COVID-19 Recovery: A 9-Point Plan
The peak body of the engineering profession is Engineers Australia. Of about 100,000 individual members, they are a professional association. Founded in 1919, Engineers Australia is a non-profit organization established by the Royal Charter to promote engineering research and practice for the community’s benefit. All countries, all industries and every occupation have been challenged by COVID-19. Hopefully, it has been experts in all areas of operation that governments and societies have looked to for advice and strategies. In support of Australia’s efforts to achieve widespread economic recovery, engineers have been part of the healthcare response and are also ready to put their skills to bear. This COVID-19 Recovery: A 9-Point Plan lays out main success criteria.
The COVID-19 Recovery: A 9-Point Plan is mentioned below:
Tackle the urgent need for jobs
- Maintain focus on infrastructure projects
This is the another plan among COVID-19 Recovery: A 9-Point Plan. Shovel-ready projects are a priority because construction is a labor-intensive sector that can, if prioritized, offset the drastic drop in market demand caused by significant job losses across the economy. To build new job opportunities in metropolitan and regional communities, identifying and implementing shovel-ready projects is crucial.
Before the first shovel is used, each construction project is followed by a long design process that employs thousands of engineers and allied professionals. Public and private sector projects should maintain a focus on the design process in order to ensure that there is a secure pipeline of construction work and to ensure the continuity of jobs for professionals in Australia. Without that concentration, jobs are at risk for design engineers who underpin and allow the construction phases.
Commonwealth, state and territorial infrastructure should now, more than ever, advance development and construction pipelines toward long-term proposals that cross electoral cycles. Infrastructure Australia’s planning process and related state-focused agencies offer project pipeline recommendations with an overall value to the community and, when applied, help the economy with current employment and long-term community benefits.
- Protect current assets with maintenance
Infrastructure maintenance programs of all kinds are often confined to new ‘announceable’ projects, but maintenance is necessary for good asset management and optimum value extraction from investments. Of particular interest in the recovery process of COVID-19 i.e. COVID-19 Recovery: A 9-Point Plan, maintenance frequently involves relatively short timeframes for preparation and often uses a large mix of skilled and unskilled staff.
- Safeguard people’s well-being
Forced separation to protect physical health has had a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of those in the group, and the economic stress that has ensued. A variety of steps, such as debt reduction, ensuring that mental health support services have the resources to deal with increased demand, and investing in community housing to benefit those most vulnerable, should be introduced by governments at all levels. For community structure and mental well-being, preserving vibrant cultural facilities, such as the arts, restaurants, entertainment and sport, are important. These sectors are some of the most severely impacted by the COVID-19 health response, and their recovery is vital for the well-being of both the economy and the society.
- Invest in local communities
Owing to the closure of lucrative services and the deferral of charges usually applicable to residents and rate payers, many local authorities have undergone substantial revenue declines.
Leverage existing structures to safeguard the recovery
- Providing excellent contract, procurement and payment procedures
Project owners from the government and private sector are called upon to ensure that delays due to COVID-19 will not incur fines, compensation or result in contract termination. It is important to consider how to handle pandemics in force majeure clauses and to provide guidance on alternative procedures. Engineers Australia encourages greater use of panel contracts and prequalification of suppliers in order to reduce time and expense while providing ethical and fair treatment of participants and to ensure accountability and transparency in procurement operations. This will speed up shovel ready projects, maintenance programs and phases of design.
Clients need to pay invoices on time to get money circulating in the economy more efficiently. It is important to support legislation guaranteeing the protection of payment, taking account of the need for flexibility and support if companies are in demonstrable financial distress.
- Building the next generation of experts
In order to ensure that undergraduate engineering students continue to be involved with workplace activities, Engineers Australia supports education providers and industry; this is an integral component of their education. Graduations will be postponed without extra assistance for students, and the supply pipeline for the workforce will be interrupted. Industry is strongly encouraged to continue to recruit new graduate engineers in order to reduce the possibility in future years of a debilitating shortage of mid-career engineers.
Adjust to the new normal
- Resilient Australia
Governments should endorse steps to strengthen the capabilities of Australian producers in response to global supply chain disruptions. Implementing ‘buy local’ strategies would assist domestic suppliers in the procurement process in the short term. However, there is a need for a holistic industry strategy focusing on: strategic participation in international rule-setting groups, such as international standards bodies; support for the growth of established manufacturing industries; and development of on-shore manufacturing and material procurement capabilities. Together, they would revitalize the domestic economy and boost the sustainability of the supply chain.
- Australia, the country of innovation
A rethink of the way Australians live, work and interact has been forced by COVID-19. In industries and societies everywhere, it has needed a rapid response and adaptation. There is an opportunity for governments and the private sector to invest in, and to do so with a ‘start-up mentality’ that is less limited by analysis paralysis, in research and development and new technologies, industries and professions. This is particularly critical in terms of capitalizing on the global transition to a low-carbon future. An enhanced emphasis on imagination is an opportunity to rapidly control the sort of solutions that will build competitive businesses and economically resilient societies.
Weak supply chain resilience and energy supply uncertainty, for example, provide an opportunity to speed up action to reshape the domestic manufacturing sector and to speed up the testing of new energy system technologies and to increase the delivery of existing renewable energy systems. And more than ever, it is important to have a stable, high-speed, low-latency communication network that stretches from the cities to the regions.
- Acting flexibly is working!
Through greater dependence on technology and a transition to a workforce that operated remotely from the workplace, COVID-19 needed swift adaptation. Flexible job practices have been a long-standing obstacle to higher levels of female involvement in the workforce because statistics show that they remain the primary care provider in households. The transformation forced by COVID-19 makes it possible to understand how technology and flexible working arrangements can be incorporated as a mainstream norm and provide for greater long-term engagement of the workforce.