To be informed of environmental, economic, cultural, political and social issues impacting us. Ensure our key sustainability aspects are considered within our decision.

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The Issue

It is important that we, as an organisation,  remain aware of the sustainability issues that are emerging or has the ability to contribute to or influence in some way. Our business and its operations directly impacts almost every community of Western Australia in some way. Every community will have different needs and issues, which emphasises the importance of the various parts of our operations, which interface with our communities, embracing the challenge of sustainability. Fundamental to this approach is defining our behaviours as a corporate citizen and the interplay this has with our Guiding Principles under Keeping WA Moving.

While it is important that we develop as an organisation that embraces sustainability, many of the sustainability challenges that we face or has influence over lie outside of our direct control. Therefore, it is important that our customers and industry are engaged and leveraged to develop initiatives that lead to overall benefits for sustainability.

We have many industry partners across many levels of industry both large and small. We spend in excess of $1.5b through our direct supply chain of 1,216 organisations. The influence of this group of companies, stakeholders and industry bodies for sustainable construction and beyond is greater than our self. Our industry partners make many commercial decisions to meet our requirements but which are outside of our direct control. Thus it continues to be of importance to work through our supply chain with meaningful dialogue with the purpose to create alignment with our respective goals for sustainability.

The way the community at large and business demand and consume travel influences overall outcomes for sustainability. The consumption of road space for travel often leads to the burden of congestion, contributes to the environmental footprint of the road network and can create adverse social impacts such as noise or community severance. It is important as part of the communication we have with the community at large that we promote the message of sustainability and raise awareness of an individual’s ability to contribute towards sustainable outcomes through the choices they make.


What we're doing

We have been building a culture that supports sustainability since it first rolled out its sustainability policy in 2006. We are continually working to build on our skills and knowledge aligned to our key aspects for sustainability. Some of the key activities that keep our people aware of sustainability challenges include:

  • Training of key staff in Infrastructure Sustainability.
  • Sustainability awareness program using corporate communications.
  • Our participation on external research and industry bodies such the World Roads Association, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia or Austroads working groups for topics such as Stakeholder Engagement, Maintenance, Workforce, Urban Design, Environment, Resilience and Climate Change.
  • Innovation and Research Program – We have licenced a fully functional innovation management platform from a leading vendor to enable us to better seek solutions to known problems and also to give employees a place to post their ideas and suggestions for improvement.
  • Direct support of sustainability at industry level through membership of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia and hosting the Western Infrastructure Sustainability Conference.

For details on how we embed sustainability within its procurement practices to encourage industry participation please refer to our Governance and Performance page.

Strategic Research

We undertake significant activity to develop and enhance our collective knowledge of economic, environmental and social topics. Additionally, we formally partner in a number of significant research groups/projects:

Austroads – Main Roads, along with the Commonwealth Government and the New Zealand, Australian State and Territory road agencies collectively own Austroads, which is the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies. Austroads undertakes leading-edge road and transport research which underpins input to policy development and results in published guidance on the design, construction and management of the road network and its associated infrastructure.  Austroads provides a collective approach that delivers value for money, encourages shared knowledge and drives consistency for road users. 

ARRB - provides research, consulting, products and information services to the road and transport industry. ARRB applies research outputs to develop equipment that collects road and traffic information, and software that assists with decision-making across road networks. ARRB is the leading provider of road research and best practice workshops in Australia.  Main Roads, along with the Commonwealth Government and the New Zealand, Australian State and Territory road agencies collectively own ARRB. ARRB and its members recognise the critical role that they play in supporting one another to improve productivity, safety, sustainability and amenity outcomes for the community

WA Road Research and Innovation Program -  is an agreement between ourselves and ARRB which includes the establishment of a Western Australia Road Research and Innovation Program (WARRIP) in pavements, asset management, structures and bituminous surfacing, investment in the technology and systems necessary to gain a better knowledge of the condition and capacity in our current and proposed assets, a close association of ARRB’s Pavements, Materials and Geotechnical resources with our Materials Engineering branch, increased collaboration with similar research centres in other states, including Austroads and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads’ National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACOE). 

PATREC - We are a partner to the Planning and Transport Research Centre.  The Centre (referred to as PATREC) is a collaborative program that was established in 2002 for the purposes of conducting collaborative research and teaching in the area of integrated land use and transport policy and planning.  PaTREC is a collaboration between The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University and is also supported by Transport and the Western Australian Planning Commission. 

Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) - is a key research broker between industry, government and research organisations for the built environment industry. Main Roads is a Core Member of the SBEnrc and benefits from this arrangement as Main Roads membership complements other member road agencies in NSW RMS and QTMR and complements the work of Austroads and Roads Australia, providing public leadership to encourage the private sector to be a part of industry development. Membership also entitles Main Roads to a nominee on the Governing Board. For information on the projects Main Roads is involved with, please download the 2016 SBEnrc Report Card.

Sustainable Procurement

We apply a number of policies to assist us develop a culture for sustainability through our supply chain and improve overall outcomes for sustainability.

The State Supply Commission Policy on sustainable procurement requires us to demonstrate that we have considered sustainability in our procurement of goods and services. However, we have gone beyond the requirements of this policy to reflect this not only in our processes for procuring goods and services but also in procuring works.  In addition, we apply the Buy Local Policy where we consider and give preference to local providers in our purchases as the benefits to industry development and employment are recognised. Buy Local Policy clauses are also included in all our tender documents and tender assessments.

We support the recent changes to the State Supply Commission’s Open and Effective Competition Policy which allows for exemptions to the minimum competitive tender requirements where there are opportunities to purchase from Australian Disability Enterprises and Registered Aboriginal Businesses. We have incorporated these policy changes into our business processes and are encouraging our people and our Contractors to support these organisations. These organisations are listed on the Aboriginal Business Directory and on the Australian Disability Enterprises websites.


The Numbers

Details of progress and achievements as part of our Sustainability Strategy can be found within our Annual Report.


Case Study

SBEnrc and Main Roads Research Opportunities Exchange Forum

To promote better research outcomes from the existing relationship between Main Roads and the Sustainable Built Environment National research centre (SBEnrc) a Research Opportunities Exchange forum has been undertaken. This forum was an opportunity for SBEnrc to highlight some newer areas of research capability in their networks across Curtin, Swinburne and Griffith Universities and for our staff to discuss ideas and opportunities for future research that are important to our business. Additionally, there was an explanation of the type of research that SBEnrc is able to undertake, typical timelines for projects and opportunities for attracting funding. Some of the main themes from the day included making better use of data, automating data sharing, network planning for tech-enabled transport and improving safety for road-workers.


Modified: 18 Jan 2019