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Civil Contractors Federation SA

Invest now to protect jobs

NEW infrastructure investment is urgently needed to avoid almost 10,000 construction jobs being lost in South Australia over the next three years, a report warns.

Both major political parties are being urged to direct election spending towards the sector to help save jobs.

The BIS Oxford Economics report, released on Friday, forecasts a 14 per cent drop in the value of construction work by 2020.

Civil Contractors Federation chief executive Phil Sutherland said the report was “alarming and a reality check” for the major political parties.

“The solutions are there. All that is required is the political will and courage to adopt the strategies outlined in the report,” Mr Sutherland said.

“Time is of the essence. Action is required now to mitigate against the economic train wreck that is looming.” The BIS report said the conclusion of several major infrastructure projects, combined with “weak population growth”, the Holden closure, and falling public investment, meant there was “no better time to have an open and transparent discussion” about SA’s long-term future.

The NBN rollout and substantial road and rail works including the Torrens-to-Torrens and the O-Bahn extension – are among major projects soon set to be completed.

The report forecasts that construction work will fall from its current peak of $10.3 billion in the 2017-18 financial year, to $8.5 billion by 2020-21. It calls on the State Government to establish an independent infrastructure agency to review infrastructure projects, in the same vein as the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Australia.

The State Government sent a wishlist to Infrastructure Australia two weeks ago, which includes new park ‘n’ rides, North-South Corridor road upgrades and an extension to the Seaford train line.

The state Liberals have announced a plan to break up lucrative government contracts into “bite-size” tenders to maximise work won by SA firms.

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Civil Contractors Federation (CCF SA) is an industry association that promotes, protects and represents companies and other organisations with business interest in civil (construction) contracting. The CCF SA helps its Members obtain more work, work more effectively and make more money.