Our Keeping WA Moving strategy and focus areas of Customers, Movement, Sustainability and Safety emphasise what is and will be central to our business and customers in the years ahead. They continue to guide our future direction, underpinned by our values and guiding principles.
A particular source of pride for me has been the Matagarup Bridge, named for its cultural significance and connection of the Whadjuk Community to the Swan River. We have now completed the highly anticipated connection between East Perth and the Optus Stadium providing an iconic piece of public infrastructure. The decision to return the steel works to local fabricators created more than 200 local jobs and the bridge arch assembly and complex lifting process was a feat of engineering not previously undertaken on an infrastructure project in Western Australia.
The safety of the transport system and minimising any personal harm it may cause is always a significant focus for us. We are committed to forming collaborative relationships with others to ensure we make the transport system safer. Our Road Safety Management System uses a holistic approach seeking to manage the interaction between the road, travel speed, the vehicle and the road user.
Gains in road safety requires a collaborative approach to be taken and a great example of this is our adoption of a Safe System approach to conduct a review on Indian Ocean Drive.
Working closely with the Road Safety Commission and the Western Australia Police Force we examined the road safety risk, road engineering and driver behaviour of this stretch of road. The combined effort to undertake a review of this magnitude highlights the state government’s commitment to road safety. We have determined a suite of actions that will make this road safer for the entire community.
We also started trialling full freeway closures for the completion of routine maintenance. This was another example of a collaborative effort with our portfolio colleagues in the Public Transport Authority bringing together nine organisations into a single initiative. This combined approach reduced the impact on commuters and also provided increased safety to our road workers as well as financial benefits that will be reinvested back into our roads.
Work continues on delivering the $1.02 billion NorthLink WA initiative providing a much needed transport link between Morley and Muchea. We completed the southern section that now sees Tonkin Highway upgraded to a freeway-standard, providing a free-flowing link between Guildford Road and Reid Highway. When completed the NorthLink WA transport link will reduce travel times creating significant productivity benefits to the economy, industry, motorists and the local community.
Our business activities provide important support services focused around encouraging sustainable practices, improving the entire customer experience, investing in and developing our people and their safety, health and wellbeing.
I am very pleased we lead the way in our commitment to increasing opportunities for Aboriginal employment and engagement.
We continue to support the State and the Australian Government’s policies and frameworks to maximise Indigenous employment and business opportunities through the proposals implemented by our Senior Leadership Aboriginal Employment Initiatives Taskforce. An estimated 170 opportunities for Aboriginal employment were created this year, with a significant increase anticipated as projects reach later stages of planning and construction.
Our new road maintenance network contracts have been a key factor in establishing these opportunities. A few of the major achievements include our Mid West-Gascoyne Region workforce currently has a 37 per cent Aboriginal participation rate, the Broome Cape Leveque project had 86 per cent Aboriginal employment on site, in the first month of construction and for the Wyndham Spur and Maggies Jump Up sections upgrades, more than 45 per cent of total labour hours were undertaken by Aboriginal people.
We remain committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environmental and social values in all our activities. Our NorthLink WA Southern Section project was recognised at the national Infrastructure Sustainability Awards – winning two awards and achieving the highest score for a ‘design and construct project’ in Australia. A clear testament to the great work we are doing in sustainability.
Providing a transport network centred on what our customers need and value is integral to our strategic direction. The Perth Area Travel Household Survey (PATHS) launched in May 2018 will see information collected from a total of approximately 7000 households over four years. The function of the survey is to collect information about how individuals travel so we can use the data to better inform land use planning and our transport infrastructure investment decision-making.
The success of any organisation is determined by the capability of its people. During the year we released TEAM (Training Engaging Accountable Managers) a management skills development program. The training is designed to empower supervisors and people managers to perform their role more effectively in key areas including resource management, conflict resolution and mental health in the workplace. It aims to equip our leaders with the skills needed to ensure their teams are productive and motivated to perform at their highest levels every day.
Our workforce planning cycle has been reinvigorated as we focus on identifying and addressing key capability risks and gaps in core areas. Particular subjects we are focusing on include succession planning, building capability and resourcing. These are a couple of high priority initiatives, resulting from previous staff engagement surveys, aiming to further strengthen a positive, collaborative and engaged workplace culture.
We have a proactive approach to safety, health and wellbeing as we continue to offer support to our people with an annual health and wellbeing program that includes flu vaccinations, skin screenings and workstation ergonomic reviews. We also encourage participation in the City to Surf fun run and the HBF Run for a Reason. Our annual Highway to Health Challenge offers a fun and interactive, friendly competition amongst staff.
This year saw a combined total of close to 42 million steps taken as well as a range of health and exercise challenges completed by participants.
Integrating technology with physical infrastructure offers a great opportunity to innovate. To ensure that Western Australia is in a position to benefit from these emerging transport technologies we will develop existing systems further, such as our industry recognised Open Data, Maps and Apps Portal, and continue to explore new and innovative opportunities including the practical use of drones and video analytics.
In the year ahead we will continue our work to reduce congestion, improve safety and create more WA jobs. This includes progressing road infrastructure such as construction of the new Bridge and duplication on Armadale Road; widening Kwinana Freeway northbound; and upgrades to Mitchell Freeway. Regional works on roads where there is a high risk of run-off road accidents include widening a section of Indian Ocean Drive; upgrades on the Great Northern Highway from Muchea to Wubin; continued construction of unsealed sections of the Broome to Cape Leveque Road; and progressing plans for the next stage of the Albany Ring Road.
Delivering a transport system that meets the needs and expectations of our communities is not something we can achieve on our own. This year we continued to work closely with our Transport Portfolio partners, Department of Transport and Public Transport Authority, so the entire integrated transport system supports, shapes and enables our thriving state.
I’d like to sincerely thank all our people who through a culture of hard work, dedication and teamwork have contributed to the positive progress we continue to make. It is their commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism that keeps us at the forefront of State Government agencies. I look forward to the next year and the exciting opportunities ahead.