The impacts of COVID-19 can be felt across all sectors and regions in Victoria, as we continue to advocate for the use of Victorian goods and services on construction and infrastructure projects.

As the project pipeline continues to grow, so does the need for participation from Victoria’s local industry. A list of current strategic projects across the different regions can be found here.

We are seeing an increasing number of projects focussed on regional areas that will enable opportunities for regional builders and suppliers within those areas to participate in government procurement.

The Local Jobs First Commissioner has been actively meeting with project managers to encourage the use of regional builders and suppliers, particularly on regionally based projects where applicable.

Bringing construction and infrastructure opportunities to the regions creates a flow-on effect for local communities, providing work as well as training opportunities for cadets, apprentices and trainees.

Through the Major Projects Skills Guarantee (MPSG), all construction projects valued at over twenty million dollars are required to use Victorian apprentices, trainees, or cadets for at least ten percent of the total estimated labour hours.

This ongoing investment in the next generation of workers will increase workforce capabilities and equip them with the skills they need.

Construction and infrastructure projects in regional Victoria are a vital component of the project pipeline as it enables metropolitan and regional suppliers to come together and work collaboratively.

It is pleasing to see that government agencies are now considering different strategies for incorporating the use of regionally based businesses on large-scale projects.

Most recently, we have seen major contractors’ breakdown large-scale project work packages into smaller packages to enable more opportunities for regionally based businesses to participate in those projects.

Furthermore, there has been a consistent effort to collaborate with the Industry Capability Network (ICN) Victoria to gain a better understanding of the local landscape and availability of regional builders and suppliers, prior to commencing with the project development phase.

The Local Jobs First policy not only provides local industry with opportunities to participate in government procurement, it is also providing a platform for different parts of the supply chain and sectors to work collaboratively and learn from each other.

If you are an agency, we would strongly encourage you to include consideration for regional engagement during the tender phase of a project. Metropolitan builders are also encouraged to include a strategy for regional engagement during both the tender and project implementation phase.

The Local Jobs First Commissioner and Office will continue to advocate on behalf of Victoria’s local industry, enabling more opportunities for local businesses based in regional Victoria to participate in government procurement.