Projects which are expected to generate up to 14,000 construction jobs in Western Australia are expected to receive faster contracting processes as the government in that state pins its hopes on construction to stimulate economic recovery.

In its latest announcement, the Western Australian Government says it will establish a State-wide Construction Panel to streamline and expedite the awarding of transport related construction contracts worth less than $20 million.

The new panel will award work based on a new State-wide Construction Panel Contract that will include buying rules which are designed to minimise the cost of tendering for companies and maximise the spread of work among small and medium sized contracts.

All up, the government says contracts in respect of 24 projects worth a combined value of up to $140 million and generating more than 1,000 jobs will be brought forward under the project.

This is happening as Main Roads is also fast-tracking tendering processes for several large-scale road projects worth a combined total of $2.37 billion and generating around 13,000 construction jobs.

This includes the 27 kilometre Bunbury Outer Ring Road connecting the Forrest Highway to the Bussell Highway, the 5.6 kilometre extension of the Mitchell Freeway from Hester Avenue in Clarkson to Romeo Road in Alkimos, widening of the freeway from Hodges Drive to Hepburn Avenue and the $230 million replacement of the deteriorating Freemantle Traffic Bridge.

Premier Mark McGowan said major projects will be an important part of Western Australia’s economic recovery once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

“It’s important we do everything we can to support our local businesses, so they are in the best position to continue to employ West Australians,” McGowan said.

“These works will not only support and save local jobs, they will also provide much needed upgrades on road sites across the State.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the new fast-tracked process would help contractors through a difficult time.

“We understand the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on industry and are committed to working together to support local businesses and support local jobs,” Saffioti said.

“The proposed buying rules were underway prior to the current COVID-19 emergency, however given the current climate, they are being amended to further reduce tendering costs and provide more opportunities for local businesses to win Government contracts.

“This new panel will fast track major road and maritime infrastructure projects, worth up to $20 million, to support small and mid-tier businesses and save local jobs.”