It is my pleasure to present Main Roads Western Australia’s Annual Report for 2019-20. The year has been one quite unlike any other.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented the world with a unique challenge in cooperation, adaptability and resilience. The situation evolved rapidly; in February, our leaders came together at the 2020 Transport Portfolio Leadership Forum identifying opportunities to improve transport outcomes for the state. In early March, the Portfolio supported Perth Festival in staging the successful Highway to Hell AC/DC tribute concert, attended by more than 150,000 people. Only weeks later, Western Australia closed its borders to international and interstate visitors, people were asked to avoid leaving their homes, and entire industries were forced to close.
Yet, in this time of adversity, we banded together and adhered to strict hygiene and social distancing regulations. This enabled the state to navigate through the pandemic and relax our restrictions much sooner than many other places. I have felt a sense of pride and gratitude to be a Western Australian during this time.
I am also proud of our dedicated employees, who responded quickly and effectively by implementing additional health and safety protocols to protect both frontline workers and customers. We rolled out alternative methods of delivering important services and in some instances, temporarily closed to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.
For Main Roads, work continued on our projects throughout the state with several major milestones being achieved. These included the opening of the Murdoch Drive Connection and completion of the Armadale Road Upgrade, NorthLink WA and the delivery of the Great Northern Highway – Ord River North project.
With restrictions now easing, WA is focused on economic recovery. The Transport Portfolio partners will play a leading role in revitalising the State’s economy through the delivery of infrastructure projects.
To achieve this, the Office of Major Transport Infrastructure Delivery (OMTID) was established as a new Portfolio office in May 2020. OMTID is responsible for delivering infrastructure projects valued at more than $100 million, and comprises teams from both PTA and Main Roads. This will enable a faster, more streamlined rollout of major infrastructure projects, including METRONET, to inject stimulus and create jobs.
Transport has been, and continues to be, a major focus of the State Government, with more than $8 billion of funding allocated to transport projects over the next four years. Furthermore, 24 road and maritime projects worth $140 million are being expedited to support the COVID-19 economic recovery through a new State-wide Construction Panel Contract. These projects are predicted to support more than 1,000 local jobs. Additionally, Main Roads is fast-tracking the tendering process for 11 major road projects worth $2.37 billion, estimated to support a further 13,000 jobs. Projects such as the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, Fremantle Traffic Bridge, Tonkin Highway Gap project and Mitchell Freeway extension will vastly improve connectivity and travel times. There has truly never been a better opportunity for the Portfolio to influence the future of our State and play a major role in our economic and social prosperity.
I would like to acknowledge Richard Sellers for his leadership as the Director General Transport until his secondment to lead the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation for 12 months in March this year.
I am proud of the achievements of the Portfolio. Connected and efficient transport networks and supply chains are critically important and I am honoured to be leading the Transport Portfolio at this time. I thank all employees for their hard work and commitment in delivering the best outcomes for our customers and the State.
For more examples of collaboration in action, you may be interested in reading our Connecting People and Places 2019-20 publication.
Given the way we have responded to the challenges of such an unusual year, I have confidence looking forward and believe that it will be a positive and exciting year for the Transport Portfolio and Western Australia.
Acting Commissioner of Main Roads