26 September 2023

Road maintenance plan to drive employment

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A total of 660 permanent jobs are expected to be created within Main Roads to return responsibility for road maintenance to public control.

Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti said that, in 1985, Main Roads employed 2,605 people, however, throughout the 1990s road maintenance was contracted out to the point that, by 2001, its employees had dropped to 819.

“This had a direct impact on regional towns, with Main Roads losing the ability to train local regional people and employ local workers,” Ms Saffioti said.

“It also saw the State Government lose control of assets and in-house expertise, as Main Roads was no longer an ‘informed purchaser’ for many of the services it procured,” she said.

Ms Saffioti said a detailed analysis in 2021 concluded that an in-house delivery model would drive jobs and economic growth in the regions; enhance Aboriginal employment; improve education uptake; and increase the capacity and capability of Main Roads.

“It also found the in-house model of delivery would save more than $25 million a year, producing major economic benefits and increased employment opportunities for regional Western Australia,” she said.

“Road workers employed directly by Main Roads will receive better pay and conditions, including increased paid leave and long service leave after seven years, as well as additional training opportunities.”

The Minister said Aboriginal participation would improve, as Main Roads would be able to engage directly with Aboriginal people and businesses to build on previous successes.

“This will also mean four new offices and depots being established in regional WA, including Manjimup, Esperance, Karratha and Broome, while existing depots and offices will be expanded and improved,” she said.

“Existing workers employed by the contractors will be offered direct employment with Main Roads, with their previous service recognised for long service leave and parental leave purposes, and a transition team is being established in Main Roads to facilitate this,” Ms Saffioti said.

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