in 2024/25, a 7% increase on this financial year and 45% more than 2022/23. Targeted measures include a $400 energy credit for 90,000 small business. 

    Of course, those increases are much smaller in real terms due to unprecedented cost escalation in recent years, but government civil infrastructure investment has certainly been high by historical standards in recent years.

    Looking ahead, civil infrastructure investment is forecast to dip alarmingly in the final years of the Budget cycle, 2026/27 and 2027/28.

    Agency summaries

    Below is a quick summary of key takeaways for the infrastructure agencies and corporations. Next week we’ll publish an update of our Member-exclusive civil works pipeline to include all new announcements.

    Main Roads’ asset investment program is $2.15 billion in 2024‑25, down from $2.56B this year and an even more significant fall in real terms. There’s only one new project announced – the $38M Congdon St Bridge replacement. Main Roads’ capital spend is forecast to fall to $650M by 2027/28 – this will probably grow by the time we get there but it’s a worrying figure. We know Main Roads has plenty of projects in planning, and there’s no doubt strong ongoing investment in our road network is desperately needed. Where are the projects in the pipeline?

    The Public Transport Authority's Asset Investment Program for 2024/25 is $3.05 billion – down from $3.64 billion in the current FY. Most of that will go towards the METRONET projects: Byford Rail Extension and the Armadale Line Upgrade top the list with over $500 million each in 24/25. The PTA’s spending plummets in the forward estimates, down to just $258 million in 2027/28.

    Western Power’s asset investment program in 2024/25 is $1.37 billion, reflecting strong investment in decarbonisation initiatives, distribution networks, transmission capacity, and grid improvements. Unlike the transport agencies planned investment remains strong in future years up to 2027/28, the final ‘outyear’ in this Budget. Horizon Power will invest $189 million in 2024/25, with fairly strong investment in future years though not as consistent as Western Power’s.

    Water Corporation’s $1.7 billion capital investment in 2024/25 includes nearly $600 million on the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant (ASDP) and associated works. A strong regional asset program includes $45 million for a new water treatment plant in Onslow and $43 million towards upgrading the capacity of the Burrup Seawater Supply Scheme. Water Corporation’s AIP will peak at just over $2 billion next year as the ASDP ramps up, declining to just over $1 million in 2027/28.

    The five port authorities (Fremantle, Mid-West, Kimberley, Pilbara and Southern) are planning another strong year, with a combined asset investment of more than $800 million in 2024/25 followed by nearly $850 million in 2025/26. The Pilbara Port Authority will account for more than half of that through ongoing investment at Port Hedland and Dampier, with the Mid West Port Authority spending $270 million over the next two financial years on the Geraldton Port Maximisation Project.

    The state government-owned land developer DevelopmentWA will invest $681 million in 2024/25, with a focus on industrial and affordable residential projects including $35 million for the creation of development-ready land in the Kimberley, Karratha and Goldfields, plus ongoing works at Ocean Reef Marina.

    Complementing the State’s civil infrastructure spend is investments in building new and upgraded schools ($608 million) and hospitals ($864 million).

    Budget measures for businesses

    Not much targeted relief for businesses in this Budget. The State Government has committed to reducing green tape and streamlining approval processes for major projects, and 90,000 small business will receive a $400 energy credit.

  • 21 Feb 2024 3:35 PM | Andy Graham (Administrator)

    CCF WA is proud to acknowledge the panel of judges for this year's Western Australian Civil Construction Industry & Training Awards:

    • Tiffany Allen; Chief Executive Officer, Construction Training Fund
    • David Della Bona, Managing Director, WA Limestone and Immediate Past President, CCF WA
    • Jon Griffin; Regional Manager, DevelopmentWA
    • Nathan Hardwick, Head of Project Management, Water Corporation
    • Karen Ho; Director-General, Department of Training and Workforce Development
    • Sharon Kais; Chief Executive Officer, KAIS GROUP of Companies
    • Dennis Kickett, Director Aboriginal Engagement, Transport Portfolio
    • Peter Rowles; Chairman, Civil Construction Industry Training Committee and Past President, CCF WA
    • David Schlueter, General Manager, Enviro Infrastructure and CCF WA Vice-President
    • Belinda Stopic; Acting Executive Director Infrastructure Delivery, Office of Major Transport Infrastructure Delivery

    We’re honoured to have such an esteemed group of judges to assess nominations across the twelve Industry Award categories and seven Training Awards.

    The Western Australian Civil Construction Industry & Training Awards are our industry’s annual celebration of individual and corporate achievement.

    Nominations close April 3, 2024 and the winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner on Friday, April 19, 2024.

    It's the WA civil industry's biggest night out, with 500+ attendees expected again this year. Join us to celebrate the winners and finalists, network, and enjoy entertainment from Felix The Band.

    Tickets are on sale now.

    The Western Australian Civil Construction Industry & Training Awards are proudly supported by our Major Sponsor WesTrac Cat, supported by The Apprenticeship Community, Civil Train WA, CJD Equipment, Construction Training Fund, DevelopmentWA, Enviro Plant Hire, Halo Civil Engineering, Kais Hire, MiniQuip, NPE, Coffey Testing and Motivation Foundation.

  • 7 Feb 2024 5:25 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    (Published in the CCF WA Bulletin, 2024 Edition 4)

    There’s a scene in the ABC TV show Utopia where the Nation Building Authority’s Tony Woodford visits a government project site to figure out why labour costs are double the original estimates.

    “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” an employee representative tells him. “Peanuts? That guy’s going to be on $120,000 a year,” Tony replies, gesturing towards a traffic controller. He goes on to point out that the traffic controller’s wage is $50,000 more than the government pays a high school teacher.

    I was reminded of this scene while reading a recent AFR opinion piece by John Lloyd, the inaugural commissioner of the ABCC. Mr Lloyd compares the standard weekly wage of a traffic controller on the Melbourne Metropolitan Tunnel Project, $126,200 a year, with the starting salaries of nurses ($72,000) and teachers ($78,000) in Victoria, and notes: “A workplace relations system that produces such bizarre pay relativities is in strife”.

    Recent developments here in WA suggest we may be heading in the same direction. In October, Main Roads WA made changes to its Traffic Management Company Registration Scheme, mandating a minimum ordinary hourly rate of $37.24 per hour for all traffic controllers on state roads – whether they’re working on a Main Roads project, or for any other client.

    Traffic controllers must also receive all relevant loadings and entitlements in the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020. An entry-level traffic controller’s base 38-hour week wage will now be $73,586 per annum, or $78,672 per annum with fares and travel allowance. Working a 50-hour week, they’ll be paid $116,851 per annum.

    While the new government-mandated wage for traffic controllers is not at the absurd levels seen on eastern states major projects, it’s nevertheless way out of step with the typical wages for semi-skilled, entry-level Western Australian workers in construction and other sectors.

    As our article on page 8 explains, Main Roads has acted in response to concerns about some isolated pay inconsistencies in the traffic management industry.

    In our view, overriding the Fair Work system to impose a rate on the whole industry that’s 38% higher than the award is a massive over-reaction. The article explains why, and the effects this will have.

    The seemingly random decision to overpay traffic controllers started to make a bit more sense in mid-November with the release of the Expression of Interest document for the Alliance Contract to design and construct Tonkin Highway Extension and Thomas Road Upgrade (Package 1 of 2). Under the heading ‘Industrial Relations’ the EOI notes: “Main Roads intends on mandating best practice industrial relations principles (BPIR) into the Project Alliance Agreement.”

    At the core of BPIR is a government-sanctioned pattern agreement. In Queensland, it’s already in force and known as BPIC (best practice industry conditions). A typical BPIC agreement includes:

    • Base pay rates more than 80% higher than award rates.
    • A site allowance of up to $8.00 per hour (the maximum allowance kicks in at $700 million project value).
    • A Fares and Travel Allowance of $50.00/day, more than double the BCGOA rate.
    • A 36-hour week.
    • Mandatory employer contributions to various income protection, redundancy, and welfare trusts totalling around $200 per week per employee.
    All up, $130,000 per annum for a 36-hour week with no trade qualifications required. Bizarre, indeed.

    Queensland Government agencies are careful to point out that BPIC isn’t mandatory, but contractors fully understand that if they don’t play ball, they won’t win the work.

    As a guidance note from Brisbane law firm Gadens explains, BPIC is integral to the tender process, and is then embedded in the contract: “(BPIC) is a mandatory evaluation criterion, with all contractors commonly required to demonstrate: how they will provide terms and conditions of employment, including specific pay rates, for their employees who will perform work on the project, which are at least equivalent to the BPICs for the project; and the best endeavours process they will use to engage subcontractors or sub-subcontractors who provide terms and conditions of employment, including specific pay rates, for their personnel who will perform work on the project, which are at least equivalent to the BPICs.

    “The commitments made by successful tenderers … will be included in the terms and conditions of relevant contracts and subcontracts on a cascading basis.”

    Main Roads isn’t sure yet how the BPIR requirement will be worded in WA, although it’s been suggested there will be no room for negotiation – it will be expected that everyone on the site is paid the BPIR rates.

    WA’s first iteration of BPIR will include rates on a par with the current METRONET head contractor enterprise agreements, around 35-40% over the award. Looking at the current rates in Victoria and Queensland, it’s likely that award disparity will keep climbing until we reach 70-80%. 

    It’s reasonable to wonder why a government would insist on extremely high pay rates that will add to the cost of not only their own projects, but also the cost of land development and other private sector works. 

    Only a few weeks ago, Deputy Premier Hon Rita Saffioti MLA rightly noted that infrastructure projects in WA had not suffered the type of cost blowouts seen on the Eastern States.

    Surely, one of the reasons we have avoided massive blowouts is that wages on our major projects have not exploded, as they have in some other states. Yet here we are, lighting the fuse.

    According to Main Roads, BPIR is needed to attract and retain more experienced civil construction workers. The problem with that argument is the wages currently available on major transport projects are already high by industry standards and already attracting the best people from elsewhere. Ask any land development contractor how hard it is to keep good employees.

    Of course, industry also wants a skilled, experienced and well-paid civil construction workforce. But we believe blunt instruments like BPIR/BPIC are not the best way to achieve it, and a better outcome can be achieved with industry consultation.

    Andy Graham

  • 12 Dec 2023 1:33 PM | Andy Graham (Administrator)

    Australia’s peak civil construction industry body welcomes the Federal Government’s new Migration Strategy, which includes reforms that could greatly improve the civil construction sector’s ability to employ much-needed skilled plant operators and other skilled construction workers from overseas.

    Under the new Strategy, civil construction plant operator and other blue-collar roles could be eligible through a new Core Skills Pathway, subject to meeting skills shortage and wage threshold requirements.

    Currently, trade-level civil construction roles do not qualify for standard skilled migration pathways (such as subclass 482) as they are either mis-categorised or not included in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

    Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) National President Mick Boyle said these welcome reforms acknowledge the importance of highly skilled workers in the civil construction sector, which has long been disadvantaged by the current system.

    “We’ve been saying for years that ANZSCO needs urgent reform because highly skilled workers have been locked out of our country’s skilled migration policy settings by outdated and inflexible occupation lists.” Mr Boyle said.

    “Now it looks like the new Core Skills Pathway system will have the flexibility to determine our migration priorities according to what’s best for the country – using an evidence-based approach, rather than being constrained by redundant red tape.

    “We are excited by this development and look forward to working with the Federal Government and with Jobs and Skills Australia on developing and implementing this new system as soon as possible.

    “We also urge the Federal Government to take a similar commonsense approach to reforming its training incentives system. Civil construction apprenticeships are currently excluded from the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, due to its reliance on the same outdated ANZSCO framework.”

  • 1 Dec 2023 12:02 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)
    By John Feary

    Leading registered training organisation Civil Train has achieved a significant breakthrough for Western Australia’s new civil construction apprenticeships with the signing of a new agreement with the City of Stirling.

    Under the agreement, Civil Train is delivering training to Certificate III in Civil Construction and Certificate IV in Civil Construction - Supervision level for employees of the northern metropolitan local government area, Perth’s largest in population numbers.

    Stirling has taken up the scheme first introduced nearly two years ago to extend the formal recognition of civil construction qualifications as a trade.

    Above: Trainee Mark Wainwright operates an eductor truck in the City of Stirling.

    A spokesperson said the agreement fits the City of Stirling’s commitment to the continued upskilling of its civil maintenance and construction staff.

    “The training allows our employees to further develop their skills and overall helps to improves the services we deliver,” the spokesperson said. “This can also feed down to provide benefits for the industry in WA.”

    One of the benefits of the agreement would be on safety. “Training often makes employees consider the work they are doing, with safety becoming front of mind. For longer-term employees, training has the bonus of refocussing attention.

    “Employees working in the civil maintenance and construction areas deal with high-risk situations so training – tool box or prestart – can help with a safety focus.”

    The agreement should also further expand the potential employment pool for the council, which already has a strong reputation for recruiting from a wide variety of backgrounds covering all ages from school leavers to people who have retired and come back to work.

    Karyn Grant, the Operations Manager for Civil Train, said the agreement would deliver the advantages of the 36-month apprenticeship that puts civil construction on an equal footing with traditional building trades.

    The training will be delivered via on-the-job assessment of operations that utilise specific tools and equipment as well as sessions at Civil Train’s Jandakot premises covering general small plant and equipment operation, hand and power tools as well as management and procedural activities.

    Existing workforce members will also be able to take advantage of credit transfers for their demonstrated skills and prior learning in areas such as traffic management and plant operating.

    City of Stirling apprentices Jack Ayre and Stevan Trajkovski.

    Above: City of Stirling apprentices Jack Ayre and Stevan Trajkovski.

    Ms Grant said the extension of training as a goodwill measure to Stirling’s current workers, as well as new entrants, would be an incentive for them to enhance their work skills and standards. The mature age people on the council include many from non-English speaking backgrounds.

    Financial support for the program by the Construction Training Fund, which covers employers and employees for any wage difference in the transition between traineeships and apprenticeships, is a further impetus.

    Stirling has 18 maintenance crew and four construction crew taking the Certificate III in Civil Construction plus four supervisors taking the Certificate IV in Civil Construction - Supervision.

    The council expects the training initiative will set the City of Stirling apart from many other local governments. “It means that the city can present itself as a local government employer of choice for WA’s civil maintenance and construction industry,” the spokesperson said.

    At the same time, it hopes the initiative will be taken up by other local government bodies.

    “If the city is able to encourage more local governments to upskill their employees, then that can only be a good thing. It is certainly a program that the city would encourage other local governments to take up.”

    From Edition 4, 2023 of The CCF WA Bulletin. See Publications for more.

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