Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Needed to Support Population Growth

Australia’s population is burgeoning. The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently reported a significant growth of 563,200 people in just one year, underscoring the urgent need for robust infrastructural development to keep pace with this increase. CJC Management acknowledges the government’s recently announced $10 billion housing fund initiative to construct 30,000 new homes in the next five years as a positive initial step in addressing the immediate housing needs of Australia, however, this vision needs to encompass not just housing, but the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure to effectively support population growth.

Photo courtesy of CJC Management

The Intergenerational Report 2023, recently released by the Treasurer of Australia, echoes this necessity, outlining the critical role of infrastructure in supporting socio-economic development and enabling economic and productivity growth. It highlights the continued and increasing investment in infrastructure to help reduce congestion and ensure the smooth, efficient movement of goods and people nationally and internationally. These measures are instrumental in enhancing connectivity, providing access to employment, healthcare, education, and community activities.

As a responsible and visionary stakeholder in the infrastructure and management sector, CJC Management believes that true, sustainable growth requires a far-reaching, holistic approach. While appreciative of the government’s focus on housing, the company recognises that extensive and collaborative efforts are needed beyond this sector.

“The $10 billion housing fund and the Federal Government’s commitment to transport infrastructure expenditure give us a framework upon which we can construct a strong and resilient infrastructure for Australia. This is a golden era for collaboration across sectors to focus on creating comprehensive environments where communities not only exist but thrive.”

said Colin Calder, Group Managing Director of CJC Management.

In light of the Intergenerational Report’s projections, CJC Management underscores the importance of innovative investment in diverse sectors like utilities, telecommunications, digital infrastructure, port developments, and social infrastructure.

“As the report suggests, a strategic review of the Infrastructure Investment Program and enhanced planning and coordination with states and territories are essential to improve the quality and sustainability of long-term infrastructure spending.”

said Colin.

Colin Calder, Group Managing Director of CJC Management

Rethinking risk management for project delivery 

In this context, the Australian engineering and construction industry is on the brink of change, especially in managing project delivery risks. Owners and contractors are aiming for enhanced collaboration and open communication concerning project specifics. The industry is expected to shift away from fixed-price contracts, leaning towards more flexible and collaborative agreements that focus on cost and time assessments.

“Organisations will need to establish robust governance, incorporate thorough risk management practices, and employ advanced digital systems for accurate reporting and forecasting. Early engagement with contractors and the adoption of adaptable, performance-incentivised delivery models will be crucial for navigating this emerging industry scenario efficiently.”

said Colin.

Enhancing project success

The construction industry continues to face numerous challenges, including escalated material costs, labour issues, and supply chain disruptions, which are contributing to poor project performance. According to KPMG, with only half of the projects being completed on time, contractors worldwide including in Australia, are under significant pressure. Despite these obstacles, there’s a substantial opportunity for improvement in the sector. Organisations handling major projects should prioritise proper delivery and procurement models, precise cost estimates, and realistic schedules. Emphasis should also be on comprehensive risk management, cost analysis, fair risk distribution, efficient project management offices, solid governance, integrated project controls, and utilising data analytics and technology to boost project performance and productivity.

Digital technology and innovation reviving the industry

A growing trend is evident as the construction industry increasingly adopts diverse technologies including mobile platforms, AI, and robotic process automation. Alongside the notable surge in modular or offsite manufacturing, these advanced technologies and methods are poised to markedly enhance the industry’s efficiency and overall performance. Emphasising the importance of advanced tools, the sector is turning its attention towards project management information systems, integrated project controls, building information models, and sophisticated data analytics to amplify return on investment in construction projects.

ESG and diversity paving the way

ESG considerations are emerging as a central focus not just in Australia, but globally in the infrastructure and construction sectors. Organisations are actively urging the industry to embrace more environmentally sustainable practices.

“This push is resulting in a significant shift with industry leaders establishing ambitious targets for reducing carbon footprints, waste, and pollution and heightening biodiversity awareness.”

said Colin.

In addition, there is a marked effort to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry, all factors that are vital for future success.

“We are beginning to witness the industry not just talk about, but also act upon the belief that a diverse workforce is pivotal for enhancing project resilience. There is still a long way to go but, this industry approach effectively tackles disruption, brings fresh skills and perspectives to the forefront, and adeptly handles challenges tied to scheduling, remote working, and job site travel. To ensure continued progress, the industry needs to hold firm in its commitment to fostering inclusivity, investing in training and development, and implementing policies that support a diverse and equitable workplace It’s vital for the entire industry to look beyond traditional construction. The inclusion of digital innovation, environmental sustainability, and workforce diversity is essential for the journey ahead. Together with other industry leaders, CJC Management is ready to share insights and collaborate extensively to ensure that our collective infrastructure robustly meets future demands and challenges particularly as our population grows.”

said Colin.'
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