The resignation has been announced of one of South Australia’s most influential industry lobbyists, Civil Contractors Federation South Australia (CCF SA) Chief Executive, Mr Phil Sutherland.
He will step down from the pivotal position in January next year, ending a nine year tenure with the organisation, regarded highly for its role under his helmsmanship on pressuring government at all levels to employ infrastructure outcomes as economic drivers.
Mr Sutherland says the decision is timely, allowing him to consider alternative career opportunities and for the CCF (SA) to refresh and refocus at a time civil construction will be a cornerstone behind the pace and success of SA’s post-COVID recovery.
Well-known and respected in government, industry and media circles, Mr Sutherland emerged as a fearless champion for civil contractors and the civil construction industry and a vocal advocate for South Australia.
He successfully transformed the Federation from a little-known industry association to significant prominence, placing the lobby group firmly in the spotlight as a key influencer of government, politicians and community stakeholder interests.
Under Mr Sutherland’s leadership, the CCF (SA)’s training operation, Civil Train, grew in reputation throughout both SA and the Northern Territory as a high quality not for profit trainer and has more recently extended its operations into Western Australia.
He also drove the approval of an Apprenticeship in Civil Construction, a long overdue qualification for the sector, establishing a career pathway into the industry for school leavers and others. The creation of a CCF SA sponsored Group Training Organisation to manage apprentices for the industry is also a highlight of Mr Sutherland’s tenure.
Comments attributable to Mr Sutherland.
“It has been an honour and privilege to be the face and spokesperson for such an important South Australian industry.
“The role demands you play with a straight bat with politicians, regardless of their colours. This requires some hard truths to be faced at times by government, as unpalatable as that can be for the government of the day.
“I will leave the position knowing that the Federation has played a major role in seeing historically high government investment in transport and other infrastructure destined for South Australia, and that the State, in particular smaller businesses are benefiting from local industry participation requirements of government.
“Civil contractors of all sizes are out there day in and day out building South Australia and ensuring a lifestyle we enjoy and mostly take for granted.
“These contractors deserve their place in the sun and full recognition for their substantial economic contribution to the prosperity and lifestyle of South Australia.”
Comments attributable to Mr Paul Davison, President of the CCF (SA):
“Mr Sutherland’s contribution to increasing the advocacy of the CCF (SA) has been second to none over the time he has overseen our Association. We have never before in our history had the visibility we have secured before Government and the media.
“Mr Sutherland has steered the organisation through a vast array of difficult and challenging times and the CCF (SA) is clearly in a better state for his contribution and leadership.”