Constructing Australia’s Infrastructure with the Civil Contractors Federation

By
Updated: January 18, 2018
Civil Contractors Federation
Now 2018 has arrived, the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) celebrates its 75th Year Anniversary in the serving and shaping of Australia’s Civil Construction Industry.

Words/ Gavriel Berkowitz

Since its foundation in Victoria in 1943, the not-for-profit organisation has grown and evolved, ever in lock-step with the changing face of the industry.

Today, CCF is the peak industry body, with branches in all states and territories, representing more than 2000 contractor and associate members nationally. With a primary commitment to further its members’ interests and help them enhance their business operations, CCF offers effective business tools and management systems, as well as practical advice in areas such as legal, industrial relations, workplace health and safety, human resources and environmental compliance. Through strong advocacy CCF influences government policy at Local, State and Federal levels.

CCF Members are responsible for the construction and maintenance of Australia’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, pipelines, drainage, ports and utilities. Members also play a vital role in the residential and commercial building industry by providing earthmoving and land development services, including the provision of power, water, communications and gas.

With a strategic focus centred around SKILLS, MEMBER SERVICES, ADVOCACY, REPRESENTATION and TECHNOLOGY (SMART), CCF continually endeavours to deliver real value to its members.

THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP

An ever-increasing number of contractor businesses are experiencing the many benefits made available through CCF Membership, including:

• Access to the best industry skills training for management and staff

• The ability, through CCF, to be the voice of the industry and influence change

• Access to a range of exclusive deals from key suppliers (Associate Members)

• Access to a wider industry network through local and national events

• Access to innovative technology, designed to help businesses generate revenues

• Access to expert advice on a range of industry matters, including Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S), Environmental, Water, Careers and Skills, and HR/IR

• Opportunities to increase business exposure through CCF channels and media

• Access to current industry news and regulation updates that affect how construction businesses operate

• The provision of nationally recognised qualifications through apprenticeship and upskill training programs

• Exclusive discounts on business operations documents

Interview with John Kilgour, CEO, Civil Contractors Federation Victoria

John Kilgour

John Kilgour, CEO, Civil Contractors Federation Victoria.

GB: G’day John. Thanks for the interview opportunity. We have just a few questions to help provide readers with some insight as to what’s been happening recently in the industry and at CCF.

JK: My pleasure – fire away!

GB: Recognising that 2018 will be CCF’s 75th successful year in delivering services to its members and the industry, and that it currently hosts a membership of over 2000 contractors across Australia – tell us a little about the cultural aspects of CCF Membership. What are the commonly shared values across the Federation?

JK: CCF and its members share a passion for the civil construction industry and feel a sense of pride in the role we play in delivering the critical infrastructure needed to support all aspects of Australian society.

Delivering tomorrow’s infrastructure needs today… safely, to a high level of quality and in an environmentally responsive and sustainable manner, is part of our commitment, obligation and responsibility.

GB: Tell us what’s been happening lately at CCF.

JK: CCF continues to be “the voice for members” in representing their interests on a wide range of industry issues. At a National level, we have seen the recent release of CCF’s 2017/18 Australian Infrastructure Outlook Report, with BIS Oxford Economics Shrapnel, together with submissions and participation in the working group by CCF National CEO, Chris Melham, in the Security of Payments Review being conducted by the Federal Government. The findings and recommendations from this review are to be published in December 2017.

In Victoria, we continue to work collaboratively with the State Government and its Agencies in supporting the delivery of a sustainable pipeline of major infrastructure projects while advocating for continued reform into public construction. We must start to see greater standardisation in procurement, a reduction in unnecessary time and costs to the industry through more efficient tender processes; and improved government capability and planning in construction procurement.

GB: Are there any changes or developing trends in the industry that CCF has recently observed? What direction does the industry appear to be taking?

JK: In Victoria, one of the greatest challenges confronting our industry is “Skills shortages”. Whether it be suitably qualified Engineers, Project Managers, Supervisors, Plant Operators, or Labourers; the accelerated forward works programs and skills guarantee levels set by the State Government for major projects is placing enormous pressure on us to attract, train and retain a “new generation” of workers into the civil construction sector.

At CCF Victoria, we are working to address this gap by developing and establishing a Civil Skills Cadetship program. Our objective is to provide appropriate training and sustainable employment outcomes for vulnerable or disadvantaged sectors of our community, or those sectors such as car manufacturing or energy, that are going through enormous transition. CCF, through our Civil Train function, is well placed to deliver programs and initiatives such as this, which will lead to long term social and economic benefits within our community.

GB: Are there any particular industry related matters you feel contractor businesses need to be aware of?

JK: Gav, the “elephant in the room” is the increasing costs for materials and the potential shortfall in extractive products for use in construction. In July 2016, the Victorian Government launched a new report that looked at the level of quarry recourses in Victoria, and what supply and demand we can expect between now and 2050 to help meet expectations for Victoria’s future growth plans. What is of concern is that the report indicates there is insufficient supply within current or planned quarry resources to satisfy this demand, and it is estimated that 34 per cent of Victoria’s requirements for quarry products by 2050 will need to be sourced from new quarries.

The report found that 15 local government areas would be critical to efficiently supplying quarry materials to key growth area markets, which will also incur an additional $2 billion in transport costs for every 25km that quarry materials must be transported over the 2015-50 period.

At the end of the day, this all adds up to a potential shortfall in extractive materials and additional procurement and transportation costs that contractors will need to take into account in their tendering and subsequent conditions of contracts.

GB: What new initiatives is CCF currently involved with?

JK: One of our newest initiatives is the recent launch of CivFast, the new ‘online market’ portal designed to connect the thousands of contractors, engineers and suppliers of Australia’s Civil Industry.

CivFast is now live in Victoria and will be launched in all other states over the next few months. Available online 24/7 and operating in real-time, CivFast is the user-friendly, faster way to match people and resources across key areas of industry, including: Plant Hire, Contracting Services, Material and Fill. If you are a contractor looking to get free quotes from suppliers or you are a supplier looking to increase your business reach and generate new leads – CivFast is the faster, easier way to connect.

GB: OK, so if let’s say, I’m a plant hiring company – what do I need to do to get my plant and machinery listed on CivFast?

JK: That’s easy. Simply go onto the site www.civfast.com.au and register as a supplier. Or, you can call our team on 1300 DIAL CCF (1300 342 522), who will help walk you through registration and answer any questions you might have.

GB: Thanks for your time John. We wish CCF all the best for the future.