Commissioner's Foreword

profile photo of Peter Woronzow

Peter Woronzow

Acting Commissioner of Main Roads

I am pleased to present Main Roads Western Australia’s 95th Annual Report. During the past year Main Roads, as part of the Transport Portfolio, continued to play a key role in connecting people and places, providing linkages between land and sea, moving freight, and providing essential services to the Western Australian community.

We are living in a time of unprecedented change, with technological, environmental and societal developments transforming the way we live and do business.

This year was no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to present not only us, but the world, with a unique and pressing challenge in cooperation, adaptability and resilience.

For this reason, innovation has been a core element of the past year’s strategic priorities and achievements. Our ability to harness technological opportunities, adapt to change and deliver our projects sustainably has been key to achieving our portfolio vision of providing integrated transport solutions and services accessible to everyone.

In addition, the severe weather events we’ve experienced over the past 12 months have been challenging – with devastating bushfires and cyclones damaging the state, at times concurrently – our responsive and coordinated efforts have kept communities connected and safe.

I’m pleased with how we are working together to face these obstacles, evidenced through the many successful outcomes and initiatives we profile in this report and throughout the 2020-21 Connecting People and Places document.

While it has been an incredibly testing year, through all the challenges there are indeed opportunities going forward. Billions of dollars are being invested into projects which have been brought forward to provide job creation now when the state’s economy needs it the most.

During its first year of operation the Office of Major Transport Infrastructure Delivery, comprising teams from both the Public Transport Authority and Main Roads, has enabled a faster, more streamlined rollout of major infrastructure projects, including METRONET, to inject stimulus and create jobs.

As we enter an unparalleled era of infrastructure construction – with transport projects accounting for almost half of the State’s Asset Investment Program – it is essential a skilled workforce is in place to help deliver this record pipeline of works.

To increase opportunities for jobseekers to be part of our transport infrastructure boom, the new Infrastructure Ready TAFE program has been established.

Developed in partnership with industry and key training departments the program gives graduates the job-ready skills they need to be immediately employable on our major infrastructure projects – and it’s working.

To date 54 per cent of the people who completed the course have been employed in a civil infrastructure business working on our state’s road and rail projects.

Another transformational, job-creating initiative progressed during the year is the Westport project.

In 2020-21, the State Government announced Western Australia’s future container port will be in built in Kwinana, after the Westport Independent Taskforce comprehensively assessed 28 different options and the program progressed from Stage 2B to 3. The new container port in Kwinana will unlock Western Australia’s economic growth, deliver local jobs and opportunities in our southern suburbs and support the evolution of Fremantle.

Despite the changing fabric of Western Australia, the fundamentals of our transport system remain – it is the ultimate social enabler for people from all backgrounds and of all abilities.

Our road network is a vital part of this mix, with our investment program spanning from the Great Southern to the Kimberley and out to the state’s borders.

Doug has highlighted many of these significant projects in his review but projects such as Smart Freeways, sealing of the Broome Cape Leveque Road, opening of Manuwarra Red Dog Highway and the Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road interchange make a huge difference in improving efficiency and safety along some of our state’s most important corridors.

These projects will transform our regional and metropolitan roads and the benefits will flow onto individuals, businesses and the Western Australian economy for years to come.

Representing one of the world’s most expansive road networks, we are committed to working cooperatively and productively across all levels of government, to ensure our road network remains safe and meets the needs of the community, industry and stakeholders.

By July 2022, up to 7,000 kilometres of regional roads will be upgraded across the state under the Regional Road Safety Upgrades program. In the last year we saw improvements to more than 4,300 kilometres of these roads.

The $455 million commitment from State and Federal Government will continue to see the fast roll-out of lifesaving works on rural and regional roads significantly improving road user safety and helping to reduce road trauma through the installation of various road treatments and upgrades.

We know investment drives opportunities for all Western Australians, but it also allows us to focus effort on things that are very important to Main Roads and the Transport Portfolio – the customers and travellers who form our community– the people of Western Australia.

We strive to engage Aboriginal communities and provide a pathway for Aboriginal business to help shape the future of transport in Western Australia. Leading the way is our Aboriginal participation team who help facilitate increased participation in our projects and maintenance contracts. The team is charged with developing effective strategies to provide opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, suppliers and people across the state.

We are focussed on enhancing the wellbeing of Aboriginal people through increased employment and training opportunities and have been proactively changing our policies, processes and working arrangements to ensure we make a difference within our industry.

Main Roads is set to be one of the first agencies to meet the State Government’s requirement for a set percentage of annual contracts to be awarded to registered Aboriginal businesses. Our commitment to supporting Aboriginal participation and engagement has seen us purchase more than $75 million of services through Aboriginal owned businesses and achieve just under nine per cent of Aboriginal participation on our worksites.

Whether it’s actively recruiting youth and indigenous people, installing and monitoring artificial hollows for Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos or using recycled construction and demolition materials in our projects, it’s clear the true measure of our success is not weighted on construction alone, but on our willingness and ability to give back to the communities in which we operate and live.

More than $6.5 billion has been committed to major infrastructure projects over the next two years, and with $280 million anticipated to be spent on transport portfolio works monthly, we have certainly been entrusted with a great responsibility.

While I don’t underestimate the magnitude, I have every confidence we have the people, systems and most importantly the energy and goodwill to help government achieve its agenda. I look forward to what I’m sure will be another productive year for transport in Western Australia. 

Peter Woronzow
Acting Commissioner of Main Roads