Victoria’s Future Industries Construction Technologies Discussion Paper

By on January 18, 2016

Specific comments

  • It was proposed that the reference to the mining industry in the discussion paper should be amended to read the quarrying or extractives sector.
  • There should be mention that one of the major reasons for the “high unemployment, weak productivity growth and flat business investment in Victoria” is due to the overwhelming legislative framework.
  • “Building more productive and liveable cities and regions through transport, infrastructure and land use planning”. There needs to be certainty generated in the extractive industry by an ongoing pipeline of infrastructure projects from Government. This is necessary due to the long lead times (years) to obtain State and Local Government approvals to undertake quarrying to enable the supply of construction materials.
  • “Many construction materials such as quarry materials and bricks are bulky, of relatively low value, and expensive to transport. Production of materials of this type is usually through a plant with economies of scale within proximity to major markets to economise on transport costs. Expansion and internationalisation of businesses producing these products will likely be through investment in plant in proximity to new markets, rather than expanding production from existing plant in Victoria. The internationalisation model of Australian construction coined ‘multi-domestic’ – essentially is the consolidation of regional plants within one operating company. Economies of scale are generated through management, marketing and innovation rather than in production.” The CMPA strongly disagrees with this paragraph, mostly due to being anti-competitive in nature and due to not being supportive of small to medium sized family businesses which are so important to the Victorian economy.
  • The number of employees for “Gravel and Sand Quarrying”; and “Other Construction Material Mining” (which should read as “quarrying” and not “mining”) depicted is approximately 250. This figure is wrong with number being closer to a factor of 10 greater (see WorkSafe statistics).
  • The CMPA had input into the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Public Infrastructure in which the CMPA highlighted the need for regulatory reform. Below are some examples of issues negatively impacting the construction materials industry:
    1. Sequence for the Work Plan Approval Process;
    2. Proposed risk based Work Plan;
    3. Extractive Sector Rehabilitation Bonds ;
    4. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Legislation;
    5. Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations; and
    6. Catchment Management Authorities (CMA).

Questions for CMPA consideration
Only the following questions were answered as being relevant to CMPA.

1. “How might technology uptake be increased in the Victorian Construction Sector?”
Technology uptake by the construction materials industry would be facilitated by addressing the previous legislative concerns which would enable the freeing up of scarce capital resources for this purpose.  Areas which could be explored for development would be in the area of monitoring (such as for dust or air blast) which is extremely time consuming and expensive at present.

10. “How can Victoria’s construction materials and technology firms better capitalise on its strong research base in materials science?” 
There is little research ongoing in Victoria in resource construction materials due to the nature of the industry: extremely competitive; high volume; low price product. Though some quarries are introducing recycled materials into their products. There is need for better industry and research (including academia) collaboration. This may occur through the introduction of Government grants which would allow small to medium sized businesses or Industry Associations to access researchers.

11. “How can better industry and research collaboration be facilitated?”
The CMPA holds Workshops and General meetings where there are opportunities for the latest technology from service organisations to be presented. These sessions could also include research presentations where relevant. There is difficulty with internet usage in rural areas where many quarries are located which hinders collaboration.

14. “Are there regulatory or attitudinal barriers that inhibit the uptake of new materials or processes on Victorian Construction Projects”
VicRoads sets the standards for road infrastructure in Victoria which is also adopted by Local Councils. The approval processes are necessarily slow due to wanting certainty surrounding the lifetime of the road infrastructure. There are regulatory barriers in say monitoring for dust in that the regulator will only accept those that meet Australian Standards which take a long time to develop.

For the full submission see the CMPA website –

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