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CCF WA News.

Here you will find the latest news and advice from the CCF WA. Keeping you up to date with CCF WA Events, Training, News and Articles on best practice civil infrastructure.

Simply click on the news item below to read more.

  • 7 Oct 2020 10:00 AM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    Western Australia’s civil construction industry peak body welcomes today’s launch of the State Government’s Infrastructure Ready training program, which will offer a pathway into a civil construction career for hundreds of Western Australians.

    Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the four-week program would provide the first step to an exciting and rewarding career in civil construction. “There’s a very strong pipeline of road and rail infrastructure projects to be delivered over the next few years in WA,” Mr Graham said. “It’s an exciting challenge for our industry, and it’s also a great opportunity for Western Australians who might not have previously considered a career in civil construction.

    “Everyone is aware of the traditional trade-level jobs in housing and high-rise construction, but there are lots of ‘tradies’ in civil construction too, with a wide variety of interesting and well-paid trade-level roles in areas such as plant operations, pipelaying, road and bridge construction, tunnelling, and utilities installation.”

    Mr Graham said the industry and the TAFEs had worked together to devise a program that quickly and effectively delivers ‘basic training’ in civil construction, providing the foundation skills for working safely on infrastructure projects. The program will include a work placement that will provide hands-on experience on a major project.

    “The work placement will also be the first step to helping participants connect with potential employers,” Mr Graham said. “After all, that’s what this initiative is all about – finding jobs for Western Australians in the thriving civil construction sector.”

    Mr Graham said the State Government, through the Office of Major Transport Infrastructure Delivery (OMTID), would encourage head contractors and subcontractors on its projects to provide employment to successful graduates from the program. “OMTID is to be congratulated for its proactive approach in both driving the creation of this program, and incentivising the employment of people in entry-level roles on its projects,” he said. “These new workers will be the future ‘top guns’ our industry needs to ensure a sustainable, home-grown workforce for years to come.”


  • 24 Sep 2020 1:00 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    Western Australia’s civil construction industry peak body congratulates the State Government on implementing key recommendations in the Fiocco report through the introduction of the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Bill 2020 into State Parliament.

    Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the industry welcomed the removal of the exemption for some types of resources sector construction work. “This will remove a grey area in the current legislation which has caused confusion,” Mr Graham said. “As a matter of principle, we believe there’s no justification for excluding any particular type of construction work from legislation that simply helps ensure contractors get paid for the work they have done."

    Mr Graham said the revision to payment times, with a maximum 20 business days payment for head contractors and 25 business days for subcontractors, achieved a fair and realistic balance, while the complementary introduction of a payment schedule regime was a welcome step forward to ensuring greater certainty and security of payment.

    “The payment schedule process is well understood by our industry and regarded as fair to all parties,” he said.

    Mr Graham said the introduction of trusts for retentions was a reasonable reform that would protect retentions in event of company failure. “It makes sense for retentions to be held in trust as they are a portion of the payment that the contractor has already earned at the time of their retention,” he said. “Education will be key to the successful implementation of retention trusts and we look forward to working with Government on ensuring industry is well prepared."

    The new legislation reduces the time available to make an application for adjudication, and also restricts the grounds for adjudication to matters included in the payment schedule. “These are both sensible reforms which will give claimants greater and earlier certainty, and will also encourage a shift back to a faster, cheaper and less complicated adjudication process,” Mr Graham said.

  • 7 Jul 2020 4:07 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    The peak body for the Western Australian civil construction industry has asked for a small revision to the Government home building incentive eligibility criteria to avoid a ‘boom and bust’ in subdivision construction.

    Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the combined $45,000 State Government Building Bonus and Federal Government Home Builder incentives had created a welcome boost for civil contractors in the subdivision construction sector but had also brought fears that a short burst of heightened activity would be followed by a prolonged downturn.

    He said the current guidelines required that new home buyers must be the registered owner of their block of land before December 31 to qualify for the incentive payments.

    “This means the construction window available for new stages of subdivisions to be built, completed and handed over is effectively from now to mid-November,” Mr Graham said.

    “Civil contractors who build subdivisions, and their suppliers, are facing a hectic few months ahead, with land developers hoping to bring thousands of extra lots onto the market to meet the surge in demand created by the incentives.

    “While being busy is certainly not the worst of problems, there are growing concerns that this short boom will be followed by a longer bust, which will put jobs at risk.”

    Mr Graham said around 6500 Western Australians were directly employed in land development and site preparation services, along with thousands of others in businesses providing goods and services to the sector.

    “To protect these livelihoods, we’re asking for the guidelines to be revised to allow subdivision development activity to be spread over a more reasonable timeframe,” he said.

    CCF WA has asked for the scheme conditions to be modified so that home buyers taking advantage of the incentive would still have to sign up by December 31, but could be registered as owners of the land any time before June 30.

    “Rather than the current requirement for home construction to have started by June 30, the rules could be changed so that construction of the lot has to be completed by that date,” Mr Graham said. “This wouldn’t compromise the scheme’s core aim of rapidly boosting residential construction but would help avoid a potentially damaging ‘bubble’ in subdivision construction.

    “We’ll still see plenty of home builds getting underway in the meantime on existing blocks of land and new blocks as they come to market, but those extra few months will make all the difference for the subdivision construction sector.”

  • 3 Jul 2020 5:00 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    The State Government’s new Buy Local Policy, released today, is designed to change behaviours within Government and ensure procurement agencies achieve both the letter and intent of the policy.

    The current Buy Local Policy got a poor review in 2017 from the State Auditor General, who wrote: “The full effect of the Policy is not achieved because agencies do not always consider the intent when applying specific aspects of it.” The State Government says that’s going to change. Launching the policy, Premier Mark McGowan said: “This is all about ensuring that local businesses are given every opportunity to carry out work for the State Government in their local area.”

    The cornerstone of the Buy Local Policy is the Regional Price Preferences, which have stayed the same for construction contracts. The regional business preference, which is 5% of the tendered price up to a maximum of $250,000; and the regional content preference, also 5% of the tendered price up to a maximum of $250,000.

    While those preference percentages and limits haven’t changed, agencies will now have the power to increase the maximum preference to $1 million “as a means of addressing social and economic government priorities”.

    Generally, though the changes to the policy are more about giving it greater teeth and making it more likely to achieve effective outcomes.

    The policy encourages agencies to consider regional businesses when forming procurement panels and says regional panel members based within the prescribed distance of the contract’s point of delivery must be invited to quote.

    The policy also extends to managing contractors and others that procure on behalf of government, who will be “required to apply all appropriate requirements of the policy when seeking quotations or calling public tenders on behalf of the government agency”.

    The State Government says it will offer training for regional contractors in understanding the policy and how to apply for contracts and will also provide then with 'look-ahead' lists of forthcoming tenders to allow local contractors more time to bid.

    Agencies will sign up to new Implementation Agreements to underline their commitment. There will be increased reporting requirements to ensure the policy is being adhered to.

    The new Buy Local Policy will be phased in over the next six months. During that time, The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation is inviting industry feedback.

    Click here to download the new policy

  • 26 Jun 2020 1:00 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    CCF WA's Civil Construction Industry Training Committee has put a proposal to the State Government that Certificate III Civil Construction traineeships be re-classified as Apprenticeships in Western Australia.

    The committee believes the introduction of Civil Construction Apprenticeships is essential to improve community perceptions of careers in civil. For many young people – and their teachers and parents – civil construction is seen as an inferior option to a building or mechanical trade.

    We know that’s not the case – civil is a challenging and rewarding field with a variety of interesting career pathways. But how do we change those perceptions and ensure our industry attracts its share of the best and brightest tradespeople? The best way to start – as other states have already done – is to give Civil Construction qualifications (Plant Operator, Pipelayer, Road Constructor, Trenchless Technician etc) their due recognition as Trades, by re-classifying the Certificate III qualifications as Apprenticeships.

    Some of the key benefits are:

    • Young Apprentices can be paid a junior wage under the Modern Award (currently, young trainees must be paid a full adult wage, making them a less attractive option for employers).
    • The nominal duration of the qualifications will increase from 24 months to 36 months. This will assist contractors to achieve ‘in training’ targets set by clients. Note competency-based progression will still be available, allowing an employer to fast-track progression for early sign-off where qualifications are required in a shorted timeframe. Feedback from RTOs is that the increased duration will allow more flexibility in delivering site-based training, allowing them to deliver higher-quality training.
    • Potentially, better funding support from Governments, which tend to regard Apprenticeships more highly  – as we saw a couple of years ago when the State Government cut payroll tax for traineeships and described it as ‘closing a loophole’.
    • The qualifications would only be available through an Apprenticeship pathway, i.e. under a training contract with an employer. This will reinforce the status of Civil Construction skills as ‘proper’ trades.

     

    For this proposal to be approved, we need to demonstrate to the State regulator that there is broad support from industry. That’s where our members and other industry stakeholders can help by providing a letter of support on your company letterhead.

    The key point for the letter to make is that your company supports the re-classification of the Certificate III Civil Construction qualifications (Cert III Civil Construction, Cert III Civil Plant Operations and Cert III Trenchless Technology) to Class A Apprenticeships. You can also outline the key reasons you support this proposal. Click below for a document with some more background information to help. Contact ccfwa@ccfwa.com.au for more info.

    Civil Apprenticeships - background info for letters of support.pdf

  • 4 Jun 2020 2:30 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    Western Australia’s civil construction industry peak body says new Federal and State Government stimulus payments will help support thousands of construction jobs in the subdivision development sector.

    Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the Federal $25,000 incentive and the State $20,000 incentive were already encouraging more project home buyers back into the market.

    “This boost is very timely for the WA industry,” Mr Graham said. “Recently we saw the official forecast for dwelling commencements in WA this financial year revised down from 15,500 to 12,500."

    “That was disturbing news for civil contractors and suppliers who rely on residential subdivision activity and may have been facing an uncertain future as current projects came to an end."

    “By stimulating residential construction activity, the incentive payments will help ensure a stronger pipeline of work for subdivision contractors and suppliers, and in turn help those businesses to continue to employ Western Australians.”

  • 3 Jun 2020 10:00 AM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    CCF WA’s campaign for more certainty for the civil construction and associated extractive industries in the wake of the Eclipse decision has led to a constructive response from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). As we wrote in the recent CCF WA Bulletin Q1 2020, regulatory amendments since Eclipse had effectively addressed concerns that sand transferred from one site to another for land development could attract the waste levy (landfill levy). However, significant uncertainty remained where sand and other basic raw materials were offered for sale, and had led to the perverse outcome where long-term suppliers of high-quality construction materials were now being required to undertake regular and expensive testing to prove their product wasn't contaminated.

    In response to CCF WA’s concerns, DWER has provided additional information supplementing the  information provided in its factsheets: Assessing whether material is waste and Amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 – clean fill and uncontaminated fill.

    DWER has advised:

    The 2018 landfill category amendments are only relevant to material that is defined as waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) and Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007.

    • The amendments do not apply to material that is not waste, such as basic raw materials extracted from quarries (as part of extractive industries’ operations) and sold as products.
    • The amendments also do not apply to waste that is processed by recyclers and sold as a product.
    • Waste is defined in the EP Act. The Factsheet: Assessing whether material is waste sets out the matters that are relevant to determining whether material is waste within the meaning of the EP Act definition.
    • A key consideration in determining whether material is waste is whether it is wanted by the source/ producer of the material: If the material is sold by a producer to a third party for a fair value, this generally indicates that the material is a valuable commodity wanted by the producer for sale, and hence not ‘waste’. For example, material from bulk earthworks that is wanted by the producer for sale, and which is purchased by a third party at market value is not waste.
    • If the material is determined to not be waste, the uncontaminated fill thresholds and testing regime are not relevant, however it is still recommended that the end user ensures the material is fit-for-purpose including whether its use could cause pollution, constitute an unreasonable emission under the EP Act, or create a contaminated site within the meaning of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003.

    Testing is not required for waste that meets the definition of ‘clean fill’.

    • Users should be able to demonstrate that the waste has been excavated or removed from the earth in areas that have not been subject to potentially contaminating land uses including industrial, commercial, mining or intensive agricultural activities.

    In classifying waste material as ‘uncontaminated fill’, it is not necessary to test for every substance listed in Table 6 in the Waste Definitions.  

    • The testing and sampling regime (Table 7) in the Waste Definitions allows for testing of substances based on the land use history of the site of origin for uncontaminated fill. This ensures that only likely contaminants are tested for, reducing the cost and complexity of the testing regime.
    • The sampling and testing requirements are based on minimum data requirements to determine a 95 per cent upper confidence limit (of the average) and the requirement to characterise each domain or stockpile separately. This ensures that only testing of relevant substances is undertaken, and that the results are practical in their application.
    • A user should be able to demonstrate that reasonable effort has been applied in determining that material is uncontaminated fill. It is recommended that records are maintained that demonstrate how information relating to the originating site’s historic activities was sought and considered in determining the list of substances to be tested for, together with the analytical results and any statistical assessment and data interpretation that has been undertaken.
  • 2 Jun 2020 4:30 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    CCF WA has been advised that in response to industry concerns, the State Government has implemented a set of guiding principles for all works agencies to assist in the collaborative and pragmatic approach to the administration of works contracts during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Important aspects of these guidelines include:

    • The potential impacts of COVID-19 will vary based on the type, nature and status of a project, as well as its location, workforce composition and supply chain arrangements.
    • Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility between government and industry. Early advice from contractors about potential issues is critical to managing project risks.
    • Contractors demonstrating genuine efforts to continue project delivery, after having taken steps to otherwise mitigate any potential impact, will be supported to put alternative arrangements in place, where appropriate.
    • Where existing contract terms do not give rise to any such entitlement, Agencies will consider claims from contractors for extensions of time and cost relief, where such claims:
      • are directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and have significant time and costs consequences; and
      • cannot be offset by contractors, having regard to other potential or actual time and/or cost efficiencies on a project.
    • Additionally, Agencies will be open to considering reasonable requests from contractors directly impacted by COVID-19, particularly with respect to:
      • more frequent payment claims and I or alternative payment terms; and
      • substitute products and materials, arising from supply chain issues.
  • 2 Jun 2020 11:00 AM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    Western Australia’s peak civil construction industry body has partnered with The Institute of Civil Infrastructure to launch the industry’s own continual professional development program for civil managers. In what is an historic, game-changing moment for the WA civil infrastructure industry, employers and individuals from leading hands to CEOs will now be able to access, anywhere in the State, civil industry specific learning, standards and recognition.

    Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the civil industry had a strong focus on improving the skills of its people. “The industry has recognised the need for ongoing professional development of our managers, including establishing recognised standards,” Mr Graham said.

    “Such initiatives are most successful and valuable when driven from the ground up by the industry itself, and that is precisely what has happened here.

    “We are delighted to be working with The Institute to launch in Western Australia an initiative which will support individuals, employers and the industry’s customers, such as the State Government.

    “We are supporting the current generation of civil infrastructure managers and leaders, and constructing the next.”

    The Institute of Civil Infrastructure was created as a not-for-profit organisation by the civil construction industry to provide industry-based standards, recognition and continuing professional learning for supervisors, manager and leaders.

    “The Institute launched in New South Wales last year and has already proven itself with over 1000 continual professional development registrations,” Mr Graham said.

    “Through this partnership with CCF WA, The Institute will now be offering their service across the entire State.

    “As long as there is an internet connection, no one misses out due to location.”

    The Institute delivers more than 70 courses that are selected by civil contractors to match industry’s needs. Courses focus on three categories: Technical Management, People Management and Business & Operations Management.

    The Institute of Civil Infrastructure CEO David Castledine said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Civil Contractors Federation Western Australia for, through that partnership, all West Australians in the civil industry can now gain access to industry set standards and recognition that is uniform across Australia.

    “The Institute offers a civil industry specific solution for individuals to control their futures, and employers to manage their risks and needs."

    “The Institute is now open for all West Australians. Bookings can be made today.”

    Visit iciaustralia.com for more information

  • 22 May 2020 4:21 PM | Alice Graham (Administrator)

    Australia’s peak voice for the civil infrastructure sector, Civil Contractors Federation National, today acknowledged the announcement by the Federal Government of a $1.8 billion local government infrastructure stimulus, but said further investment is required to stimulate Australia’s economic recovery effort.

    The new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program is a welcomed initiative but CCF National urges more money to be injected into this and other civil infrastructure programs across urban, rural and regional Australia.

    CCF National has been advocating for the Federal Government to utilize the capacity of the civil infrastructure sector in Australia’s economic recovery efforts at a time when it has the capacity to undertake more projects and employ more workers,” said Chris Melham, CCF National Chief Executive Officer.

    “Indeed, CCF National recently undertook a survey of its members which provided strong evidence that the sector has the capacity to take on more civil infrastructure projects and employ thousands more workers to stimulate the Australian economy.

    “CCF National has been a vocal supporter for investment in civil infrastructure to manage the economic impact of COVID 19 and recently wrote to the Federal Government’s National COVID 19 Coordination Commission and the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) confirming the sector’s ability to lead our recovery efforts.

    In its submission to the ERC, CCF National’s recommendations were:

    • Bringing forward monies from the $100 billion Infrastructure Program to fund shovel ready civil infrastructure projects, such as road, rail, bridge, utilities, drainage and telecommunications projects.
    • A stronger focus on increasing the longer-term civil construction investment pipeline by using debt funding for productive infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy both during and after this economic crisis whilst interest rates are at historically low levels.
    • The redirection of a portion of any surplus funds from the ‘social infrastructure’ programs toward the medium and longer-term civil infrastructure project pipeline to provide the private sector with much needed investment confidence.
    • Where appropriate, larger infrastructure projects to be disaggregated and spread across as many tier 2 and tier 3 companies across all states and territories.

     

    “On behalf of the civil infrastructure sector that contributes $135 billion to the Australian economy (8.1% of Australia’s GDP), employs 1.1 million Australians and comprises 345,000 businesses, CCF National continues to encourage the Government to better utilize the sector’s capacity in leading our economic recovery efforts,” Mr Melham concluded.

    For further information:  Mr Duncan Sheppard, CCF National Executive Officer, 0438 330 039


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