Today is R U OK? Day - a national initiative encouraging each of us to think about who in our world might need to be asked how they’re really going - and to make a moment meaningful by asking “are you OK?”
2021 is proving just as challenging as last year, with many Australians living in protracted COVID lockdowns and with travel restrictions preventing visits between families and friends.
Of course, we know that in our own industry, mental health challenges are especially acute. Roads Australia is committed to addressing these challenges through practical initiatives that can identify problems and offer solutions.
In 2021, our RA Fellows are working on a project that collects work demand data using qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. This data will help our industry better understand the psychosocial risk posed by work demand and inform on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of a range of job redesign options available to our industry, which can help reduce job stressors associated with work demand. For more details, see the Diversity & Inclusion section of RA Insider.
I also encourage you to check out The Cost of Doing Nothing – a major report into the construction industry highlighting the need for urgent action to address cultural issues that are costing the economy close to $8 billion each year, affecting the wellbeing of our workforce and the sustainability of the industry. RA is proud to be working with our members, governments and industry to address some of these challenges by pursuing recommendations around culture in the RA Procurement Reform Report.
In the meantime, take a moment today to reach out to a friend, colleague or neighbour, and ask them are they really OK? You never know the difference a conversation might make.
Stay well and safe
Chief Executive Officer
Inland Rail construction moves closer in Queensland
ARTC Inland Rail has announced a significant step on the journey to construction work commencing in Queensland on this historic national project.
The Brisbane-based BHQ Joint Venture has now entered into a collaborative framework agreement with ARTC for the Northern Civil Works Program. This will enable local businesses to engage now with BHQ now about work opportunities associated with Inland Rail, in areas such as fencing, quarries, earthworks and electrical companies and transport operations. Engaging now will enable local businesses and suppliers to hit the ground running when formal approvals are granted and construction in Queensland begins.
ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said: "Queensland stands to benefit significantly from Inland Rail, with approximately two-thirds of the total project expenditure allocated for Queensland, and more than 11,800 jobs expected at the peak of construction in 2023-24. We’ve already committed contracts to over 630 businesses in Queensland worth over $1.5 billion, and this agreement will bring even more stimulus to the state as it recovers from the economic impacts of the pandemic.”
Click here to see RA CEO Michael Kilgariff discussing the importance of Inland Rail to Australia's integrated transport system.
Help develop a sleep app for construction workers
Construction workers experience poorer mental health than other workers. The rate of suicide of male construction workers is 1.7
times higher than other male workers. Sleep disruption caused by sleep disorders or shift work can trigger mental health disorders and make existing mental health problems worse.
Latest research indicates poor mental health can lead to burn out, depression, anxiety and increase safety incidents in the construction environment.
Monash University's Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health has been actively using research to develop a range of interventions to optimise sleep in many work environments. They are currently developing an app for use in construction but need Victorian construction workers to complete a survey around sleep and mental health to help in its design.
Please scan the QR code or visit www.appforsleep.com.au to complete a brief and confidential online survey on sleep and mental health.
Last Friday, Infrastructure Australia launched its 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, which will support the next phase of our national COVID-19 recovery. It highlights the reforms that will unlock the full economic benefits of stimulus spending and take advantage of emerging opportunities across infrastructure.
The online launch event featured an engaging panel discussion that explored some of the key recommendations contained in the Plan and highlighted some opportunities for industry to collaborate and drive progress. The event also featured contributions from a number of peak industry bodies, including RA.
RA is pleased to have actively engaged with Infrastructure Australia throughout the development of the plan, highlighting our industry’s reform priorities. We also worked with IA to identify opportunities where RA can facilitate the collaboration between all levels of government and industry which the Plan notes is essential to achieve results.
It is especially encouraging to see the high degree of alignment between the priorities identified in the Plan and the four key policy themes of resilience, place making, people and data & technology set out in the RA Strategic Plan 2021-2023.
You can view RA President Michael Bushby’s statement in response to the Plan here, along with RA's own video message welcoming the release of the Plan.
Next Wednesday, 15 September, RA will host an Industry Webinar with Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew, which will further explore industry opportunities arising from the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan. To learn more and register, click here.
An industry-first partnership was announced this week between Roads Australia, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, with the three organisations uniting in their efforts to help reduce the climate change impact of new and existing transport infrastructure.
The partnership has engaged KPMG Australia to undertake a study on ways government and industry stakeholders can accelerate decarbonisation throughout a transport asset’s lifecycle, by reducing embodied, operating and enabled emissions.
This will lead to a report to be published later this year showcasing best-in-class initiatives and making policy recommendations that help Australia achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The report is being sponsored by Arup, a firm committed to accelerating reduction in carbon emissions and creating effective sustainability outcomes for their clients.
Turnbull Engineering has welcomed Stuart Manley to its team as Director – Governance. He has more than three decades of experience working in civil engineering across Australia, the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and is currently a Board member of Consult Australia.
Former Infrastructure Partnerships Australia CEO Brendan Lyon has launched Project Partners, a specialist infrastructure advisory firm offering advice across infrastructure strategy, financial analysis and commercial execution.
As the Suburban Rail Loop moves towards its construction phase next year, the Victorian Government has announced the formation of Precinct Reference Groups, which will provide a direct feedback mechanism for local communities. The advisory groups will help with place making aspects of the project by integrating the amenities, services, open and public space and local infrastructure necessary to attract residential and commercial activity. They will include representatives from community and business groups, local councils, educational and health institutions as well as relevant agencies.
Queensland has expanded its alcohol interlock problem to include mid-range drink drivers in a further tightening of the state's drink driving laws. The expansion means that drink drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between 0.10 and 0.149 will need to have an alcohol interlock in their vehicle until they can show a consistent record of clear breath tests over time. In further changes, all drink driving offenders will be required to complete intervention or education programs before they are eligible to return to driving.
South Australia is also focusing dangerous driver behaviour, with legislation introduced this week that would enable police to issue a 3-month instant loss of licence penalty if a positive roadside drug screening test is returned. If passed, this would be the first legislation in Australia to allow the immediate removal of drug drivers from the road. The legislation also toughens penalties applicable to other dangerous driving behaviours, including excessive speed, reckless and dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified.
RA member Boral has announced its emissions reduction targets as part of its commitment to net zero. These include a 46 per cent reduction in absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and a 22 per cent reduction in relevant Scope 3 emissions per tonne of cementitious materials (against a 2019 baseline). Boral’s CEO & Managing Director, Zlatko Todorcevski said: “We are redefining Boral’s strategy to become a leading innovator in sustainability by decarbonising our cement and other construction materials businesses and embedding a more circular economy approach. Our
decarbonisation pathways include shifting to renewable energy sources, and growing our proprietary lower carbon, higher performing concrete solutions.”
AustStab advises that the 2021 Australian Pavement Recycling and Stabilisation Conference that was scheduled to take place in Sydney on the 20th October 2021 has been postponed due to the continuing uncertainty presented by the current COVID-19 situation.. A date in 2022 will be advised when venue arrangements have been confirmed.
Lysander is launching The Integrated Approach to Wellness Framework - a proven tool in preventing the psychological impact of workplace stress and job-related factors within the infrastructure construction industry. Based on the success of the pilot conducted with the Mordialloc Freeway Joint Venture that included RA members McConnell Dowell and Decmil, the Framework will support businesses to promote a positive culture in the workplace and to increase team and organisational effectiveness. The virtual event will occur at 10:00am AEST on 29 September. For more details and to register, click here.
Remember, if your organisation has news to share with the readers of RA Insider, please send details through to Simon Morgan
R U OK? Day puts a spotlight on mental health issues - and is a good moment to highlight some of the work being done by our 2021 RA Fellows to support better mental health outcomes for our industry.
In 2020, RA Fellows conducted a project to address primary interventions (i.e. eliminate or reduce job stressors)
for the white-collar workforce, thereby providing a practical solution for industry to take forward.
In 2021, we are taking the best of this work and developing it further by collecting work demand data using qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. This data will assist our industry in understanding psychosocial risks posed by work demand, and help determine the effectiveness of potential job re-design options available to the industry.
This will be achieved by collecting data prior to and post deployment of a job re-design option, assessing the impact on work demand and determining if any of the deployed job re-design options have been able to reduce job stressors. The project is being delivered in partnership with Victoria's Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA).
As well as potentially reducing the number of reported mental health related occurrences within the industry, the project will also contribute to industry sustainability, attraction and retention of talent, and enhancement of our industry's image.
Remember, if you have news or achievements in the D&I space to share with our readers, please send details through to Prue Northey at RA.
New RA events are continuing to roll out all the time. Check out our Events Calendar and keep an eye on our website www.roads.org.au to make sure you don't miss out on networking opportunities.
Event Enquiries - Contact RA Director Events Rachael Rooney
Booking Enquiries - Contact RA Event Administrator Daniel Mellow
Sponsorship Enquiries - Contact RA Manager Membership & Programs Prue Northey
Upcoming Industry Events/Training
RA Insider is proudly sponsored by Cardno. If you'd like to add more people in your organisation to our distribution list, or if you have industry news to share, please email Simon Morgan - RA Director Corporate Affairs.
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