5 KEY TAKEAWAYS | Continuing Victoria’s Road to Recovery
At the height of the first state lockdown, the Victorian Government identified that building and construction would represent a key driver of economic recovery post-pandemic and established the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce.
13 months on the Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas joined Jamila Rizvi to discuss how recovery is tracking and what the built environment sector can expect next. If you missed the live session or would simply like a recap, here are the key inisghts that came out of the session from our virtual 2021 Be Summit.
1. The Current State of the Victorian Economy
Minister Tim Pallas began his discussion by reflecting on the state of the economy and where Victoria is at, 13 months on from the height of the first state lockdown. Despite the recent challenges of the Delta strain, the economy is coming off a solid base of strong economic growth. In particular it has seen solid growth in household spending, positive business confidence and strong expansions of its manufacturing sector and labour market. As Pallas explains “Victoria’s leading the nation in jobs growth and has the lowest unemployment rate of all the states according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.” It’s forecasted growth in state product for the ’22 financial year is also trending well above the forecast increase in Australia’s GDP.
By controlling the virus and maintaining high vaccination rates, Pallas notes that Victoria has laid out the foundations for a return to strong growth and economic health in its road to recovery.
2. Victoria’s Future
Since the pandemic, it is evident how significantly it has transformed our everyday lives. The majority of the population has proved that working from home can be the new normal, the 9-5 commute is already a thing of the past and some of us are moving from Melbourne to regional centres as we become more tethered from our city offices. Although managing the virus is rightly the current focus, there is already a push to look much further ahead for Victoria and how it’s future will look differently on its road to recovery.
Significant shifts have been occurring in Victoria’s economic landscape in particularly, the large scale move towards hybrid remote working which has encouraged a shift to localised living, and the easing of 9-5 herding within the CBD. Although there is pain in these shifts, Tim sets out that there could also be growth and new life as CBD rents fall and smaller companies take up offices and new residents move in, less congestion on our roads, increased economic spending and wealth out to the suburbs and more life for small and local businesses. Taking these societal shifts into account, Victoria is focused on creating the infrastructure and spaces that our children and grandchildren will need into their future.
3. Building the Recovery
Despite the COVID-19 challenges of the past 18 months, Victoria’s robust infrastructure investment pipeline has played a vital role in its economic recovery during the pandemic, and it will continue to be a major focus of the 21-22 budget. Minister Tim Pallas states, “…our focus in the early stages of the pandemic was kickstarted with our historic building works package which provided $2.7 billion shovel ready projects”, in an attempt to rebuild Victoria and get people back to work.
A number of key projects are well underway for the 21-22 financial year including sizeable investment into developing new and upgraded schools and TAFE institutions, upgraded metropolitan train networks, new community hospitals and a number of new mental facilities in response to the recommendations of royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system and many more. The Victorian government understands the importance of maintaining business and investment confidence and its role in delivering this is to continue in providing the benefits of its infrastructure projects and built environment to its community.
4. Increasing Use of Technology with the Built Environment
Since the pandemic started, we have become strongly familiar with the application of technology in our everyday lives. And within Victoria’s built environment, it is now applying highly sophisticated artificial intelligence technology to its major projects. With Victoria leading the nation in infrastructure development, it is partnering with the world’s major infrastructure investors as early adopters to new cutting-edge AI technology. This innovative approach to projects, uses algorithm machine learning, by learning from patterns in historical project performance, the algorithm learns by comparing what was planned against what actually happened to then identify where problems are most likely to occur and where efficiencies can be made.
Victoria is committed to using technology to improve its project delivery into the future and with that has formerly released its first Digital Asset Policy, aimed at providing clear requirement and guidance for digital asset information management. “Implementing this policy will enhance information management through the asset lifecycle, leading to improved efficiencies in productivity, enhanced cost effectiveness and reducing project timelines.” Tim explains. Overall the digital build program is working to improve productivity of Victorian infrastructure projects.
5. Sustainable Investment
The government is continually working to ensure Victorian people benefit from its significant infrastructure pipeline. And because of this, new sustainable investment guidelines were released this week to support project teams to incorporate environmental, social and economic sustainability in Victorian Government infrastructure investment. The guidelines were developed to ensure a consistent approach to adopting sustainable practices and balancing the need for environmental, social and economic priorities to achieve sustainable development.
In Victoria’s Road to Recovery, the government is committed to pushing the boundaries to infrastructure procurement and aspiring to not just rebuild what we had prior to the pandemic but to build something better.
Watch the full discussion below!
- Jamila Rizvi | Author, presenter and political commentator | Be Summit MC
- Tim Pallas MP | Treasurer of Victoria | Minister for Economic Development, Industrial Relations
A big thank you to our speakers for being a part of the 2021 Be Summit virtual event! Subscribe now to receive upcoming event and industry news straight to your inbox.