Main Roads decision a great disappointment

Today’s decision by the State Government to shift 660 maintenance jobs from the private sector back into the State bureaucracy — Main Roads — is a great disappointment.

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell said the move sends the wrong message to WA businesses about the risks of investing in our State.

“CCIWA expects the decision will diminish rather than improve our roads in the long term. We could potentially see taxpayers bearing higher costs for road maintenance, a reduction in the quality of our roads, a negative impact on innovation in the sector, and an erosion of contractor confidence when bidding for State Government contracts,” Rodwell said.

“We’ve not yet seen or received the modelling used to justify the decision — it’s therefore critical the State Government releases full details as soon as possible so Western Australians can understand and stress-test the assumptions for themselves.”

“It’s unclear how the decision can produce savings, when labour and training costs will increase.”

Our State needs business innovation, not a bigger bureaucracy

Rodwell said the State Government has effectively put itself in competition with local businesses: the public service will inevitably be buying or renting plant and equipment from the very operators whose jobs and contracts they have appropriated — this, now, at a time of major supply chain disruption.

“Achieving various social objectives, like increasing the availability of government jobs and contracts in the regions, can be pursued in partnership with industry,” he said.

“The private sector often leads governments on issues like local training, Indigenous engagement and employment, and developing opportunities to take part in project supply chains.

“This latest decision continues the trend of shifting private sector jobs into the bureaucracy, whether at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Water Corporation, St John Ambulance and now Main Roads.

“Businesses who tender for government contracts in other areas of the economy may well wonder if they’ll be next.”

For more economic analysis see CCIWA’s Economic Insight page.

For general employee advice and guidance, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email [email protected].

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