Page 1


nicola Grayson

Climate Change and Green Building Liabilities



MATTHEW KING Fringe Benefits Tax on Child Care


caroline ostrowski

Raising Education Levels to Enhance National Productivity



Federal Government to Build National Broadband Network


Thriving in a Risky World

Contents Winter 2009











From the President


From the CEO


Industry News


State News


Practice & Procurement


Contracts & Liability




Thriving in a Risky World


Economics & Taxation


Skills & Resources






Ask a Lawyer


WINTER 09 National Outlook



from the president Paul Reed is the President of the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia and WA Regional Director for consulting engineering firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia

JUNE 2009 As I write this, it seems that there are the early signs of recovery in the global economy. Having said this, however, it is still early days and I am sure all our member firms continue to suffer the consequences of the Global Financial Crisis. The Government is actively rolling out its stimulus package initiatives that are primarily designed to create jobs, generate demand for materials and keep money flowing in the economy. ACEA has been working to ensure Governments across the country recognise that delivering projects using established designs and limited up-front planning is not necessarily the best way to create long term value from these investments. However, direct from the Prime Minister, time is of the essence in relation to stimulating the economy and as such the industry is required to respond accordingly. Through the efforts of the ACEA State Divisions a number of our member firms are involved in these stimulus package driven projects and it can be expected that this number will increase over time. In parallel with the allocation of funding to address the GFC, the Federal Government continues to progress its program of funding for Nation Building Projects under the Building Australia Fund. In this case the process is moving much more slowly with the individual projects in many cases being likely to take considerably more time to progress through the planning and other approvals stages to reach a construction ready status. ACEA has

and will continue to push for more rapid progress in these major projects, many of which are designed to improve the ability of the Australian economy to capitalise on recovery of global markets. While ACEA is supportive of the robust process of project identification and business case development, the time taken to produce adequate justification for projects eventually selected for allocation of BAF funding illustrates the lack of long-term, co-ordinated forward planning that exists across all Governments in Australia. The ACEA, along with many others, is voicing concerns at the lack of strategic plans for development of our economy and the infrastructure needed to support such developments. As a country, we cannot continue to be reactive in planning our infrastructure. The past 5 years has illustrated this through the major constraints experienced in meeting export demand. This is further displayed through the tortuous approvals processes that have to be negotiated by proponents, often from a first principles basis. Adequate forward planning and selection of future development sites creates community expectations as well as allowing time consuming studies to be carried out ahead of the need for project implementation.

Above all, this area requires vision and leadership. ACEA believes that the creation of IA is an important first step in developing longer term strategic planning but it is not the panacea for overcoming the challenges ahead. There is a need for collaboration and agreement across jurisdictions to ensure necessary developments are given appropriate priorities to ensure they can be implemented efficiently and effectively when required.

Paul Reed ACEA President

National Outlook Editor Julia Lemercier Sub-editor Nicole Brown Advertising Enquiries Showcase Publications (02) 9211 7422

National Outlook is produced by the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA). Phone: (02) 9922 4711. Website:

President Paul Reed Chief Executive Megan Motto National Operations Manager Julia Lemercier National Policy Manager Nicola Grayson Policy Officer Matthew King Policy Officer Caroline Ostrowski Policy Officer Neil Bassett Education & Training Officer Anjela Currie Education & Training Assistant Daniel Condon Events Manager Nicole Brown Designer Hugh Peinke Business Relationship Manager Benjamin Jung Finance & Membership Coordinator Sylvia Suen Executive Assistant (CEO & Policy) Kerri Clifford Executive Assistant (Operations) Leena Moorjani Immigration Officer Svetlana McNeil Editorial Submissions GPO Box 56, Sydney NSW 2001 National Outlook Š 2009. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, internet or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication.

This Magazine has been printed with Vegetable Based Inks using Certified Environmental Management System ISO 14001, on Monza Recycled Satin made from FSC mixed source certified and 55% recycled, 30% post-consumer & FSC pulp.


National Outlook WINTER 09

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from the ceo Megan Motto is Chief Executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia.

JUNE 2009 Given the current GFC, the question that I am most asked in interviews with journalists and policy makers is “are consulting engineering firms making redundancies and does this mean the engineering skills shortage is over?” My answer to this somewhat loaded question is yes and no…whilst I understand that some firms are reporting some targeted redundancies, overall the need for a continued supply of high quality engineers from Australian universities is just as critical as ever. Firstly, the shortage of engineers is systemic, global and worsening due to demographic trends. Western civilisations are moving away from maths and science and towards humanities, and unless this trend is reversed in Australia, we will see a power shift over time as we are less able to compete in the new knowledge services economies. Furthermore, even if we maintained or improved our engineering graduate rates, they would not be nearly able to fill the gaps made by retirements over the next 5 years. Secondly, engineers will be critical to both short term recovery (someone has got to design,


National Outlook WINTER 09

manage and maintain Australia’s infrastructure spend and other political initiatives such as external auditing to underpin the carbon pollution reduction scheme etc) as well as long term prosperity through exporting engineering services and innovation through design. Some may argue that we lose too many engineers to non-engineering related sectors like banking and finance, however I would argue that this is actually a good thing, and rather than arguing about getting a bigger slice of the engineering graduate pie in the built environment consulting sector, we should be working to increase the size of the pie. Engineers are valued across many sectors of the economy and that should be encouraged…for the benefit of a more connected and integrated society and also to accommodate the varied career path aspirations of the younger generations. ACEA remains committed to working with other engineering organisations and government to develop a National Engineering Skills Strategy, to address the long term productivity gains and innovation that can be achieved through increased engineering skills in Australia. Importantly, an immediate imperative is controlling any leakage of good engineering skills in the current contracted environment. More on this issue is contained on page 10, and

more will come over the coming weeks. Firms will need to be critically aware of the changing economic environment over the months ahead, but they will also need to have a good understanding of the outlook for the industry over the next few years to assess ongoing resourcing and business development. To this end ACEA has prepared our Outlook for Consulting Engineering report, which quantifies the size and state of the industry as well as trends in key markets over the next few years. Finally, I would encourage members to consider attending the FIDIC (International Federation of Engineering Consultants) Conference in London in September. This will be a great opportunity to assess the impacts of the GFC with our international counterparts and collectively develop some ideas and actions to put to governments around the globe, suggesting how engineering innovation can assist a more speedy recovery.

Megan Motto Chief Executive

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Brifen WRSB (wire rope safety barrier) is a wellestablished product with an impeccable 40-year history of development and performance. Depending on the job specification, Brifen offers fences to suit a range of situations: Brifen EN1317 TB32 fence (suits specifications in NSW for 1,500kg vehicle) Brifen NCHRP350 TL3 fence (suits specifications in all states for 2,000kg vehicle) Brifen NCHRP350 TL4 fence (suits specifications in all states for 8,000kg truck) Brifen EN1317 H1 fence (suits specifications for 10,000kg truck) Brifen fences have been involved in road safety in Australia since 1991. Now a new generation of Brifen fence is being developed to meet new specifications and more demanding requirements for wire rope barriers from road authorities in the US and Europe. The FHWA in the USA withdrew NCHRP350 and moved on to MASH08 on 1 January 2009 with a 2-year transition period to 31 December 2010. All safety fence products will need to be retested in order to meet the new standards. Most will need to be redesigned to meet the MASH08 requirements. Brifen has started on that road already with extensive computer modelling of the post-rope interaction completed; full scale crash testing has started on several post designs to verify the computer simulations. Once a final design has been chosen the development trials and the final testing will be carried out before end of year. Most wire rope fences are adequate for containment and redirection of wayward vehicles in ideal situations such flat straight roads with wide medians. Brifen excels at both containment and low deflection performance in more critical and restricted locations. Brifen’s mechanical advantage is gained through the unique interweaving of the ropes between the posts. It is this interweaving of the ropes that has given Brifen the benefit of increased post-rope interaction that enables the more efficient dissipation of energy from the impacting vehicle. The MASH08 requirements are for heavier vehicles for all test levels, and for a more logical set of impact angles in the tests. At the same time the MASH08 standard set out guidelines of the fence to be tested such that all fences will be tested in a uniform method and manner. These new fences are primarily for the US market, which is a significantly larger market than the Australian market. It will be another 12 months before the approved fence designs are available for submission to Ausralian road authorities. T. +61 89284 1555

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industry news

THE TENIX GROUP HAS APPOINTED FORMER LEND LEASE EXECUTIVE ROSS TAYLOR AS MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER TENIX GROUP CHAIRMAN, PAUL SALTERI HAS ANNOUNCED MR TAYLOR’S APPOINTMENT, MADE FOLLOWING AN INTERNATIONAL SEARCH. ACCORDING TO MR SALTERI, “ROSS TAYLOR’S SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE MAKE HIM THE IDEAL PERSON TO LEAD TENIX INTO ITS NEXT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT.” Tenix has just come through a year of change and re-focus following the sales of its defence-related businesses. The decision to exit defence activities was made in 2007 following a strategic review that identified that future growth opportunities for the defence businesses would be maximised when combined with the operations, scale and market strengths of leading companies with a global focus.


“The focus of the Tenix Group is now very much on providing services to infrastructure owners and we were looking for a new leader with broadly based skills and experience built on a strong engineering background”, said Mr Salteri. A civil engineer with a first class Honours degree, Mr Taylor first joined Lend Lease as a site manager in 1985. In his 23 years with the company Mr Taylor took on many roles including heading their Asia Pacific, Global Construction and Global Retail & Communities divisions. His career with Lend Lease culminated with his appointment as Chief Operating Officer in 2007. “Tenix is looking forward to welcoming Mr Taylor when he takes up his new position on 20 April 2009”, said Mr Salteri. Current Tenix Managing Director and CEO, Greg Hayes announced his resignation last November after key divestment transactions were completed. Mr Salteri has expressed his gratitude to Greg for the pivotal role he played in leading the company through the transformation. Tenix Group


The ACEA team is delighted to have a new Business Relationship Manager, Benjamin Jung on board at National Office. Benjamin has come from a corporate and media partnership background, having worked in Sydney and Melbourne on high profile corporate and marketing events. His experience provides new opportunities for creating investment, partnership channels and marketing value for sponsors and members alike.

FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF LAST YEAR’S BUILT ENVIRONMENT MEETS PARLIAMENT (BEMP), THE ACEA, THE PROPERTY COUNCIL, THE GREEN BUILDINGS COUNCIL, THE AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS AND THE PLANNING INSTITUTE WILL BE HOSTING THE EVENT AGAIN THIS YEAR AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN CANBERRA. BEMP is an annual conversation between parliamentarians and industry leaders that showcases the relationship between Australian communities and their built environment. BEMP offers an opportunity to explore the economic, social, environmental and governance issues that help shape national prosperity. This year BEMP will take place on the evening of Tuesday 11 August, commencing with a dinner at Parliament House, followed by the Summit on Wednesday 12 August 2009. Nicola Grayson


National Outlook WINTER 09

CLEARING HOUSE FOR SMALL BUSINESS BANKING COMPLAINTS DO YOU THINK YOU’VE BEEN UNJUSTLY DENIED SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING? ACCESS THE COMPLAINTS CLEARING HOUSE THROUGH THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT. The Commonwealth Small Business Minister, Dr Craig Emerson, has established a Small Business Complaints Clearing House. The Minister established this service following feedback that some small businesses feel that they have been unjustifiably denied finance, or that the terms and conditions of the finance are unjustifiably harsh. The Minister’s office invite small businesses to send through complaints about access to and cost of bank finance and will pass them on to the Australian Bankers’ Association which will, in turn, refer them to senior management in the relevant banks for action and follow up. Not all complaints will be upheld; the banks reserve the right not to make loans to businesses that they consider to be too risky. But at least senior management will review decisions taken at the local branch level. Complaints should be mailed to: A business loan finder is also available through the website to assist in finding the right kind of finance to suit small business. The business loan finder will help to locate and compare the range of business loan options that may be available. Nicola Grayson

industry news

SEMF FLEXES ENVIRONMENTAL MUSCLE TO BETTER MEET THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES’ NEEDS OF ITS NSW CUSTOMERS, NATIONAL CONSULTING ENGINEER AND ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS COMPANY, SEMF, HAS ACQUIRED EARTH AIR WATER (EAW). The Sydney-based business has been providing environmental and geotechnical services to corporations, developers, heavy industrial, mining and infrastructure companies, builders, earth movers and home owners for over thirty years.

Dr McCambridge says in keeping with SEMF’s multi-disciplinary approach to service delivery, EAW also carries the full complement of professionals in-house – environmental and geotechnical engineers, geologists, as well as environmental chemists and scientists.

EAW’s broad suite of environmental services includes everything from site contamination assessments and remediation to flora and fauna investigations, contaminant transport modelling and oil spill mitigation.

“Having our specialists under one roof enables us to better meet the diverse requirements of our clients and ensures the teams we assemble comprise the best possible professionals, enabling us to deliver our projects on time and within budget.”

According to SEMF’s Environmental and Infrastructure Services (EIS) National Manager, John McCambridge, EAW’s environmental services significantly enhance those provided by SEMF nationally, while the new acquisition’s specialist geotechnical services add another bow to the organisation’s rapidly expanding number of services. “It enables us to get into the area of preconstruction investigations for foundation design, certification of earth works, slope stability, rock and soil mechanics, foundation failure investigations, forensic engineering investigations and dam design and construction.

The former EAW CEO, Warren Newell, will head up the geotechnical team at SEMF providing high level geotechnical advice. SEMF

Dr McCambridge says SEMF is now working closely with similar companies in Victoria and Queensland, which is significantly expanding the organisation’s ability to more effectively deliver environmental and infrastructure solutions on both a state and national level. “It allows us to bring together project teams as and when required.” EAW’s environmental division head, Sharon Makin, will now become sector manager for SEMF’s EIS division in NSW. She brings over 20 years experience in the environmental field.

“These new services further strengthen our ability to provide a complete solution - from the early stages of project development through to construction and commissioning.”

WINTER 09 National Outlook


industry news

SALARY INCREASES FOR OVERSEAS WORKERS FROM 1 JULY 2009 TWO IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE SALARY REQUIREMENTS OF ALL WORKERS ON 457 VISAS WILL BE INTRODUCED IN JULY AND SEPTEMBER. HAVE YOU FACTORED THEM INTO YOUR SALARY PLANNING? MINIMUM SALARY LEVEL On 1 July 2009, the Minimum Salary Level requirement for all new and existing 457 visa holders will increase by 4.1%. If you employ a person on a 457 Temporary Long Stay Business Visa, then you will already be aware of the Minimum Salary Level (MSL) requirement. Currently, the MSL in metropolitan areas is $43,440 or $59,480 for information communications technology positions. In regional areas, the MSL is 90% of the metropolitan amount. Employers must pay 457 workers either the MSL or as per the industrial instrument (such as an award or collective agreement) relevant to the position - whichever is the higher.

The MSL is calculated for a 38 - hour week and all workers must be paid the MSL even if they work less than 38 hours in a week. Workers who work for more than 38 hours must be paid a pro-rata additional amount for their additional hours. More information is at: www.immi. If you already employ a 457 worker, then you will also know about your obligations to comply with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s monitoring of salary payments. Many 457 holders in engineering profession are paid above the MSL, but if you are paying the MSL only, please note that you will need to increase your 457 visa holder’s salary by 4.1% on 1 July 2009. For example, if you are employing an engineer in a metropolitan area and you are paying the current MSL ($43,440) you will need to increase this salary to $45,221 as of 1 July 2009. This is applicable to all existing and new 457 visa holders. If the engineer is employed within a regional area the salary must be equivalent to 90% of $45,221 as a minimum.

MARKET BASED MINIMUM SALARY In September 2009, a market based minimum salary will be introduced for all new and existing 457 visa holders. The market based minimum salary level will be introduced to bring 457 holders into line with Australian workers’ wages and conditions. The ACEA will provide more information on this as it becomes available through their skilled migration adviser. These changes are two of seven measures to improve the integrity of the 457 program. The full announcement of changes is at: media/media-releases/2009/ce09034.htm For more information, contact the ACEA’s skilled migration adviser, Svetlana McNeil at or on 0466 150 022. Caroline Ostrowski


The other concern that has and will continue to attract alterations to the Scheme is the slow-down in the Australian economy in the wake of the global financial crisis. Although the Government have acknowledged that the global financial crisis has not diminished the need for a flexible and responsive skilled migration system, particularly for industries such as consulting engineering where there is still a demonstrated skills shortage, there is pressure to restore public confidence in the program. The changes to the skilled migration 8

National Outlook WINTER 09

As many of the ACEA’s members are aware, free migration advice has been a part of the ACEA’s suite of member services since 2005. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship have helped the ACEA support its members by outposting an officer from the Department to the ACEA National Office in order to help members navigate the many and ever changing rules relating to the application process and related sponsorship obligations. The ACEA’s members have hailed the success of the scheme thus far, and the ACEA’s industry outreach officer has always remained extremely busy. In light of the success of the outreach program, the ACEA are pleased to announce

that the Department has now extended the program from a three day per week to four day per week program, offering members better access to the ACEA’s Skilled Migration Adviser who’s primary role is to help employers identify and access migration opportunities to fill skilled job vacancies. Svetlana McNeil was officially appointed to the role in March of this year and comes to the ACEA with over ten years experience with the Department and immigration matters. Svetlana is on hand to provide ACEA member firms with information and advice on visa options for temporary or permanent residents, immigration policy and sponsorship processing issues. If you are experiencing difficulty with the skilled migration process, or have questions regarding skilled migration please contact Svetlana McNeil on or on 0466 150 022. Caroline Ostrowski


Course Dates Brisbane:

2 - 3 July


6 - 7 August


20 - 21 August

Melbourne: 22 - 23 October Perth:

19 - 20 November

You will learn how to

One of the most challenging and often stressful roles a manager faces is how to manage people. We all want to get it right and do the best by our teams. Knowing what action to take and when is one of the most important skills a manager can learn. This course has been developed to give you the practical day to day people management tools that will make your role as a manager less stressful!

Hire the right person for the right role The benefits & value of inducting employees Setting clear performance goals early Managing performance and expectations Understanding your management and conflict style Giving effective feedback How to avoid conflict How to deal with difficult employees How to have those tough conversations What happens when the relationship ends? Dealing with resignations, redundancies and terminations

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For more information or to register please contact Daniel Condon at the ACEA National Office,

industry news

A NATIONAL SKILLS STRATEGY FOR THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION THE ACEA HAVE FORMED AN ALLIANCE WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS, SCIENTISTS AND MANAGERS AUSTRALIA (APESMA), ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA (EA) THE AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF ENGINEERING DEANS (ACED) AND THE AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF TECHNOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING (ATSE). The Alliance will partner with Government to employ a national strategy that recognises the ongoing shortage of engineers; realises the consequences for national productivity and competitiveness and formulates specific solutions to increase the quality and quantity of engineering graduates. The ACEA’s 2008 Skills Survey results revealed that two-thirds of engineering consultancy firms across Australia delayed projects last year because of staff shortages. While the financial downturn has slackened skills demand in sectors such as commodities, the ACEA’s 2008 survey also showed civil and structural engineering firms were the worst affected by skills shortages. These are the firms relied on to deliver the bulk of the Government’s national priority projects. A shortage of engineering skills will compromise state governments’ ability to get infrastructure money into the economy quickly to create jobs. Equally concerning are the quality deficits and cost blow-outs that will occur if projects commence according to schedule without being properly planned.


National Outlook WINTER 09

Infrastructure Australia has already been forced to delay the release of its national priority list because of the poor standard of some proposals. Poor performance in the next stage of project scoping will seriously jeopardise the quality of government’s infrastructure investment and the market’s ability to deliver a return. More positively, the crucial role engineering skills play in getting-up major nation building projects means investment in engineering skills is investment in job creation. In the transport sector for example, some 84 jobs are created and supported by one professional engineer’s design and project management role. A National Engineering Skills Strategy will recognise the crucial job-multiplying role of engineers and the necessity of engineering skills for major nation building projects. Our alliance proposes that government supports the creation of a comprehensive, long-term plan for Australia’s engineering profession.

Informed by accurate data, the National Strategy will quantify the contribution and wealth creating role of engineers within Australia’s domestic and export economy. It will provide a timetabled map linking education innovation to the attraction and retention of people to the engineering profession, steered by industry demand. Caroline Ostrowski



THE PATHWAY TO SELECT AN INSURANCE BROKER JUST GOT EASIER YOUR BENEFITS ACEA took the hassle away by selecting a committed and expert panel of brokers to serve the interests of ACEA member firms with their insurance needs. It puts you in control by offering you appropriate coverage for your specific business requirements by brokers who want to help you find the right coverage and who understand your business. Why settle for the same broker? Have you foregone coverage for cheaper premiums? Whoever you are and whatever your budget, ACEA PI Pathway promises you dependable cover that will keep you feeling safe.

• Access to reputable and experienced insurance brokers • Comprehensive terms and rates


• Offers based on price, cover and service • Tailored products to individual members • Greater choice for members through the availability of one or more quotes


• Claims management, contract reviews and risk management services • Your questions answered: access to information on a broad range of issues relating to PI insurance.

To get a quote please visit:

ACEA’s PI Insurance Pathway gives ACEA members access to the PI market through a Panel of Brokers selected by ACEA. ACEA is providing a referral service only and is not providing any form of financial advice or offering a financial product. ACEA does not guarantee the value, price and terms of cover that may be received from any member of the Panel of Brokers. Any agreement entered into through use of the PI Insurance Pathway will be expressly between the Panel Broker and the ACEA member firm.


industry news

AFRICON, CONNELL WAGNER AND NINHAM SHAND ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF A NEW GLOBAL GROUP 16 MARCH 2009: CONNELL WAGNER PTY LTD, ONE OF ASIA PACIFIC’S LARGEST AND MOST EXPERIENCED MULTI-DISCIPLINARY INFRASTRUCTURE CONSULTING COMPANIES, AFRICON PTY LTD, SOUTH AFRICA’S LARGEST PRIVATELY OWNED INFRASTRUCTURE CONSULTANCY, AND NINHAM SHAND PTY LTD, ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST ESTABLISHED ENGINEERING AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANCIES, HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THEY HAVE COME TOGETHER TO FORM A NEW MULTI-DISCIPLINARY GLOBAL GROUP. The newly created group, called Aurecon, will provide professional technical services on large scale integrated infrastructure projects to clients across Europe, Middle East and Africa (AME) and Asia Pacific (APAC). Given the geographical reach of Aurecon’s operations, the global group will be headquartered in Singapore and employ over 6,700 people across 87 offices in 28 countries. It is anticipated that Aurecon will rank in the top 60 global consulting firms based on the anticipated combined revenues of the combined businesses.

Paul Hardy, previously CEO and Chairman of Connell Wagner, has been appointed Aurecon’s Global CEO and the former non-executive Chairman of Africon, Professor Jakes Gerwel, will be Aurecon’s non-executive Global Chairman. Dr Gustav Rohde, previously CEO of Africon, and Arnie Möhr, past Managing Director of Ninham Shand, will assume the roles of CEO AME and Deputy Chairman of the Leadership Team, AME Zone, respectively.

“As Aurecon, we have the opportunity to leverage our considerable expertise across a wide range of sectors and offer our clients an expanded range of technical skills and services. In addition, we are able to both provide greater opportunities for our employees, and grow the bottom line for our shareholders. Aurecon will also reduce our reliance on local business and allow for expansion into new markets within growing economies where we currently have little or no presence.”

Paul Hardy, Aurecon CEO, said: “The formation of Aurecon is about bringing together three companies which share a common vision with the aim of both complementing and strengthening the capabilities of each organisation.

The requirements for Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa have been recognised and incorporated into the final ownership model. Aurecon will assume a status as a level 4 contributor to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa. Approval for the formation of Aurecon has been provided and is unopposed by the South African Competition Commission. Aurecon

PB APPOINTS MATERIALS HANDLING EXPERT FOR MINES, PORTS AND POWER STATIONS THE APPOINTMENT OF JOHN SPREADBOROUGH AS PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF (PB)’S NATIONAL TECHNICAL EXECUTIVE – MATERIALS HANDLING SIGNALS THE FIRM’S CONTINUED STRATEGIC EXPANSION IN THIS CAPABILITY. John’s significant experience adds strength to PB’s capabilities in the design of materials handling facilities for mines, ports and power stations. John joins PB from his role as Associate Director – Mechanical at Maunsell where he worked on a wide range of materials handling projects. These projects included the Kestrel Mine Extension, the Ridgeway Deeps Project, the Huntly Power Station Overland Conveyor System Upgrade (NZ) and the RG Tanna Coal Terminal Upgrade.


National Outlook WINTER 09

John began his career with Mount Isa Mines over 27 years ago and he has extensive experience in the mechanical design, design supervision, construction supervision and commissioning of materials handling plant and equipment. His experience includes work with the West Australian Department of Mines, Evans Deakin, BHP Engineering, Hatch, Aspec Engineering and Maunsell. John has built a significant experience base in materials handling for opencut and underground at mines, ports and power stations in Australia and at off shore locations

such as New Caledonia, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Philippines His expertise will support the continued expansion of PB’s materials handling work, in Australia and across wider horizons. John officially started his new role at Parsons Brinckerhoff in January 2009 and is based in the Brisbane office. Parsons Brinckerhoff

MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS FOR ECONOMIC SUCCESS AECOM INTEGRATES BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AECOM’S MAUNSELL AECOM, BASSETT, ENSR AUSTRALIA AND EDAW AECOM BRANDS ARE COMING TOGETHER AS PART OF A GLOBAL INTEGRATION THAT WILL SEE EACH BRAND ADOPT THE AECOM NAME. AECOM, a professional services firm, has more than 4,000 employees in Australia and New Zealand. AECOM is a Fortune 500 company with 43,000 employees in over 100 countries. AECOM Regional Chief Executive for Australia and New Zealand Richard Jackson said the move to AECOM is a natural evolution providing one face to clients. “It will make dealing with us simpler and provide our clients with easier access to our full range of services and expertise globally,” said Jackson. “Integrating AECOM brands and operations brings together the resources and shared expertise needed to deliver world-leading projects both locally and globally.” AECOM people are designers, planners, engineers, economists, scientists and projects managers working on the world’s most influential infrastructure to create a better world in which to work and live. AECOM project involvement includes in Australia: Brisbane’s North South Bypass Tunnel; the Australian Synchrotron, Olympic Dam Mine and Kunioon Coal Project; in New Zealand: the Otahuhu Power Station and Auckland Rail Electrification project; and worldwide: New York Subway, Libya Housing and Infrastructure Development, and London’s Crossrail. AECOM

The ability to make informed financial decisions is critical to success in business. This two day course is designed for non-financial managers and business owners who are looking to increase profits, cash and value through improved financial management skills.

Course Dates Sydney:

9 - 10 July


27 - 28 August


3 - 4 September

Melbourne: 17 - 18 September Adelaide:

12 - 13 November


Course Outline Interpreting and using financial documents Managing cash flow and dealing with debtors Understanding profitability and project costings Managing non-financial performance The benefits and importance of benchmarking Managing and maximising assets Types of ownership structures and their benefits Succession planning strategies For more information or to register please contact Daniel Condon at the ACEA National Office,

state news

SA DIVISION Recent events

Clipsal Adelaide 500 130 people attended the breakfast function on 4th March 2009 to hear David Raggatt, Commercial Manager of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, discuss the elements and logistics of bringing together one of Australia’s biggest annual events. David gave the audience an insight into the event management that is needed to transform the streets of Adelaide into a racetrack, construct and remove the entire surrounding infrastructure that includes 30,000 shaded grandstand seats, as well as host four big nights of concerts. David shared his passion and enthusiasm for the Clipsal 500 which he describes as “much more than just a car race.” He explained the pre-planning and promotion that is undertaken, the ‘what if’ scenarios that need to be considered and the importance of attracting and retaining the support of sponsors and the general public to ensure ongoing success. As well as winning many tourism awards, the Clipsal 500 Adelaide provides significant economic benefit to South Australia and is recognised as one of the world’s great touring car festivals. Anthony Bowman, State Manager of KBR, gave the audience a summary of our event sponsor, and their extensive experience with motorsport around the world.

Brendan Scott: SA FutureNet Executive


A hive of activity, the division has met with three state ministers including the Minister for Housing regarding the stimulus package, is working on Drill Rig Safety Guidelines and has hosted four events. ACEA is collaborating with Engineers Australia on the Bushfire Response, sits on the Building Commission BE Support Bushfire Roundtable and facilitated the provision of two pro bono project managers to the Bushfire Authority. An alliance or panel concept has also been put forward for the reconstruction stage.


In March, the Hon Justin Madden, Minister for Planning addressed a large crowd regarding the opportunities for members in the context of the recently announced policy Melbourne@5million: A Planning Update. ACEA initiated this as a co-badged event with the Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia. With the recent announcement of the Victorian Transport Plan, the State Government intends to spend $38 billion. In April, the Hon Tim Pallas, Minister for Roads, Ports and Major Projects provided a briefing to senior members of ACEA firms associated with transport infrastructure. In other news, ACEA co-hosted a packed drill rig safety seminar with the Australian Drilling Association regarding safety guidelines. In addition, FutureNet held a very successful event entitled Carbon Trading in the Australian Context and the Global Financial Crisis. The Victorian Environmental Sustainability Commissioner and a former PWC climate change partner provided stark and thought provoking presentations.


At the time of printing, the Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon Graeme Sturges, has been requested to meet with members to discuss the Commonwealth stimulus package as well as the proposed broadband roll out which is to be commenced in Tasmania.

(L to R) Ken Mival, Chairperson, ACEA (Victoria Division), The Hon Justin Madden MP, Minister for Planning, Jason Black, President, Planning Institute of Australia (Victoria Division) and Karl Fender, President, Australian Institute of Architects (Victoria chapter)


National Outlook WINTER 09

state news

NSW DIVISION NSW Division has been focusing on numerous lobbying issues, held countless CPD seminars on topical subjects and recently launched the 2009 FutureNet Business Leaders course. This year there are over twenty participants from a cross selection of industries and the course will run from April through to December in Sydney.


CPD Workshop Engineering Firms – Are they better Project Managers? Date: Thursday 18th June 2009 Venue: The Grace Hotel RSVP: Paige Kennard –

ACSE Annual Seminar Date: Thursday 2nd July 2009 Venue: The Vibe Hotel RSVP: Paige Kennard –


On the 22nd April 2009, FutureNet launched the 2009 FutureNet Business Leaders course at the Park Hyatt in Sydney. This launch was attended by over 40 people and this year there are over 20 participants. Held within the launch was the first session on networking which was presented by Julia Palmer of BConsulted. Following the launch, Wayne Pearce presented Leadership and the remaining course program looks to be exciting and challenging for participants. Sessions will be held fortnightly with participants being introduced to their mentors mid way throughout the course.

QLD DIVISION The last quarter has been both demanding and challenging for many members. Be it the current operating environment or the March State Election, each have impacted members. Underpinning all the activities of ACEA in Queensland currently is actions which strive to mitigate the loss of skills and resources from the industry. This, along with maintaining the drive for graduate recruitment, is fundamental to the long term sustainability of the resources in the industry. Listed here are some of the issues that Division Committee has represented members in the State on during recent times: Department of Public Works on their long form contract Department of Main Roads senior management group Department of Main Roads in relation to insurance Design & Construction Certificates in the Building Industry – forms 15 and 16 Department of Infrastructure & Planning along with other key industry bodies The Premier in relation to a recommendation that the Board of Professional Engineers of Qld be abolished. Fantastic opportunity for young professionals in the built environment to represent the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia – Queensland Division at the FIDIC International Conference in London 13-16 September 2009 (Delivering Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges). ACEA Queensland will provide return flights to London; six nights accommodation at one of the conference hotels; young professionals registration for the full conference; contribution towards other miscellaneous expenses associated with attending the conference. Meet and hear from an impressive array of speakers discussing key issues impacting professionals in the built environment throughout the world. Competition details and entry criteria can be obtained from Entries close Friday, 26 June 2009.



After over 10 years with the Queensland Division, Lorelei Broadbent will be leaving the Association as of the 12th June 2009. Lorelei’s tireless efforts over the past 10 years have seen the Division grown dramatically and has seen the ACEA go from strength to strength. We would like to take this opportunity to wish Lorelei, David and family all the very best with their future endeavours and to thank Lorelei for the commitment and dedication she has shown the ACEA and our members over the last decade. While we are filling the position, the National Office with assistance from NSW Division will be providing support to the QLD division, for any queries, please contact Julia Lemercier on 02 9922 4711.

FutureNet Event: 10 June 6.00pm Industry Networking Breakfast: 11 June 7.30am Sustainability & Climate Change Update: What are the Latest Issues for Consultants? FutureNet Annual Trivia Night: 5 August 6.00pm FutureNet Event: 7 October 6.00pm

recent EVENTS

Over 150 young professionals from the built environment industry attended an absolutely fantastic FutureNet cocktail event on 22 April at the Conrad Treasury Hotel. Guest speaker was the Hon Andrew Fraser MP, Treasurer of Queensland who impressed guests with his speech around the topic of “Looking Forward: optimism & success in economic development for the built environment”. Also on the night, Alec Tadman, spoke on his experiences at attending the 2008 FIDIC Conference. On 22 April, ACEA’s National Policy Manager, Nicola Grayson discussed with members the ACEA’s position on the challenges and opportunities for enhancing the business environment for consulting engineering business in uncertain economic times. The presentation included an update on the ACEA’s engagement with the Federal and State Governments on a number of topics. WINTER 09 National Outlook


PRACTICE & PROCUREMENT Nicola Grayson heads the policy team at the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia’s National office in Sydney. Her portfolios include Procurement & Practice and Contracts & Liabilities. Nicola can be contacted at

ACEA PRESENTS AT AUSTRALIAN SERVICES SUMMIT, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, ON THE NEED FOR INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENGINEERING SKILLS THE ACEA VOICED ITS SUPPORT FOR THE RUDD GOVERNMENT’S CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AT THE AUSTRALIAN SERVICES ROUNDTABLE SUMMIT, PARLIAMENT HOUSE. The ACEA participated in the Australian Services Roundtable Summit held on 18 March 2009 at Parliament House alongside colleagues from other major service industries including, financial services, telecommunications, IT, transport, education and architecture. The Summit, which was attended by parliamentarians and senior policy makers, provided an opportunity to explore the key issues of the day facing service industries. The ACEA identified as a priority the need to assist in the delivery of those infrastructure projects identified in the Government’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan. Mr John Darmody, Managing Director, Australia, for MWH, represented the ACEA at the Summit and spoke about the ACEA’s support for ongoing investment in infrastructure in order to boost the economy.

Mr Darmody said, “Historically, many of our country’s most important infrastructure advancements have been made on the back of, or in the wake of, turbulent times and often with a great deal of associated controversy. To ride out the current crisis, we must have a far-sighted outlook, and the courage to embark upon something significant. Otherwise, at the end of the recession we will have nothing to show for it.”

such as timetables and methods of delivery for the roll-out of infrastructure projects.

It was reinforced that the consulting engineering industry stands ready to assist state and territory governments in achieving their deadlines for delivery of the stimulus package and to undertake major infrastructure works.

Nicola Grayson, ACEA’s National Policy Manager also presented, speaking on two key issues. Firstly the need to streamline the contractual terms and conditions under which consultants are engaged, including the need for governments to be more open to risk sharing rather than risk transfer, which is, for example inhibiting innovation. The second issue was the need to continue to invest as a nation in engineering skills. The message being that the current economic situation did not mean that the need to develop engineering skills in Australia has gone away.

The need for early engagement of consultants by governments during the development process was stressed, in particular the importance of communication on matters

The ACEA received positive feedback from the presentation and continues to engage with Government at all levels on these issues. Nicola Grayson

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There is a continuing need for increased capability and knowledge in the work environment particularly in technical areas associated with the design, construction and maintenance of road pavements and other major infrastructure assets. Yet there is also increasing pressure on time and it is frequently not possible or convenient to undertake study via face to face courses at Universities. The distance education courses offered by the Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) provide a unique and convenient option to learn and gain relevant knowledge and qualifications without the need to attend classrooms. 16

National Outlook WINTER 09

CPEE is currently accepting applications for its roads, pavement and infrastructure asset management postgraduate programs including the Graduate Certificate of Pavement Technology and the LaTrobe University accredited Master of Technology & Master of Engineering in Pavements for study period 2, 2009. All CPEE courses are very practical and encourage direct application of the skills and knowledge acquired. The application of learning to problems in the workplace is facilitated by the distance education format which does not require attendance at a university or attend face-to-face sessions but encourages those undertaking courses to apply their knowledge in their workplace wherever possible.

Launching in study period 2 (29th June) is the new Graduate Certificate in Infrastructure Asset Management accredited by the University of Tasmania. The four, eight-unit and twelve unit programs can be tailored to suit the needs of individuals wishing to update their knowledge or become more productive in the workplace. Technical staff can gain valuable qualifications in as little as 12 months and be able to apply what they learn directly to their day-to-day activities. It is also possible just to undertake a single unit on a specific topic for those wishing to gain a focused learning immediately. To receive further information, email



It is vital to the Australian economy that competition, particularly for major building and construction projects, be based on recognition of the value of technical and commercial performance outcomes.

The ACEA put forward a submission stating that the ACEA could not support the draft NCP for Economic Infrastructure Guidelines because key sections of the Guidelines include terms that are commercially inappropriate for consulting firms. The ACEA’s view was that the Guidelines would create an adversarial relationship between the parties, thus failing to deliver value for money for any party. It was argued that as a major contributor to Australia’s GDP and infrastructure development, the consulting engineering industry needs to be sustainable, diverse, and competitive across all markets. This is both desirable and necessary to maintain services to a broad customer base, which includes individual consumers in the community and major clients in the private sector as well as local, state and federal government. It is vital to the Australian economy that competition, particularly for major building and construction projects, be based on recognition of the value of technical and commercial performance outcomes. Unfortunately the risk allocation approach adopted in the draft NCPs for Economic Infrastructure would not provide sustainability in the industry.

It is understood that the Government seeks a private partner that can deliver a ‘one stop shop’ for delivery of the project and one that is prepared to bear all risks. In reality that private sector partner has to rely on the services of a range of technical professionals to deliver a PPP as they are typically complex projects. These service providers, amongst whom are consultants, all have different capacities to bear and control these risks. The trend towards ‘risk transfer’ as opposed to ‘risk management’ inhibits the effectiveness of engineering project delivery developing the following negative characteristics as a result: functional fragmentation, where a project organisation is typically made up of disparate groups misalignment between effective management and legal responsibility failure litigation and commercial loss lack of co-ordination and communication between the key parties adversarial contractual relationships focus on price rather than value reduction in skills lack of focus on good project delivery outcomes. It was noted that the draft National PPP Guidelines acknowledged that there have been instances of poor project planning and/ or risk assessment, resulting in inadequate consideration of key points required to ensure optimal project outcomes. This problem has been identified many times over in reports into project delivery, for example, Scope for Improvement – A Survey of Pressure Points in Australian Construction and Infrastructure Projects published in 2006 by Blake Dawson & Waldron and Getting It Right The First Time by the Queensland Division Task Force, October 2005. Both reports identified poor risk allocation and management as a major feature in projects that had overrun or failed. The ACEA has been working with a broad range of Government agencies to discuss such issues and has been able to agree a different approach, which provides more certainty to both parties. It was disappointing therefore to see a return to this form of adversarial contracting in the draft NCPs for Economic Infrastructure Guidelines.

Key problems identified in the draft NCPs for Economic Infrastructure: the requirement to release the Government from its Occupational Health and Safety obligations the requirement for acceptance of all environmental costs the requirement for a fitness for purpose warranty and the certification of fitness for purpose for the design the requirement for sub-contractors to give a collateral warranty in favour of the Government the obligation to control the terms and conditions supplied by the insurance market broad indemnities in favour of Governments that are not fault based uncertainty of the position on limitation of liability for private parties the right to claim liquidated damages the lack of regard to the principle of proportionate liability. The ACEA was invited to attend a consultation session with Infrastructure Australia on draft NCP for Economic Infrastructure held on Thursday 19 March. The ACEA’s submission, which did not support the draft principles, was echoed by the building and construction industry more broadly. The two key issues being the lack of funding capacity in the private sector and the risk allocation model (i.e. transfer to the private sector). The consultation session explored these two issues at a high level to provide guidance to Infrastructure Australia and it was concluded that the current draft would not be submitted to the Council of Australia Governments at the end of March as planned, but would be redrafted. The ACEA is awaiting further information on the progress of the Guidelines. Nicola Grayson WINTER 09 National Outlook


CONTRACTS AND LIABILITY Nicola Grayson heads the policy team at the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia’s National office in Sydney. Her portfolios include Procurement & Practice and Contracts & Liabilities. Nicola can be contacted at

CLIMATE CHANGE AND GREEN BUILDING LIABILITIES THE GROUND SWELL FOR INCORPORATING ENERGY RATINGS INTO PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS HAS RESULTED IN A RANGE OF REQUIREMENTS IN CODES (BOTH MANDATORY AND VOLUNTARY) AND IN CONTRACTS. IN MOST PROJECTS, THE VARIOUS CONSULTANTS AND CONTRACTORS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY, BUT NONE OF THEM HAVE CONTROL OVER THE WHOLE PROCESS. MORE BROADLY, POTENTIAL NEW RISKS ARE EMERGING AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR ABILITY TO ADAPT. Governments around the world are considering their responses to adverse climate change. In Australia Federal and State Governments are implementing policies to reduce the production of CO2 emissions, which are believed to be contributing to the climate change phenomenon. For example, there are requirements in the Building Code of Australia and minimum energy performance standards for certain products, which are the subject of government regulation. Adaptation is potentially one of the most important aspects of climate change for Australia and will involve public and private investment and considerable time if it is to be successful. The impact of high temperatures for prolonged periods on roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, airports and ports and coastal infrastructure is potentially very significant. There is a growing realisation that if Australia does not move to adapt buildings and

infrastructure to accommodate these impacts, the cost to society and the ability of society to respond quickly to these events will be significantly diminished.

buildings, which embody aspirational performance targets. For example, the Green Star Rating system introduced by the Green Building Council of Australia.

This means that adaptation of material selection, design standards, operation and maintenance practices, emergency management and disaster planning will all be essential elements in maintaining Australia’s standard of living and social cohesiveness.

Sustainable buildings are now incorporating a climate response in the design and operation, energy conservation, generation and management, water conservation, recycling and management, waste minimisation, recovery and recycling, improved indoor environment, social amenity, health and wellbeing, reuse of materials and an integrated approach to building fabric, façade and building services design.

In the built environment, both the electricity consumption and embodied energy inherent in the use of manufactured building products and construction activity represent substantial sources of green house gas emissions in Australia. The built environment professions have been working for some years to minimise the green house gas emissions footprint of buildings, both during construction and operation. Sustainable building design is now well entrenched in Australia and developers and owners are now designing and constructing sustainable

REVIEW OF THE ACEA LONG FORM AND SHORT FORM CONTRACT THE ACEA’S LIABILITY AND CONTRACTS ROUNDTABLE HAS COMMENCED A REVIEW OF THE ACEA CONTRACT AND WELCOMES MEMBERS INPUT. The ACEA Liability and Contracts Roundtable is reviewing the ACEA Contract (Long Form and Short Form) to ensure that its terms are up to date and remain relevant to your business and clients. If you are a user of the ACEA contract, the ACEA would welcome your feedback on its


National Outlook WINTER 09

terms. For example, do you need to amend the terms of the ACEA Contract and if yes why? The Roundtable hopes to issue a reviewed draft by the middle of 2009. Please contact Nicola Grayson with your comments or if you wish to be involved in the Working Group that is undertaking the review by emailing Nicola Grayson

There is a growing expectation in the community that professional consultants will factor in climate change risk into their decision making process. It has now become more commonplace for developers to incorporate energy rating targets into their contracts for building design and services. Environmental requirements are also being included more broadly in consultant agreements. The ACEA’s Contracts and Liability Roundtable has developed a Practice Note for members reviewing of some of the emerging risks associated with climate change and sustainability in our industry. It highlights the need to consider the potential liabilities that a consultant could attract and also the need to consider strategies to identify and manage them. The Practice Note sets out two particular areas of interest: compliance with green building rating schemes more broadly, the extent to which consultants may be expected to advise on climate change risk. The Practice Note (PN 2.08 Climate Change and Green Buildings Liabilities) is now available for ACEA members to download from the ‘Members Only’ publication list, see Practice Notes, Section 2. Liability and Insurance. Nicola Grayson


IT’S HERE! THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED STANDARDS AUSTRALIA DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT CONSULTANT’S AGREEMENT AS4904-2009 IS FINALLY PUBLISHED FOLLOWING INTERVENTION BY THE ACEA, THE D&C CONSULTANT’S AGREEMENT WAS PUBLISHED BY STANDARDS AUSTRALIA ON 20 MARCH 2009 The General Conditions of Contract for Design and Construct (AS4902) was published in 2000 and the Subcontract Conditions (AS4901) were completed in 1998. AS4904, the Design and Construct Consultant’s Agreement was not completed at that time because of the onerous nature of the warranties and indemnities that the agreement sought to extract from the Consultant. At the end of 2007 the ACEA determined to convene a meeting of the organisations that represent the intended signatories of the contract, i.e. the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (representing all major government procurers), the Australian Constructors Association (representing private sector clients), the Australian Institute of Architects and the ACEA (representing the two main consultancy groups). The purpose of the meeting was to establish some common ground on which an agreement might be reached on the major areas of contention. By August 2008 an agreement had been reached and the Standards Australia Committee broke its impasse by a majority vote in favour of publishing the Standard, reflecting the agreement reached.

Key compromises were achieved on the consultant’s warranty and indemnity clauses (clause 2 and 9). Rather than a strict fitness for purpose warranty (as originally drafted), the consultant is required to warrant that the Consultant has examined the Client’s project requirements and exercising due skill, care and diligence in carrying out and completing the services that, the Services are suitable, appropriate and adequate for the purpose stated in the Client’s project requirements.

Importantly, the parties to the contract are able to agree a monetary limit of liability, which will limit the Consultant’s liability to the Client arising out of the performance or nonperformance of the Services. The ACEA recommends that Clients and Consultants familiarise themselves with this contract and consider its use in place of non-standard D&C agreements. Nicola Grayson

The warranty is also given to the extent that the Consultant’s design obligations, exercising due skill, care and diligence are within the discretion and control of the Consultant, the Consultant’s design obligations, when carried out, shall meet the Client’s project requirements (Client’s project requirements means the Client’s written requirements for the Services described in the accompanying documents). The Consultant provides the Client with an indemnity for claims arising out of or as a consequence of a breach of the warranty given.

ACEA TO CHAIR CROSSINDUSTRY WORKING GROUP ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT NICOLA GRAYSON, ACEA NATIONAL POLICY MANAGER, HAS BEEN APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF A CROSS-INDUSTRY WORKING GROUP ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT. The appointment has been made by the Liability Reform Steering Group, a coalition of professional service groups including, the ACEA, CPA Australia, Deloitte, Engineers Australia, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Institute of Actuaries of Australia, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, The National Institute of Accountants, The Law Society, The Australian Institute of Architects. The Working Group will focus on a programme of engagement with the Federal Government about liability and risk management with the aim of introducing a liability management toolkit for procurement officers. This appointment comes in recognition of the work that the ACEA has conducted in this area and the success we have had to date in engaging the Government. Nicola Grayson

McCullough Robertson are holding their 9th Annual Construction Law Conference at Rydges in Yeppoon in August 2009. This conference will address how the economic climate is impacting on the choice of contracting models, payment certainty, price escalation, defective works claims, the role of insurances and how negotiating a deal may now require revised strategies. Attracting principal players and decision makers in government procurement and the construction, mining, and infrastructure sectors, this conference is an excellent opportunity to gain a greater understanding of your legal rights and obligations. The full program and registration form can be downloaded on the McCullough Robertson website – Enquires Ellecia Murphy, telephone 07 3233 8783.

WINTER 09 National Outlook


sustainability Caroline Ostrowski is a Policy Officer for the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. Caroline represents the needs and interests of ACEA member firms across the Skills and Sustainability business portfolios. Caroline can be reached at

CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE EXTERNAL AUDITOR FRAMEWORK FOR NGERS & THE CPRS IN CONSIDERING SUSTAINABILITY AND ALL ITS ATTRIBUTES, CONFUSION IT SEEMS STILL EXISTS AROUND WHAT SUSTAINABILITY IS ACTUALLY COMPRISED OF AND PARTICULARLY ITS DEFINITION. DEFINING SOMETHING SO COMPLEX THOUGH RAISES THE QUESTION - MUST SUSTAINABILITY HAVE ONE UNIVERSAL DEFINITION OR CAN IT MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS? AN INVESTIGATION ON SOME COMMON (AND NOT SO COMMON) THOUGHTS AND THEORIES ON THE SUBJECT MAY REVEAL THE ANSWER. As an association representing members with a significant stake in the External Auditor Scheme (the Scheme) for the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) which will underpin the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the ACEA are working to ensure that Australia is well positioned for its transition to a low pollution future. Carbon auditing is essentially a high endtechnical process of auditing energy. There are various forms of this process including embodied energy and carbon emission usage and reduction. Much of the efficacy of the audit process will be dependent upon and relate to the engineering qualifications and competency of auditors. Earlier this year the ACEA submitted its second round of views and recommendations relating to the external auditing of carbon emissions produced by Australian firms reporting their emissions to the Government under the NGER Act. Australian consulting engineering firms have been conducting these kinds of audits across a range of industries for a number of years. The ACEA have advocated that the full involvement of engineering and related practitioners offers the genuine understanding of the physical processes that lead to the various types of emissions, which can be transferred to liable parties through the audit process. These competencies have been proven through the Government’s Greenhouse Challenge Plus and Greenhouse Friendly programs, and internationally through the Clean Development Mechanism. The ACEA have consulted widely with our members and believe that the positions and recommendations we have submitted to the Government will contribute to the rigor and validity of the audit process, which will ultimately underpin Australia’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).


National Outlook WINTER 09

The ACEA’s recommendations The ACEA contends that the auditing process pertaining to the NGER Act should be focussed on the technical aspects of fundamental green house gases (GHG) raw data collection and measurement methods, rather than how the business being audited may wish to allocate the data through its various corporate structures The lead/principal auditor should possess an engineering degree, have sector specific experience in the area being audited and have responsibility for selecting any additional appropriate accounting and/or legal skills required to audit a company under the NGER Act The Government (the Regulator) should be responsible for validating existing accreditation and registration of qualified auditors Registration should be based on accreditation with existing systems e.g. IEMA, ISO and RABQSA and previous experience with audits for lead/principal auditors Registration should be based on technical competencies, qualifications, or previous experience with energy audits Corporate structure and operational control should be already well determined by businesses participating in the CPRS; the Government has already set the parameters for this in the NGER Act. These two proposed areas for auditing should not be included in the regulations, rather applied on an ad-hoc basis if required The contract for the audit should be signed between a firm or sole practitioner providing the audit service and the auditee. Issues of independence relating to individual auditors that have provided advice to an auditee previously can be managed by excluding the individual auditee from the audit team, rather than excluding the entire firm from being able to provide the audit service. Issues of ethical behavior are also covered and addressed by the engineering industry’s codes of ethics Limitation of liability should be included in the regulations and liability should be limited to the cost of the auditors (engineers) fees A minimum level of five years industry experience should be required to be an accredited auditor under the Scheme The ACEA can offer assistance in providing training for engineers on knowledge of the NGER Act’s requirements. Given the need for qualified auditors at the end of this year, the short term solution proposed for either an online examination or structured interviews arranged by the Department is satisfactory. Caroline Ostrowski


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ENGINEERS SPEAK OUT FOR RAPID RETURN ON INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT ALTHOUGH ANALYSTS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO DEBATE THE TECHNICALITY OF WHETHER AUSTRALIA IS OR IS NOT IN RECESSION, ONE WOULD BE HARD PRESSED TO DENY THAT THE EFFECTS OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS HAVE REACHED OUR SHORES. SHRINKING REVENUES, BAILOUT AND STIMULUS PACKAGES AND AN ALARMING GROWTH IN THE NUMBER OF ‘FOR LEASE’ AND ‘MORTGAGEE UNDER POSSESSION’ SIGNS ARE ALL INDICATORS THAT WE ARE OPERATING IN WHAT HAS BECOME AN INCREASINGLY RISKY WORLD. I recently had the opportunity to speak as a representative of the ACEA at the inaugural Australian Services Summit in Canberra. The topic of the gathering, Future Growth: Harnessing Globalisation and Economic Change, inevitably led to a lively discourse on the current state of the Australian economy, how and how quickly the Government must respond, and the challenges facing professional services firms across Australia. While the entities represented in the room had much in common, I made the point that consulting engineering is somewhat different from other professional services due to the fact that our skills are highly transferable from region to region, and sector to sector. As a result, we are witnessing the rapid mobilisation of staff out of areas heavily hit by the GFC – such as resources – and into what might be deemed more stable sectors, namely utilities and infrastructure. This is having a significant and immediate impact on competition. This time last year, we were facing a skills shortage

This time last year, we were facing a skills shortage and looking for ways to attract engineering talent to Australia; the issue has now become how to create jobs for the many highly skilled individuals available.

and looking for ways to attract engineering talent to Australia; the issue has now become how to create jobs for the many highly skilled individuals available. With this mass of engineers, some unemployed or under-utilised, standing at the ready to support large-scale efforts, it is important for our nation to have the courage to do something large and significant for Australia. Many of our country’s most important infrastructure advancements – including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme – were made on the back of, or in the wake of, turbulent times. Once again, infrastructure investment will be key to getting money back into our economy with immediate and lasting impacts. In the short term, investment in infrastructure will have a multiplier effect – producing jobs and business that will slowly but steadily help unwind this crisis. In the

Planning is about bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. Alan Lakein In tough economic times, plan ahead. Prepare for the future by investing in your professional development now. Find out how Chifley Business School can make a difference to your career. NCACBS/090


National Outlook WINTER 09

long term, our country will be left with the legacy of vastly improved infrastructure. A number of ‘shovel-ready’ projects have already been proposed by Infrastructure Australia and speed to market will be vital in getting the Federal and State Treasury money back into our local communities. In fact, while each professional service represented at the Summit has its own particulars and ideas for how to stay afloat in these uncertain times, almost all – from engineering to education, finance, law and telecommunications – were in agreement on one thing, which is the need for speed. In order to weather the storm, we must act quickly to turn this crisis into an opportunity. John Darmody Managing Director - Australia, MWH John is the Australian Managing Director for MWH, a a global provider of environmental engineering, construction and strategic consulting services.

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ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT FOR WATER UTILITIES: THE BUSINESS CASE FOR OPTIMISATION ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND HUMAN POPULATION HEALTH WILL INCREASINGLY DEPEND ON ACHIEVING A BALANCE BETWEEN THE INNOVATIVE APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE SENSITIVE BOUNDS OF NATURE. Communities and industries across every landscape on earth are looking for solutions to the challenges of water supply and wastewater collection. For water utilities there is political pressure to meet the demands of consumers, industry and business. There is also increasing pressure for good returns to Government for publiclyowned utilities and to shareholders for privatised water utilities. Regulatory authorities are setting tighter criteria regarding water supply and quality. Environmental protection authorities are setting similarly demanding environmental standards. The water utility industry is driven by regulation but has to operate commercially, to achieve lower capital and operating investment costs. We need to bring into account fall-out from the global financial crisis. Constrained budgets require water utilities to justify the key planning and operating decisions they make while still maintaining required customer service levels. Then there is the added burden for water utilities, as some of the biggest energy users and greenhouse gas emitters, to deal with the complexities of carbon emissions reduction schemes and the need to reduce their operational carbon footprints. Overlay these issues against the backdrop of drought, natural disasters and water reuse schemes and you are presented with a tremendously complex picture – and an urgent need to come up with water management solutions that balance the numerous constraints and decision variables. Shaun Cox, Managing Director, South East Water - one of Melbourne’s three state-owned metropolitan water retailers – says that ‘adaptive management’ is the key. “We are now experiencing in the water industry over the last five years what traditionally has been seen as high consequence but low likelihood events now coming to fruition,” Mr Cox says. “This has meant that a number of us in leadership positions within water utilities are looking hard at risk management frameworks.

“Part of the response is through adaptive management to enable utilities to move quickly and more appropriately to minimise the impact of these events. This is achieved by gaining a greater understanding and knowledge of our water systems to then run and optimise what become ‘intelligent networks’.” Innovative water utilities in the Australia and New Zealand region are leveraging their GIS systems, hydraulic models, staff experience and the power of computational intelligence to optimise their infrastructure planning, asset management and operations and emergency response activities. This use of adaptive management has led to tens of millions of dollars of savings, reduced carbon footprints and improved operations, while meeting required customer services levels. Optimisation enhances adaptive management capabilities for water utilities by enabling them to generate and rank the best mix of alternatives – from myriad possible solutions – to meet performance criteria at least community cost. Whether for longterm planning or when rapid critical design and operating decisions need to be made, optimisation presents this best solution range to cut time and costs at every or any stage of every or any project. Continued improvements in optimisation methodologies and technologies enable the ever more complex water management problems to be solved by water utilities, who can now ameliorate the risks associated with meeting regulatory and customer demands in a time of intensive financial and climatic pressures. Tim Anderson CEO - Optimatics Optimatics is a leader in water systems optimisation and has optimised over 200 water systems for more than 60 water utilities and irrigation authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom

ECLIPSE SITEMASTER GROUND WATER DECONTAMINATION SYSTEMS. The site 30 The Bond was originally the site of the Australian Gas Light company's first gas manufacturing plant in 1871. As a result, there were challenges in decontaminating this site in an environmentally responsible way. Eclipse accepted this challenge and put their expertise in waste water treatment and groundwater remediation, to work on the complex task of removal of contaminated ground water. Eclipse installed a fully portable Sitemaster water treatment system on site that was used to dewater and treat the effluent to Sydney Water sewer admittance standards. This was done in a three stage process, firstly using centrifugally assisted settling tanks to separate the heavy solids and tar from the liquid. Secondly, adjusting the pH of the waste liquid to assist in the flocculation process and finally carbon filtration to arrive at the required standard. The system had to operate 24/7 for over 18 months as groundwater infiltration was about 100 kl per day at peak with no onsite storage capacity. Eclipse provides these 'Site Master' systems on a fully maintained rental basis, handling all statutory applications and water sampling to authority requirements. Eclipse has its own EPA licenced vacuum tankers to remove filtrate sludge off site. The set up and the number of units required can be adapted depending on the size of the job; from the treatment of small amounts of 'muddy' water, to large scale decontamination such as '30 The Bond' (where over 20 million litres of water was removed). The concept of 'Seriously green' from the roots to roof has ensured not only '30 The Bond's 5 star rating, but also Eclipses expertise in remediation. Sitemaster systems can remove a wide range of containants including: hydrocarbons, heavy metals, Silica and asbestos. For more info contact Eclipse: Phone: (02) 9721 3071 or Email:


National Outlook WINTER 09

Environmental Australia

For all your waste water requirements Ground water systems A portable treatment system can treat the water continuously 24 hours per day. This system removes sediment and contaminates prior to discharge. Fully automatic with ph correction. Complies with all EPA laws.

Sitemaster unit being lowered into restricted access site to remove pesticide contaminated ground at N. Sydney

Nova 1 water recycling system Ready to use water recycling system suitable for automotive applications. Automatic backwash with chemical dosing and UV sterilisation. Fully self contained. Requires 240 V power and connection to collection pit.

Grease arrestors and oil separators.

Unit dimensions are 3000L by 1000W by 1800H

Grease arrestors from 500 to 12,000 lt

Large range of fibreglass and stainless steel arrestors made to specifications and approved in all Australian States. Oil separators now available with hydrocarbon post scrubber. Email address :

Oil separators 1000 lt to 30,000 lt per hour capacity

Eclipse Environmental Australia P/L 28 Larra St Yennora NSW 2161 : 9721 3071 Fax : 9721 3070

World Class Software for Structural Engineers

Park Bridge at Kicking Horse Canyon, British Columbia

Realistic rendered views of your model  Very fast rendering  Realistic representations of node restraints and member fixities  Adjustable transparency for members and plates  Common camera positions  Perspective or orthographic modes  Facility to save the model in common image formats  Ability to export the model to 3D AutoCAD DXF and DWG files

New Plate Element The new Plate Element combines the ease of use of SPACE GASS with finite element analysis. Now you can create models that more accurately represent slabs, walls, tanks and retaining walls in conjunction with beams, columns, braces and cables. For more information visit



FEDERAL BUDGET 2009/10 – A PENNY HERE, A PENNY THERE, A PENNY EVERYWHERE THE ACEA ATTENDED ITS FIRST BUDGET LOCK-UP AS IT WAS UNVEILED BY THE RUDD GOVERNMENT. The 2009/10 Federal Budget was never going to be easy, but the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA) is pleased with the decision to invest heavily in nationwide infrastructure. The ACEA applauds the announcement of a $22 billion investment in infrastructure, including $8.5 billion for critical rail, road and port infrastructure to help boost productivity; however the Association remains concerned about skills shortages in the engineering sector. Building the nation’s infrastructure is important for both short term recovery and long term growth, however the reality is that according to ACEA’s initial findings from its 2009 Skills Survey, there are simply not enough engineers in some specific disciplines to deliver (results of the 2009 ACEA Skills Survey will be available in the next edition of National Outlook). However, the ACEA is thrilled to note that employer nominated sponsorship visas in areas of critical skill shortage will be fast-tracked. Increased funding support for higher education is particularly welcome, but demand-driven funding will need to be balanced with strategic planning toward increases in skills in areas of critical shortage, especially in nation building roles like engineering.

WHAT’S IN IT...? $22 billion investment in nation-wide infrastructure Paid parental leave from January 2011 Investment allowance increased to 50% Extension of the First Home Owners Boost for an extra 6 months R&D tax concession to become a tax credit $64.6 million for streamlined energy efficiency measures $100 million for a new National Energy Efficiency Initiative $15 billion to implement a comprehensive response to climate change $2.1 billion investment in higher education infrastructure, participation & research Increases to the aged pension & the qualifying age to 67 years

The ACEA would also like to have seen greater investment in rail infrastructure that connects our major cities, as well as providing public transport within urban centres. Greater investment in rail that connects metropolitan centres is a catalyst to improving the efficiency of how services are being delivered. It can play a critical role in enhancing the efficiency of the national supply chain with seamless movement of goods and services across all modes of transport from the paddock, quarry or city to its final market. Furthermore, as ACEA Chief Executive Megan Motto points out in the ACEA Budget media release, “Long term planning for rail infrastructure that links the major cities along the eastern seaboard would not only help to unlock critical supply chains through freight transfer, but would reduce Australia’s reliance on already congested air routes, and facilitate major improvements in our Carbon emissions.” The ACEA welcomes $64.6 million for streamlined energy efficiency measures. Assisting the building sector to increase energy efficiency in both residential and commercial

buildings will have a significant effect of our ability to achieve our GHG abatement targets. The ACEA is disappointed, however, that more has not been done to incentivise private sector infrastructure investment. Green depreciation is one way the Government could have achieved the twin goals of making private sector investment in commercial buildings more attractive, as well as increasing the energy efficiency of both new and existing stock. The extension to the Home Owners Boost is a welcome initiative to stimulate housing activity and support jobs in the building sector. The ACEA is pleased with the Government’s introduction of a paid parental leave scheme. It is pleasing to see that workforce participation, especially female, is high on the Federal Government’s agenda. For some time now, the ACEA has been calling for workforce participation to be further encouraged through a total fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption on salary sacrificing on child care, regardless of where the facility is located. The ACEA is disappointed that such a substantial constraint on workforce participation, especially female, has been allowed to continue. The ACEA hopes that the FBT will be removed from all salary sacrificing on child care as part of the reform implemented from the review of Australia’s Future Tax System. The ACEA is pleased with the additional value that will become available to firms investing in R&D. The move to a tax credit will certainly benefit smaller start up firms that engage in innovative activities. Matthew King WINTER 09 National Outlook


acea national conference amora hotel jamison sydney 19 - 20 march 2009 ACEA’s recent conference “Thriving in a Risky World” received rave reviews from attendees, speakers and sponsors alike. This was ACEA’s first conference in 15 years and featured presentations from industry experts from a range of fields, along with interactive panel sessions and networking events.


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Day 1 Members and guests were able to hear the client’s view first hand from Daniel Grollo, CEO of Australia’s largest privately owned development and construction company, Grocon, closely followed by a consultants overview of the industry, provided first hand by Tony Barry, past ACEA President and Chief Operating Officer of Aurecon (prev. Connell Wagner). Day 1 closed with a gala dinner featuring entertainment from comedic group, the Three Waiters, followed by an honest down to earth chat from ex Wallaby and bestselling author, Peter Fitzsimons.

we gratefully thank the conference sponsors principal sponsor

gold sponsor

silver sponsors

Day 2 started out with a presentation on attracting and retaining talent and managing generational differences in the workplace from world renowned business and HR advisor Avril Henry. Close of day 2 and the conference was wrapped up by successful businessman and world class medal winning athlete Tony Christiansen, who left the attendees feeling inspired to conquer all of life’s challenges. To all our sponsors, speakers, members, attendees and staff who made our first conference in 15 years a huge success... THANK YOU, we couldn’t have done it without you! We look forward to welcoming everyone to the 2010 conference which will be held 1 – 2 April 2010.

programme sponsor

compendium sponsor

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pi pathway sponsors

WINTER 09 National Outlook


Survey-Accurate Data from High Resolution Digital Aerial Photography Quick Cost-Effective Safe Non-Disruptive Unobtrusive Flexible 3D Vector Data DEM of terrain Remotely captured digital image data from 25mm resolution aerial survey Vertical Accuracy: 30mm (at 2Ďƒ on hard surfaces) Horizontal Accuracy: +/- 20mm RMSE


AEROmetrex Pty Ltd 413 Magill Road, St Morris, South Australia 5068 Telephone (08) 8361 3111 Fax (08) 8332 3590 Email: Web:

A stunning new application of large-format digital aerial imagery is providing great cost and time efficiencies for engineering design projects. The company leading this charge with its 90-megapixel Vexcel Ultracam camera is Aerometrex, based in Adelaide. Aerial photography has been recognised as a planning tool for engineering projects during the last 40 years or more. Apart from the information content of the photograph itself, the ability to derive 3-dimensional data by photogrammetry makes an aerial survey an important first step for the planning phase of a project. However the advent of new digital aerial cameras means that data of survey accuracy for design engineering applications can be captured from aerial surveys. It is now possible to capture imagery with unprecedented resolution of 2.5cm pixel size (also known as ground sample distance or GSD). Together with a network of ground control points, this imagery is being

used to capture 3-dimensional data to traditional survey accuracies of 30mm in X, Y or Z, to the 2-sigma or 95% confidence interval, at a scale of 1:250. The data can include 3D vectors of any linear feature, point data, and surfaces such as the natural or built terrain or building roofs and outlines. Cross-sections can be generated from data strings captured using photogrammetric methods, and these datasets can be imported directly into design software packages. The advantages of this approach are many. An aerial survey is very quick, acquiring massive amounts of information in a short time frame. It is comparatively inexpensive compared

to ground surveying methods. It completely bypasses the safety issues for ground staff and disruption caused to existing traffic on road and rail projects. It is very unobtrusive, a strong selling point in projects that have political overtones. And the quantity of imagery captured usually means that projects can be re-aligned or extended without having to revisit the site.

For further information contact: Aerometrex on 08 8361 3111 or Mark Deuter or Robert Rusk

WINTER 09 National Outlook



INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT AND EDUCATION SECTOR COLLABORATION – POSITIONING OUR INDUSTRY FOR SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE UNLOCKING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE CONSULTING ENGINEERING SECTOR CAN BE ACHIEVED THROUGH STRENGTHENING TIES BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND THE EDUCATION SECTOR, AND CLEARLY ARTICULATING TO GOVERNMENT WHAT MEASURES AND SUPPORT ARE NEEDED. IT IS CLEAR THAT AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE STRENGTH WILL DEPEND ON THE SKILLS OF ITS PEOPLE. EDUCATION PROVIDES THOSE SKILLS, INDUSTRY EMPLOYS AND ACTIVATES THEM AND GOVERNMENTS MUST ACT TO SUPPORT INDUSTRY AND THE EDUCATION SECTOR IF THE NATION IS TO PROSPER ONCE MORE. Whether you believe the economic downturn will upswing at any minute, or that a deep recession looms, human capital is still Australia’s number one asset and required to strengthen and drive the economy back to better times. Investing in education and training both by organisations and individuals will provide the long term boost for future careers and productivity. Increasing productivity and driving economic growth can be delivered by an education sector with support from industry, which in turn produces skilled people who are ready to tackle challenges and create new opportunities. Without a system that is accessible and responsive the nation has little hope of achieving its many ambitious plans. During the past five years or so we have seen a combination of the resources boom and a failure to invest in education and training create widespread skill shortages across the economy. The consulting engineering industry has felt the brunt of the shortage, and now although some pockets of industry and firms are experiencing difficultly, there remains the ever present need to invest in the skills and training of Australian engineers due to the Government’s attempts to stimulate the economy through infrastructure investment. The latest Hays Quarterly Report found that the ongoing infrastructure requirements and expansion plans have created a hotspot of demand within the electrical engineering market, particularly controls and instrumentation. Interestingly the report also found that surging gold prices have created an increased demand for mining engineers and geologists. The ACEA are also in the process of conducting our annual Skills Survey to gauge the views of Australia’s consulting engineering firms relating to skills needs and issues. Anecdotal evidence


National Outlook WINTER 09

suggests that engineers with the capacity and capability to conduct energy audits, company carbon audits and assessments, and related consulting work are scarce. The impact that this will have on both the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the proposed Mandatory Energy Efficiency Disclosure Scheme for Commercial Buildings may prove to be devastating. Without these skills in sufficient numbers Australia will be unable to position itself towards economic recovery and towards a low carbon future. One problem which exists, and is difficult to address is that any response through higher education is undoubtedly slow due to the four or five years its takes to obtain an engineering qualification, and then the training period which follows. This is why it is imperative that Australian industry, in concert with the higher

education sector and the Government begin considering how to best forecast the nation’s needs now. There is significant scope for these ties to be strengthened over the coming months to better understand and determine how all parties can contribute to achieving the desired outcomes. There exist glimmers of hope already, with a number of the country’s universities working more closely with industry through formal arrangements to ensure students have the capabilities required to obtain employment and make a meaningful contribution to industry soon after they graduate. The ACEA will continue to support these types of partnerships and in addition will act as the conduit between industry and Government to convey the types of policy shifts required. Caroline Ostrowski



Become a special award or a project category sponsor and have your organisation recognised as a major partner. The ACEA Awards for Excellence is a magnificent way to celebrate the end of year with a showcase of outstanding Australian engineering projects at its very best. The awards will cover a broad range of engineering and related disciplines, which are well represented by small, medium and large consulting firms. For further enquiries and information please contact: Benjamin Jung Business Relationship Manager Phone: (02) 9922 4711 Email:

Temporary Humidity Control

Since the 1940’s Munters intellectual property, technology and industry leading expertise has helped some of the world’s highest profile organisations effectively manage humidity and climate control problems.

Whether it is to provide a temporary environment for pharmaceutical trials, to prevent corrosion in high humidity areas such as dry-docks, dry concrete prior to floor application, better protect high value artefacts or negate the effects of seasonal variances in humidity on production floors; our Temporary Humidity Control solutions deliver cost effective, timely and controlled environments to ensure business continuity, manage risk and maintain the right atmosphere.

Contact David Dawson 0432 321 000 Munters Pty. Ltd. T. (02) 8843 1500 F. (02) 8843 1510 1800 800 849

Munters Rental With a network of depots throughout Australia, Munters can deliver state of the art desiccant dehumidification, heating & cooling rental equipment for short-term or long-term climate control to any location throughout Australasia. Our technical expertise gives you the added advantage of knowing that our specialist technicians will advise you on your requirements and timeframes ensuring you only rent the equipment you need for as long as you need it. Our technicians will also install, set and monitor the equipment throughout the duration of the project giving you the reassurance you need to know that the job will be completed efficiently and cost-effectively. Whatever the application – construction, pharmaceutical, food and beverages, specialist coatings, chiller rental, petrochemical, shipping and aircraft, we are the specialists in climate control. For further information please call us today.

Munters is the world leader in climate control. Munters temporary climate control customers include shipyards, industrial companies, insurance companies and construction and engineering firms. With our techniques, expertise and around the clock service, we offer cost-effective, reliable solutions for all types of moisture and temperature related problems within manufacturing, maintenance and construction. Prevention of problems and damage caused by uncontrolled moisture and temperature can mean the difference between profit and loss for many industries and companies. Our knowledge about climate control increases the quality of production processes, storage and maintenance, minimises problems and losses related to water damages and prevents costly corrosion in conjunction with surface preparation of steel constructions. EXTRA ENVIRONMENTAL CAPACITY WHEN NEEDED Munters techniques and expertise assure quality and help ensure that daily operations run smoothly for companies, industrial and non-industrial alike. One

example is the food industry, where production demands constant atmospheric humidity and temperature control. We provide the expertise and the equipment needed to meet requirements for the right environment and uninterrupted operations. Power plants call on Munters for help in conjunction with renovation and inspection. When production is shut down, condensation forms in the turbines, which can result in a risk of corrosion. Munters fans and dehumidifiers efficiently remove the moisture from the steam system and the generator housing during renovation. Construction and engineering companies get help from Munters with several

different types of moisture problems. Fast and efficient drying of new constructions guarantees a good environment regardless of the project duration. Drying constructions in conjunction with surface preparation is another crucial step in the process. Corrosion-free surface preparation is extremely important for the manufacturing, ship building and petrochemical industries. We have offered solutions to these industries for many years. Our solutions, based on a combination of technique and experience, make it possible to carry out planned, efficient surface preparation year round and with good, long-lasting results.



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A REVOLUTION IN VENTILATION Edmonds, the world leader in turbine ventilator technology, proudly introduces the ecopower range of ventilators, now including the ecopower EP900. These ventilators are the worlds first true hybrid ventilators that will work in all conditions, even when there is no wind. They provide peak performance with remarkably low energy consumption. ®


Rates determined for the following parameters: o • Stack height = 3m • Temperature difference 10 C • Flow rates calculated according to AS4740

Effective ventilation is important for all workplaces to provide suitable comfort and air quality conditions. Natural ventilators have performed this function for nearly 80 years. However they lack reliability due to their dependence on favourable environmental conditions. These natural ventilators also have performance limitations; e.g. they cannot increase ventilation rates to meet peak needs. ecopower ® is the next generation in reliable, high performance, energy efficient ventilation. This Australian patented invention combines German electronic commutating (EC) motor technology with Edmonds’ world renowned Hurricane ventilator design. The motor is mounted in a direct drive configuration, with the bearing system of the motor acting as the bearing for the ventilator. This radical design concept allows the ventilator to be driven by wind only, or by wind and electric power simultaneously. ecopower has demonstrated a greater ability to extract heat than conventional natural ventilators. ®

Key benefits of the ecopower ® are: ● Can be controlled by various means; e.g. temperature, time, wind speed, humidity, gas concentration etc.; ● Has no ‘fan and motor assembly’ in the throat. Without this obstruction, flow rates can be increased by around 40% in wind driven mode; ● Has low noise levels, less than 50dB(A) at 3m, which offers very quiet operation; ● Even the high performance EP900 only weighs 30kg, making the whole range easy to handle and install; ● Uses 240VAC single phase power, which means no significant electrical rework or new power supply. The ecopower ® offers extraordinary electrical energy efficiency, which, when coupled with the high performance and low noise, makes it an ideal choice of ventilator for a wide range of applications.

Rates determined for the following parameters: • Stack height = 3m • Wind Speed = 10.8km/h o • Varying temperature difference (range 3–15 C) • Flow rates calculated according to AS4740

For further information contact Edmonds on: Phone: 1300 858 674 Fax: 1300 852 674 Email: Web:

ecopower ® Model

EP400 EP600 EP900

Maximum Exhaust 3 Rate m /hr 2400 4280 10000

Power (W) 68 116 260


Specific Flow 3 Rate m /hr/W 38 41 46

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR COPY OF NATIONAL OUTLOOK MAGAZINE National Outlook is ACEA’s quarterly print publication. Subject areas covered in National Outlook include a broad spectrum of industry issues relevant to the Consulting Engineering and related service industries and ACEA activities and services







National Outlook WINTER 09

ACEA Education Offerings

The only comprehensive training on Safety in Design in Australia. Develop strong Safety in Design credentials to ensure compliancy and raise your competitive edge Know your obligations and responsibilities under the OHS Act Gain knowledge and experience in hazard identification and risk management techniques Devise and plan workplace procedures which demonstrate that OHS design issues have been addressed Incorporate Safety in Design documentation and procedures into your Safe Management Systems.

This course has been designed with one purpose in mind – to keep your business safe. It is time to pull those contracts out of the bottom drawer and really have a look at what you’ve signed. Have you inadvertently agreed to unlimited liability? Are there clauses which your insurance won’t respond to? What are the risks to your business? Which terms leave you most vulnerable to litigation? Which terms leave you uninsured? How can you establish an effective business relationship with your client that is also legally sound? What are the lawyers really saying?

For more information or to register please contact Daniel Condon at the ACEA National Office, or visit

WINTER 09 National Outlook


ECONOMICS & TAXATION Matthew King is a Policy Officer for the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. Matthew represents the members interests in the areas of International Trade, along with Economics and Taxation. Matthew can be contacted at

FRINGE BENEFITS TAX ON CHILD CARE - IS ANYONE ACCESSING THE EXEMPTION? THE PRESENT FRINGE BENEFITS TAX (FBT) EXEMPTION ON CHILD CARE IS AN IMPERFECT EXEMPTION. NEVERTHELESS, IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO TRIGGER A BOOST IN WORKFORCE PARTICIPATION TO LEVELS NOT SEEN. At present, employer-sponsored childcare is exempt from FBT, where the facility is owned by the firm and unquestionably located on the business premises. This means that employers are entitled to grant their staff the option of salary sacrificing child care fees, by which employees forgo part of their salary and employers pay the child care fees. However, for those employers offering salary sacrificing on child care at a facility not located on the business premises, they are subject to a FBT penalty of 46.5 per cent of the value of the benefit provided. The initial reasoning behind the Federal Government’s introduction of the exemption was to encourage employers to engage sustainable solutions to their employees child care needs. This would assist not only employees but also act as a positive step forward in the Government’s objectives for increasing the participation, particularly of women, in the workforce. A range of factors influence a woman’s decision to seek employment through life cycle stages as well as the type of job she would consider. An undoubted factor is the availability of suitable child care and suitable work. In the case of the consulting engineering industry, a substantial proportion of female employees disappear off the payroll through their child bearing and mothering years. The problem is intensified by the fact that female engineers currently represent less than 7% of the engineering workforce in Australia. The ACEA believes that the Federal Government should approach salary sacrificing on child care in the same way that it approaches salary sacrificing on vehicles, superannuation and mobile phones; none of which require a business premises test or indeed any other test except that they are work related. The ACEA contends that FBT should be removed from all child care, so that all or any child care provision made by employers to assist employees is exempt, inclusive of salary sacrificing arrangements for child care. 38

National Outlook WINTER 09

At present, the take-up of the exemption on FBT on child care is marginal. A Department of Family and Community Services and Department of Employment and Workplace Relations review in 2000 found that there were only 65 employersponsored child care centres nationwide. Deloitte, in a submission to the Federal Treasurer in 2005, stated that: “From our own survey in 2005 of 599 employers with a total workforce of over 300,000 employees, less than ten employers provided a facility that qualified for this exemption”. Clearly, the data suggests that there are very few employers offering salary sacrificing on child care. The ACEA believes the business premises limitation of the exemption, combined with the interpretative difficulties around critical legislative definitions; is preventing employers from engaging in salary sacrificing on child care. Furthermore, clearly small businesses cannot take advantage of such exemptions. Neither can employees who prefer other child care arrangements, such as family day care or nannies. The ACEA asserts that the following are the key problems surrounding the current narrow exemption: the enormous cost of establishing and maintaining a child care facility the present ambiguity surrounding interpretation of the legislation off-site campuses and offices are disadvantaged under the current legislation certain industries, such as consulting engineering, do not have a critical mass of women government departments are at an unfair advantage regional and rural based workplaces are at a disadvantage many business premises and related areas are inappropriate places to have a child care facility cooperative travel arrangements are unlikely to arise as independent child care facilities close to home are more conducive. Clearly, the exemption at present is having little, if any, impact on the intention of encouraging employers to participate in

solutions to their employees’ child care needs therein, having little effect on the objective of increased workforce participation. The ACEA has now delivered submissions to the Government recommending the implementation of a total FBT exemption on child care, and we are proactively pursuing this issue with the relevant ministers. It is our view that a complete exemption is necessary in an effort to more effectively relieve capacity problems and attract more women into the workforce. It is likely to incentivise employers to salary package child care, which would expectedly improve their capacity to attract and retain staff. In addition to this, small to medium enterprise, as well as certain industry sectors, will no longer be disadvantaged. It is important to consider this recommendation in the context of the Federal Government’s recent announcement in the 2009/10 Budget that it will introduce a paid parental leave scheme. From January 2011, the Government will introduce an 18 week Commonwealthfunded minimum-wage scheme. For some time now, the ACEA has been calling for workforce participation to be encouraged through a total FBT exemption on salary sacrificing on child care, regardless of where the facility is located. The ACEA is disappointed with the Government’s budget decision to allow such a substantial constraint on workforce participation, especially female, to continue. The association believes that a total exemption would be complimentary to the Government’s paid parental leave scheme. Workforce participation, particularly female, would be encouraged in the early months of a child’s development, and then continuing on into the early years of growth. While it is pleasing to see that workforce participation, especially female, is high on the Federal Government’s agenda, the ACEA was disappointed that no reform was implemented with regard to FBT on child care. The ACEA hopes that the FBT will be removed from all salary sacrificing on child care as part of the reform implemented from the review of Australia’s Future Tax System. Matthew King

air2energy for Heat & Energy Recovery Ventilation air2energy specialize in the provision of Energy & Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems for all residential, commercial and industrial applications. Typical applications include; Manufacturing Plants, Large Residential, Gymnasiums, Shopping Centres, Auditoriums, Retail Stores, Schools, Hotels/Motels, Medical Clinics, Dental Clinics, Veterinary Clinics, Office Buildings, Indoor Swimming Pools and Aged Care facilities. air2energy are the Australasian distributors of the Venmar CES range of Heat and Energy Recovery Ventilators as well as supplying Enthalpy Wheels, Flat Plate Exchangers (both sensible and sensible/latent) and Heat Pipe for new or existing HVAC applications. air2energy provides the Xven product range of Heat & Energy Recovery Ventilators, which include a low profile product range especially designed for cavity ceiling applications such as multi storey residential apartments.

Both Venmar CES and Xven are active participants in the ISO standards association for HVAC technologies. All Venmar CES equipment is certified through the ARI (Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute of Nth. America) Certification program which ensures HVAC products perform as rated. Xven equipment is certified through the South Korean Government to again ensure performance is guaranteed. Venmar CES and Xven equipment will both satisfy Ventilation Requirements of section J – of the Building Codes of Australia and Green Star accreditation projects. air2energy offer expert advice, proven solutions and a comprehensive product range for all applications. For more information go to

Energy & Heat Exchangers for Industrial, Commercial & Residential

air2energy-Engineers-Adv.indd 1

11/05/09 7:02 AM


CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY FORECAST FOR 2009 CONSTRUCTION DEMAND CONTINUES TO BE HAMPERED BY TIGHT CONDITIONS IN CREDIT MARKETS AND LOW MARKET CONFIDENCE. EVIDENCE FOR THIS HAS BEEN SHOWN THROUGH AN OVERALL DETERIORATION IN ACTIVITY ACROSS ALL MAJOR CONSTRUCTION SECTORS, AS FIRMS FACE INTENSIFYING COMPETITION FOR CONTRACTS. THERE ARE INCREASING REPORTS OF PROJECT DELAYS AND DEFERRALS, PARTICULARLY IN THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR. The Australian Industry Group – Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI) registered 29.5 in February, down by 4.6 points and remaining below the 50.0 point level separating expansion from contraction for the twelfth consecutive month. From observing the major drivers of consulting engineering activity, it’s clear the deterioration is most evident in non-residential building activity. The Construction Forecasting Council (CFC) has allayed the apprehension in the short-term outlook through the release of its March 2009 forecasts for construction activity. The latest forecasts can be found at, however here’s a concise overview: NON-RESIDENTIAL BUILDING Non-residential building activity is expected to fall sharply as the recession forces local business to put expansion plans on hold. The sectors most affected have been offices, retail and industrial. Developers will continue to face difficulty in obtaining credit thanks to the global financial crisis, however credit markets are expected to normalise later in 2009. What’s most concerning is that there is no forecast strong recovery for another 2 years at least.

5.4% on the September quarter. However, it is forecast to fall sharply in 2010 and subsequent years as current major projects are completed and no new projects replace them. Despite the present financial crisis, the full impact of

HOW CONFIDENT ARE ACEA FIRMS IN THE PRESENT CLIMATE? THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RESULTS OF THE MARCH QUARTER ACEA/ ACCI SURVEY OF INVESTOR CONFIDENCE CERTAINLY PRODUCED SOME FASCINATING OUTCOMES. THE SURVEY WAS DESIGNED TO ENCAPSULATE FIRMS’ CONFIDENCE ACROSS A HOST OF INDICATORS IN THE MIDST OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE AND A SEA OF NEGATIVE RHETORIC FROM THE MEDIA EAGER FOR DIRE ECONOMIC NEWS. ABS data released in March of this year indicated that GDP decreased by 0.5% in the December quarter. Most economists would suggest that the March quarter will produce a similar contraction, if not, worse. It was no surprise to see aspects of the ACEA/ACCI Survey of Investor Confidence reflect the gloomy climate, with 41.9% of respondents describing present business conditions in Australia as ‘poor’. However, not every outcome of the Survey was so predictable. It’s no secret that the global financial crisis has hit Australian credit markets, with the formerly-broad opportunities to borrow from financial institutions under painless lending criteria now a thing of the past. However, the March quarter survey did

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING Residential building activity is set to fall in 2008/09 due to low consumer confidence and poor availability of credit for commercial developers. Approvals slumped in the December quarter 2008, down 15.8% on the September quarter. As unemployment rises, this will reduce households’ capacity to service mortgages and therefore depress the residential market. Pent-up demand is set to drive a strong recovery commencing in 2010/11. ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION Activity is set to remain strong due a pipeline of existing projects. The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released Engineering Construction Activity for the December quarter 2008, and the value of work done rose by 40

National Outlook WINTER 09

the economic downturn is unlikely to be felt in this sector until 2010/11 due to long project lags. The fall in activity is expected to be somewhere in the vicinity of 17% for 2010/11. Matthew King

nsulting Outlook for Co2009... g in er ne gi En on the t Don’t miss ou port! ACEA’s 2009 re Now available.

not correspond with the highly publicised crunch in credit markets. 64.5% of firms indicated that changes in bank lending criteria in the last six months have had ‘no impact’ on capital expenditure plans for 2009/10. In addition to this, 96.8% of survey respondents stated that changes in bank lending criteria in the last six months have had ‘no impact’ on working capital. As recessionary conditions force local businesses across most industries to put expansion plans on hold, it seems consulting engineering firms may not be subjected to the same level of shelving of expansion plans. Treasury’s forecast for the unemployment rate, according to its Updated Economic and Fiscal Outlook, is 7% by June 2010. Unsurprisingly, full-time employees are set to be hardest hit as working hours are reduced to align with a fall in overall activity. The ABS reported that for February 2009 the number of full-time employment decreased by 53,800 to 7,664,200 and parttime employment increased by 55,600 to 3,146,200. Interestingly however, this result is in contrast to indications of the expected level of full-time employment in ACEA member firms. According to the Survey of Investor Confidence, 58.1% of ACEA member firms expect the number of full time employees in their business to be ‘about the same’ over the next six months. While a minority of engineering firms might expect the level to decrease, it seems that net employment across the consulting engineering industry may not be so swayed by the recessionary forces as seen in other industry sectors. Matthew King



- HOW IT’S UNFOLDING FOR CONSULTING ENGINEERS UPGRADES TO ALL AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS Essentially, the sole component of the Federal Government’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan likely to be influential to the level of activity across the consulting engineering industry is the construction of new facilities and refurbishments in Australian schools. Given the uniquely demanding contractual terms of defence housing contracts and Defence Housing Australia’s preferred supplier arrangements, the defence housing component of the Plan is unlikely to stimulate the consulting engineering sector. Initiatives in the area of social housing and national roads contained within the Stimulus Package are only expected to source a small amount of activity, and therefore the key area of interest to the overall consulting engineering industry is the school upgrades. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING IN SCHOOLS? The Rudd Government will deliver a $14.7 billion boost to schools over the next three financial years. The Building the Education Revolution (BER) will commence in June of this year and provide new facilities and refurbishments. All of Australia’s 9,540 schools will benefit from the immediate funding for major and minor infrastructure projects. The program builds on the Rudd Government’s commitment to all Australian schools by targeting primary and secondary school infrastructure requirements in both the Government and non-Government sectors. The three key elements of the BER are: 1. Schools – $12.4 billion to build or refurbish large scale infrastructure in primary schools, K-12s and special schools, including libraries and multipurpose halls. 2. Science and Language Centres for Secondary Schools – $1 billion to build up to 500 science laboratories or language learning centres in secondary schools. 3. National School Pride Program – $1.3 billion to refurbish and renew existing infrastructure and build minor infrastructure in all schools. WHO DECIDES WHAT IS BUILT? In early February 2009, the Australian Government met with states, territories and Block Grant Authorities (BGA’s) to outline the initiative and commence implementation. It was concluded that each state, territory and BGA will be responsible for seeking project proposals from their schools, which will incorporate views of Parents & Friends and Parents & Citizens groups. These proposals will be assessed against the guidelines and criteria

set by the Commonwealth. The states will convene assessment panels to assess proposals or develop other approaches to prioritise infrastructure projects, and prepare project lists for approval by the Commonwealth. CONSIDERATIONS IN THE RAPID INSTALMENT Whilst the ACEA is supportive of a Stimulus Package containing infrastructure investment, the ACEA has raised concerns about the speed of delivery on infrastructure projects proposed by the Government and the prospective capacity constraints. Concern also resides over the reported use of model design templates for new buildings and contractual issues, such as inappropriate risk allocation. Furthermore, the foundations (geotechnical/ surveying), and actually getting the building on the site; are critical issues that require careful planning and implementation. In response to these concerns, the ACEA has proactively conveyed a constructive and cooperative message to Prime Minister Rudd and other Government officials. This has been followed up by a program of action to proactively assist the various Governments in the sustainable rollout of new infrastructure projects across the country. An ACEA communiqué has now been released to its entire membership identifying the ACEA’s position on the Plan and conveying a broad spectrum of support and advice mechanisms available to its member firms. In the midst of an unprecedented streamlining of development processes, the ACEA has also suggested that standardised terms of contract based on the ACEA Contract or the newly published AS4904 (D&C Consultants Agreement) or AS4122, could act as an effective means of achieving a more rapid rollout of school upgrading as this

would reduce the potential for protracted contract negotiations. It could also go a long way toward achieving more successful project outcomes in shorter timeframes. The ACEA has also proactively sought to meet with National Coordinator-General, Mike Mrdak and also meetings with each individual state and territory infrastructure coordinator responsible for overseeing the rollout of the plan across their respective jurisdiction through the ACEA Divisions. Overall, the ACEA has sought to convey to governments that they must ensure the rollout of projects occurs quickly to achieve the desired multiplier effect on the economy, however in careful consideration of the implications on key industry sectors such as consulting engineering. FURTHER INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT In a recent ACEA member survey, 90.3% of respondents indicated that if the Federal Government were to provide further stimulus to the broader economy in the 2009/10 Federal Budget then infrastructure investment would be the preferred measure. The $20 billion Building Australia Fund (BAF) is the key Commonwealth initiative to boost economic growth prospects through infrastructure expenditure. However, some concern remains that the fund may not be at a level to support the initial commitment of $20 billion. One must not forget that part of the total funding, approximately $4 billion, will be committed to the outlay of the National Broadband Network. The question on the lips of consulting engineers is, when will the additional activity really flow through to balance sheets? Some suggest not until early 2010. Matthew King

Overall, the ACEA has sought to convey to governments that they must ensure the rollout of projects occurs quickly to achieve the desired multiplier effect on the economy, however in careful consideration of the implications on key industry sectors such as consulting engineering.

WINTER 09 National Outlook



WATER... IS IT THE NEW MINING BOOM? WATER-BASED INFRASTRUCTURE IS RAPIDLY GAINING STATUS AS A KEY DRIVER OF ACTIVITY AND EMPLOYMENT FOR THE CONSULTING ENGINEERING INDUSTRY. NOT TO MENTION THAT WATER IS NOW THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE ON THE PUBLIC AGENDA AS CLIMATE CHANGE BEGINS TO AFFECT COMMUNITIES ACROSS AUSTRALIA. Fortunately, despite highly publicised privatesector constraints in securing finance, many major infrastructure projects in the area of water appear to be going ahead. We now have a situation where there is likely to be a shortage of engineers specialising in waterbased infrastructure in the very near future, and one State that is sure to be a central point of focus in this is Victoria. In mid-2008, Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation, Barwon Water, released details of record capital works expenditure of more than $600 million over the next five years. The infrastructure instalment will focus on water supply security, system improvements, recycling, and new water and sewerage initiatives to meet regional development needs. Other key Victorian projects include the interconnection between Geelong and the Victorian water grid and desalination plant, and the fast-tracked new multi-million dollar recycled water plant at the Black Rock environmental precinct.

While many billion-dollar projects across the country will be unable to secure sufficient funding to proceed in the current climate, South Australia is showing the country one way around the problem – finance the project entirely with tax-payer dollars. The South Australian Government has now progressed to the appointment of an Independent Verifier on the design and construction of the $1.4 billion Adelaide Desalination Plant. Located 20km south of Adelaide at Port Stanvac, the desalination plant will initially provide 50GL of potable water per year to the capital city, with the potential to expand to 100GL per year with further upgrades. Given the economic downturn over the last six months, consulting engineering firms now need to focus on ensuring their businesses remain viable. This can be achieved through

diversification where necessary. Where firms have in the past relied on the mining boom to generate a substantial proportion of activity, the industry now finds itself in a position where it will have to pursue alternative growth areas. This diversification is required in the midst of an escalating level of activity in water. Queensland looks like it too will be a strong contributor. With an ever-growing population and ever-decreasing sources of fresh water, the Queensland Government has embarked on the development of the $9 billion South East Queensland Water Grid. The project is comprised of the laying of more than 450km of pipeline, adding two new dams, upgrading two existing damns, building a desalination plant and constructing three advanced water treatment plants. Matthew King

Call for ProPosals

stormwater Harvesting & reuse Projects A special call for Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse projects has recently been made under the $1 billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. $200 million has been made available to support stormwater harvesting projects that will reduce the demand on potable water supplies. This special call forms part of the Government’s $12.9 billion Water for the Future plan to secure the long-term water supplies of all Australians.

The minimum project size is $4 million (eligible for funding of $2 million), with funding capped at $20 million per project.

Who is eligible to apply? The Government is looking to work with state, territory and local governments, public water utilities and private companies. National Outlook WINTER 09 42 How much project funding is available? Project funding is capped at 50 per cent of eligible capital costs.

To find out if you are eligible to apply, visit water/programs/urban/stormwater-harvesting.html and download a copy of the guidelines.

When are proposals due? Two funding rounds will be held, with the first round closing on 30 June 2009 and the second round closing on 11 December 2009.

If you require further information email; or telephone 1800 218 478. hmaC097978

skills & resources Caroline Ostrowski is a Policy Officer for the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. Caroline represents the needs and interests of ACEA member firms across the Skills and Sustainability business portfolios. Caroline can be reached at

RAISING EDUCATION LEVELS TO ENHANCE NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY THE BRADLEY REVIEW OF HIGHER EDUCATION HAS SET THE SCENE FOR A MAJOR EXPANSION IN DOMESTIC HIGHER EDUCATION TRAINING IN AUSTRALIA. THE REVIEW HAS CALLED FOR A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE PARTICIPATION RATES OF UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS AND AN INCREASE IN THE SHARE OF 25 TO 34 YEAR-OLDS HOLDING A BACHELOR DEGREE OR ABOVE FROM 29 PER CENT IN 2006 TO 40 PER CENT BY 2020. AUSTRALIA IS IN DESPERATE NEED OF ENGINEERS, THIS SEEMS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO CLAIM OUR SHARE. In order to recover from the economic downturn, Australia will need an increased number of engineers. Engineers are needed to drive the Australian economy towards more prosperous times through helping deliver the Governments infrastructure stimulus package, and will be needed in expanded numbers in the coming months and years to fill the increasing opportunities presented by Australia’s intended transition to a low pollution economy. To help Australia better plan for this future, the ACEA commends the Commonwealth Government for expanding the ambit of

Skills Australia to encompass the full scope of Australia’s labour market needs. Skills Australia will now give advice to the Commonwealth about the effectiveness of both the university and VET systems in meeting the broad range of Australia’s skill needs. There have been reports claiming for some time now that in Australia there looms the retirement of approximately 70,000 engineers in the coming years. This massive loss will deplete the already small cohort of engineers in Australia, and the stagnant growth of yearly graduate numbers will not be able to make up the difference.

To help Australia better plan for this future, the ACEA commends the Commonwealth Government for expanding the ambit of Skills Australia to encompass the full scope of Australia’s labour market needs. Skills Australia will now give advice to the Commonwealth about the effectiveness of both the university and VET systems in meeting the broad range of Australia’s skill needs.

The ACEA view that there is the opportunity through supporting greater equity in our higher education system to obtain the highlevel knowledge and skills that Australia needs to continue to grow and compete with the most successful economies of the world. In the first half of 2008, engineering and related technologies enrolments were only up 0.4 per cent, now is the time to work together to increase graduate numbers. In concert with APESMA and Engineers Australia, the ACEA are working to increase the number of engineers through increasing equity in engineering education. By taking steps to identify and implement measures through which students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, students from indigenous Australian backgrounds and females can more frequently participate in engineering education. The under-represented groups in higher education also include those from remote parts of Australia and those from regional locations. In order to assist these potential students to access engineering education the ACEA have been working with Open Universities to create a distance mode, part time engineering degree. The part-time component will capture those people in the industry or in other industries who would like to upgrade or change degrees. Strengthening human capital is the key to continuing Australia’s economic and social progress. Increasing the number of engineers available to contribute to the Australian economy will be one of the ACEA’s primary aims this year. We intend to achieve this by working with all sectors of education from primary and secondary school education, the National Curriculum Board, and through partnerships with the higher education community as well as our industry colleagues. Caroline Ostrowski

WINTER 09 National Outlook


skills & resources

DO ENGINEERS MAKE GOOD LEADERS? ENGINEERS AS LEADERS? THIS IS AN INTERESTING QUESTION: SO LET’S GET A FEW FACTS, AND SOME OPINIONS, ON THE TABLE, IN THE INTERESTS OF PROMOTING BETTER ENGINEERING, BETTER MANAGEMENT AND BETTER LEADERSHIP IN THE CONSULTING ENGINEERING INDUSTRY AND THE CONSTRUCTION/BUILT ENVIRONMENT SECTOR. like and be liked by groups of people, being comfortable with public speaking, being able to sell and market ideas, services and your company to all sorts of stakeholders. Some engineers have a natural inclination towards these things, some don’t. Some engineers are good at thinking abstractly, good with the ‘big picture’ of strategic issues, and some are better at vertical rather than lateral thinking and can focus well on detail. My interest in this subject stems from having worked directly with about 2000 engineers in various ways over the past 25 years, principally in the ACEA Strategic Leadership program (see opposite page) that we have run every year since 1986. It is important to note that not all people have the potential to be great leaders or managers. Some people have natural management skills but are not suited to leadership roles within their organisations. People are often promoted to management and leadership positions because of their outstanding technical ability, however this does not always correlate to them having good management and leadership skills. This is a challenge faced by businesses across the globe and must be considered by Engineering practices. A couple of questions merit exploration at this point, namely: 1. Are great leaders born or made, and 2. What is the difference between leadership and management? On the first question above, there is clearly observable predisposition towards leadership roles and activities in children and adolescents, so I think it is partly ‘born’, but only a little bit. Much more importantly, it is the case that whatever talents and predisposition we were each born with, there is much we can do to learn and develop management skills and leadership capabilities. On the question of leadership versus management, we usually consider management to be more a set of administrative, supervisory, control and coordination-related activities. Leadership on the other hand, usually involves setting a vision, turning vision into strategy, then being able to use inspirational communication capabilities to convince others to align with your vision and strategy and implement them with you. So why are some but not all engineers suited for managerial or leadership roles? Leadership requires being able to relate comfortably and naturally to people of all types, being able to 44

National Outlook WINTER 09

However if there is a capability gap between what you aspire to achieve, and what you can do with your existing skills and knowledge, then perhaps its time for some further education, perhaps in leadership and management. For consulting engineering companies, where is the most scope for performance improvement? Is it in doing its engineering work better, or in improving its leadership and business practices? While improvement in technical capability is important, most consulting engineers and their clients already assume technical competence, while technical ‘brilliance’ wins orders or commands price premiums in particular market niches. However for all firms, in mainstream design and construction, and in specialised areas,

there is great scope and great benefit that comes from improving business practices, including marketing/sales, strategy formulation and implementation, decision making, performance management and motivation of all staff. And the good news is that it is possible to plan and implement investments on taking both the technical capability and the leadership/management capability forward. Finally, an important note: I propose that even for engineers who are in charge of themselves only, meaning that nobody ‘reports’ to them, there is still a critically important leadership role, of ‘self leadership’. This means systematically exhibiting a set of behaviours, of setting your own personal vision, strategy, and implementing them with a strong sense of responsibility, accountability and taking whatever decisions are needed to achieve high performance outcomes and contribution to client satisfaction. Professor Danny Samson, University of Melbourne

Danny Samson, an Engineer, is Professor of Management at the University of Melbourne and Director of the ACEA Strategic Leadership and Service Excellence program.

Now I know why my company does what it does, and why. We have been sending engineer managers to this program for many years, and I can see the connection between your leadership concepts and how we work. Really valuable - I’ve been in management for eight years and it has helped me understand what works and identify new things I need to do or implement.

Written course evaluations from our most recent ACEA Strategic Leadership program

Strategic Leadership and Service Excellence: Driving Engineering Business Success

A four-day residential management course focused on business excellence for engineers and other technical professionals COURSE DIRECTOR Professor Samson holds degrees in Engineering and Management. He has worked as an Engineer in the chemical industry and as a Professor of management at the University of Melbourne for over a decade. He has wide, international experience in a range of primary, manufacturing and service industries, in which he has been a researcher, consultant and director. He has written and edited many books including Management for Engineers, now out in its third edition. WHERE The University of Melbourne’s Business School, Carlton, Victoria, Australia WHEN 6 - 9 September 2009 COST All inclusive fee $3850 +GST, includes residence costs, meals and full program ENROLMENT Bookings or enquiries can be made in the first instance to Danny Samson, P: 03 8344 5344 E:

FEATURING Business management, systematic innovation, professional service and value creation, leadership and new key topics, overall business strategy, operational and service excellence, marketing and business development, decisionmaking skills and tools, financial/ performance management. OVERVIEW The Program is focused around an integrated frameworld of what makes the world’s best companies so, how they got there, and what can be learned, adapted and applied from them.

STRATEGY and MARKETING Positioning in a market: Strategy as fit with business environment and capabilities. Client management OPERATING PRACTICES ‘Production’ and various support activities: driving efficiency and service quality BEHAVIOUR and CULTURE Performance orientated for the business

MEASURES of PERFORMANCE Operating, financial and overall business performance

REWARDS and RECOGNITION Pay, recognition, promotion, motivation of staff


OHS Neil Bassett is a Policy Officer for the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. Neil represents the members interests in the area of Occupational Health and Safety and Infrastructure. Neil can be reached at

WILL A MODEL OHS ACT MEAN EMPLOYERS HAVE TO RAISE THE BAR? WITH THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A MODEL OHS ACT CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED BY GOVERNMENT AND POLICY MAKERS, THERE IS DEBATE AS TO WHETHER ANY NEW DUTIES OF CARE IN THE NEW ACT WILL MEAN EMPLOYERS HAVE TO RAISE THEIR OHS STANDARDS. “Employers that currently engage in best practice OHS will need to do nothing different once Australia’s laws are harmonised.” according to Freehills partner, Barry Sherriff and former National Review Panel Member. “The proposed model laws aim to make a substantial change in behaviour rather than changing requirements.” he says.


National Outlook WINTER 09

WHAT ABOUT PROPOSED OFFICER DUTIES OF CARE AND DUE DILIGENCE? Sherriff says the recommendations of the National Review Panel effectively ‘clarify and codify’ what is required of an organisation’s ‘officers’. The Panel has recommended that the definition of an officer be taken from s9 of the Corporations Law because it was most useful,

well known and well understood by those running an organisation, he said. Sherriff says both reports focus on ‘practical relationships’ and ‘cause and effect’, not legal relationships. The Corporations Law definition captures those who might not be in the organisation but are actually calling the shots. Under the proposed model laws, officers will have a positive duty of care to exercise

OHS due diligence to ensure compliance by the corporation. This meant that an officer can be guilty of an offence without an incident occurring, Sherriff says. By having a positive duty of care, it makes it clear to officers that they “have to go out and do something”, he says, and the duty of officers was to exercise due diligence to ensure compliance by the corporation, Sherriff said, including to proactively and regularly ensure: the organisation is up to date and knowledgeable of OHS laws and compliance it understands operations and associated hazards and risks resources and processes for risk elimination or minimisation are available the verification and implementation of resources and processes that there is a process for receiving, considering and ensuring timely response to information about incidents, hazards and risks. He says that officers should be engaged and involved, however they don’t have to do these

things themselves but ‘ensure that it’s done’. This is simply about proper leadership and governance of an organisation, Sherriff says. If due diligence is exercised, he says, then the organisation will have “the right people in the right place, doing the right thing,” and most importantly, accepting accountability throughout the business. He says that under current OHS laws, an officer can protect themselves from prosecution by exercising and showing due diligence in fulfilling their roles by: having proper basis for believing that OHS is being attended to by appropriate people having the understanding of OHS and information not ignoring obvious hazards. This is no different to what you need to do under the proposed OHS law, he notes. The only difference is that a positive duty and expectations are clearly stated. WILL OFFICERS BE REGARDED AS EMPLOYEES? Sherriff warns that we have to bear in mind

that every person engaged in work will be considered a worker, and will have the duty to undertake reasonable care for themselves and others, and will be expected to cooperate with what their organisation does. An officer can also be considered an ‘officer’ and a ‘worker’ at the same time. He notes that the term ‘employee’ is recommended to be replaced by ‘worker’ to include anybody who is undertaking work under any basis, including volunteer and unpaid workers. WHEN WILL WE HAVE A CLEARER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR DUTIES? A draft Model OHS Act will be released later this year, hopefully in August and this will help to shed light on what an employers duties of care will involve, to what standard and to who they are owed to in a Model OHS Act. The ACEA will keep members informed of developments in this area. For more information on the development of nationally consistent OHS legislation please contact Neil Bassett at: Neil Bassett This article has been kindly reproduced from OHS Alerts

RECESSION OR NO RECESSION – NO ONE CAN AFFORD AN ACCIDENT AT WORK In times of economic downturn, it has never been more important to ensure our policies and procedures comply with all legislative requirements of the OHS Act 2000, OHS Regulation 2001, any relevant Codes of Practice and Australian Standards. This requirement includes keeping up to date with any changes made to these documents.

2) Entry Level Operator – This training shall include training and assessment in a nationally accredited general height safety course, or a course of equal standard, to permit a person to work with fall arrest equipment under the supervision of a competent operator.

CHANGES TO WORKING AT HEIGHTS TRAINING ON THE WAY Proposed changes to the Australian and New Zealand Industrial Fall Arrest Systems and Devices Standard – AS/NZS 1891.4: Selection Use and Maintenance, will make it more specific in relation to the requirements for the training and assessment of competencies, for persons engaged in activities involving a fall from a height hazard.

4) Competent Equipment Inspector – This training requires assessment in (1) above, and additionally in the identification and assessment of possible defects in fall arrest equipment.

Users of fall arrest equipment, and all people undertaking tasks associated with harness based work at heights, will be required to be trained and assessed according to five levels of competencies as structured below: 1) Height Safety Theory – This training shall be equal to that of a nationally accredited general height safety course for operators.

3) Competent Operator – Competency assessments includes assessment in (1) and (2) above, and additionally demonstrate their ability to work unsupervised and render supervision.

5) Height Safety Manager – This training requires an assessment in (1), (2), (3) & (4) above, and additionally further training in height safety theory and the technical skills specific to their work. It is a mandatory requirement under the OHS Regulation 2001 Clause 13 & 14 that an employer must provide information, instruction, training and supervision as may be necessary to ensure an employees health and safety at work. The Standards require that achieved competencies shall be reassessed at appropriate intervals. In particular, competencies to perform first response rescue shall be demonstrated annually.

GENERAL INDUCTION TO CONSTRUCTION WORK IN NSW As from the 1st September 2009, all General Induction to Construction Work in NSW training will move to the Vocational Educational Training (VET) Sector. This is due to the fact that this qualification will become a Nationally Recognised Qualification in lieu of state based. Up until now, each state has had its own General Induction course. Harmonisation between the states has meant that some states have begun to recognise the qualifications of other states. The new Nationally Recognised course will mean that courses in all states will be equivalent and therefore all induction cards will be recognised nationally. Nationally Recognised courses must be delivered and administered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). As from 1st September 2009, WorkCover will cease to accredit trainers and all training and assessment will be the responsibility of the RTO. WorkCover will continue to monitor training and also issue the cards. For further information on Working at Heights training requirements, or General Induction to Construction Work, visit or contact Height Safety Engineers on 1300 884 978.

WINTER 09 National Outlook




MCKINNON PRIMARY SCHOOL, VICTORIA Terraçade blends with face brickwork and corrugated steel in this addition which replaced a sea of portables that were housing the school’s expanding student base. The Terraçade picked up on the red brickwork of the original 1930s school building. “The beauty of that was the lightweight nature of the product and its thermal qualities,” says Robert Beinvenu of architects Kneeler Design. He adds that “the Terraçade went on quite easily. As you can see in the photos the fit is exact. To my knowledge we didn’t have to cut any tiles. It was very clean.” “We are very happy with the end result,” says the school’s deputy principal Edwin Janse. “We’ve gone from boiled lollies to chocolates!”

CANNING VALE COLLEGE, WA Across the country, Terraçade came indoors to form the robust heart of Canning Vale College’s new Senior School building. “We wanted to express the core of the building as a stand-alone, separate element to the rest of the building,” explains design architect David Gulland who led the HASSELL design team. The colour, texture and low maintenance requirements of terracotta were also central to its specification. “We wanted a material with a natural finish and tone that doesn’t have an ongoing requirement for maintenance and repainting. Terraçade holds its colour and appearance over a longer period of time.” The resulting finish is deliberately more sophisticated as befits senior school students. “The (Terraçade) panelised system gives a more sophisticated feel without breaking the bank,” Gullland concludes.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TERRAÇADE? For product information, test reports, case studies and more go to or call 1300 881 712 (within Australia) or 0800 AUSTRAL (New Zealand).

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE, SA South Australia, the traditional centre of the Australian wine industry, is home to the Wine Innovation Cluster which brings together five leading wine research agencies. At its heart is the new Wine Innovation Central Building, a remarkable building that is clad in Terraçade, a system that combines the natural aesthetic, low maintenance and self-finished qualities of terracotta with the many benefits of a modern curtain wall system. Mark Coventry, project architect and senior associate with HASSELL, says his clients “wanted something which was more appropriate to the setting and more aligned with connotations of the wine industry and the earthiness of vines growing in red clay soils. Their holistic approach to research – from vine to wine – is acknowledged in the selection of terracotta for the building.” He believes the understated design will stand the test of time. “It’s not trying to be overly bold; it’s just providing a pleasant envelope to a very functional design.”


NEW WORK SAFETY LAW SOON TO COME INTO EFFECT IN ACT THE NEW HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATION (THE WORK SAFETY ACT 2008) WILL NOW COME INTO EFFECT ON THE 1 OCTOBER 2009. THE NEW ACT WILL REPLACE THE EXISTING AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 1989. THE EXISTING ACT WILL STILL APPLY UNTIL THAT DATE. The new Act will include a number of new key features such as: a focus on improved consultation between employers and their employees extended coverage to ensure all people with a worker-like relationship with business owners are covered by health and safety laws. As a result of this change, ACEA member firms that operate in the ACT need to be aware of new duties imposed by the ACT Work Safety Act and what is required to comply with these duties.

A system might be a process, procedure or method for undertaking work. The term ‘plant’ refers to machinery, equipment or a tool (or a component of, or an accessory to machinery, equipment or a tool). The Act will also place duties on workers (including employees, independent contractors, outworkers, apprentices, trainees and volunteers who work in employment-like settings).

If you would like more information on the new Work Safety Act prior to its commencement on 1 July 2009 please contact ACT WorkCover at: Email: Phone: (02) 6207 3000 or (02) 6205 0200. Neil Bassett

HOW WILL THE WORK SAFETY LAWS OPERATE IN THE ACT? The Work Safety Act 2008 will set out the overall framework for work safety in the ACT and provide a range of duties designed to ensure work safety, health and wellbeing. The Act will be supported by Regulations, Codes of Practice, and a variety of guidance material.


WHAT WILL BE NEW FOR DESIGNERS IN THE WORK SAFETY ACT? The Work Safety Act will introduce new safety duties which apply to anyone who has control of the design or manufacture of plant, a workplace or a system (including anyone who has the authority to make decisions about design or manufacture). This imposes overlapping duties on a range of people so that all aspects of work safety are covered.


New general duties to ensure work safety by managing risk will apply to a person: carrying on a business or undertaking in control of premises (anyone who has control of the premises, including anyone with authority to make decisions about the management of the premises) in control of plant or system (anyone who has control of the plant or system or the operation of the plant or system, including anyone with the authority to make decisions about the plant or system or the operation of the plant or system) in control of design, manufacture, import or supply (anyone who has control of the design, manufacture, import or supply of the plant or system, including anyone with the authority to make decisions about the design, manufacture, import or supply).

An Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational reform in Occupational Health and Safety (IGA) formalises cooperation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments on the harmonisation of occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation. SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA COUNCIL Through a collaboration of governments, employers and employees, the Safe Work Australia Council will develop national policy on OHS and workers’ compensation in specific areas to achieve: reductions in the incidence of death, injury and disease in the workplace national harmonisation of the OHS legislative framework complemented by a nationally consistent approach to compliance policy and enforcement policy improvements to national workers’ compensation arrangements.

The Safe Work Australia Council comprises an independent Chair and representatives from the Commonwealth, each State and Territory, employers and unions. The key functions of the Council will be to: develop national policy relating to OHS and workers’ compensation prepare a model Act and model regulations relating to OHS for adoption as laws of the Commonwealth, each of the States and each of the Territories prepare material relating to OHS collect, analyse and publish data or other information relating to OHS and workers’ compensation revise and further develop the National OHS Strategy 2002/2012 harmonising workers’ compensation arrangements across the Commonwealth, States and Territories liaise with other countries or international organisations on matters relating to OHS or workers’ compensation. If you would like more information on Safe Work Australia please visit their website: Neil Bassett

WINTER 09 National Outlook



OHS LEGISLATION AND CASE UPDATE 2009 NATIONAL The National OHS Review Panel completed its review of Australia’s OHS laws, presenting its final report to the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council in February 2009. All Workplace Relations Ministers voted upon the establishment of Safe Work Australia as an executive agency. According to the former national OHS body (Australian Safety and Compensation Council) estimates work-related injury and disease is costing workers, their employers and the community around $57.5 billion per year and that considerable progress is required for Australia to reach targets set in its National OHS strategy goals 2002/12. A five-year study into Australian OHS inspectorates has recommended that safety inspectors across all jurisdictions should double as they were found to help ensure workplace safety. NSW In a High Court judgement workers whose third-party damages awards were reduced due to contributory negligence were ruled to repay their employer a similarly reduced amount of compensation. NSW’s major workplace injury rates have reached their lowest level in over 20 years, according to WorkCover NSW’s 2007/08 annual report, with 2006/07 incidence rates at 10 per 1000 employees, compared to 11 in 2005/06. In the NSW Court of Appeal an injured worker who was ‘aware’ of the risks of moving a heavy object was denied compensation and damages. Qld Q-COMP developed the Return to Work Assist service to help injured Queensland workers at risk of long-term unemployment into jobs. Queensland Fire and Rescue Service had ‘no choice’ but to sack a fire fighter with a heart condition, when it could not be assured that the condition was under control a Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found. SA WorkCover SA’s unfunded liability reached $1.3 billion, leaving the scheme just 51.7 per cent funded. Tas According to the Coroner’s report into the death of Beaconsfield miner Larry Knight, the current Tasmanian OHS legislation is in need of immediate review and reform. Vic VIC WorkSafe reported a net financial loss for the half year to 31 December 2008, more than double that of last year at $1.42 billion, leaving the scheme 94 per cent funded. According to a WorkSafe study, one in three VIC employers is not serious about safety. The study urged employers to invest in OHS supervisors after finding they played a key part in helping influencing the safety culture of a company. WA WA Commerce Minister Troy Buswell announced a review of the State’s workers’ compensation legislation which is to start the process of creating a more flexible, responsive and modern workers’ compensation and injury management legislation. Neil Bassett This article has been sourced and reproduced from OHS Alerts -


National Outlook WINTER 09

The Melbourne School of Engineering at The University of Melbourne is one of the world’s leading engineering schools. It was the first engineering school in Australia, established in 1861, and ranks 28th in the world for technology by the Times Higher Education Supplement (2008), ahead of leading international institutions such as Yale, Colombia, and Chicago. Melbourne has an impressive record of innovation, its academics having developed the bionic ear, the plastic banknote and Australia’s first computer. That tradition continues today, with researchers working on challenges like the development of the bionic eye, water resource management solutions, renewable energy applications, environmental remediation, drug delivery platforms, and gigabit wireless devices. Innovation in research carries over into the School’s graduate programs. In 2010, the School will introduce an exciting new suite of professional Masters of Engineering, accredited internationally through Engineers Australia. The professional Master of Engineering offers the opportunity to gain professional accreditation as an engineer both to graduates without a background in engineering and engineers seeking to change their specialisation. In addition, the School continues to offer an extensive range of Masters by coursework and research or a combination of both, along with graduate diplomas and single subject study. These are available in fields such as environmental engineering, mining engineering, engineering structures, engineering management and project management. Most include involvement by industry experts. Full and part time study modes are offered, with all programs delivered from the Parkville campus, minutes from the centre of Melbourne. For more information, visit or call (03) 8344 3800.

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infrastructure Neil Bassett is a Policy Officer for the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. Neil represents the members interests in the area of Occupational Health and Safety and Infrastructure. Neil can be reached at

TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT TO BE A DRIVER OF ECONOMIC GROWTH THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS HAS PUT A NEW EMPHASIS ON INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING IN AUSTRALIA AS GOVERNMENT’S LOOK TO INJECT SOME CONFIDENCE BACK INTO THEIR DECLINING ECONOMIES. GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AIMS TO HELP REDUCE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN BY STIMULATING OUR NATIONAL, STATE AND LOCAL ECONOMIES BY INCREASING OUR PRODUCTIVITY, EMPLOYMENT AND STANDARDS OF LIVING. Currently, one of the key areas of infrastructure spending being promoted by governments is the development of transport infrastructure (i.e. public passenger transport infrastructure and services). The ACEA supports an immediate and ongoing investment in transport infrastructure as it will provide Australia with a more efficient and effective set of public passenger transport infrastructure and services. This will also help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, such as car exhaust emissions and provide an on-going critical community service that continually offers a low cost means of travel for people to get to places of work or study. Importantly, by having better public transport infrastructure and services will mean roads would be better utilised and have less congestion which in-turn will have a direct cost-benefit for business operators and their ability to better make and deliver goods and/ or services to markets. For example, a reduction in traffic congestion through investment and development in roads and public passenger transport could help business operators by: lowering the time taken to get goods and/ or services to markets reducing the number of delivery drivers and vehicles required to deliver goods improving consistency in delivering goods and services cutting costs of all business-related travel, including vehicle maintenance and fuel improving business productivity as the business becomes more efficient and effective. The Vic government has already started to implement their transport infrastructure plans as part of their response to the economic downturn to help boost their economy. According to the Vic government “The Transport Infrastructure Plan will shape Victoria for the 21st century”.


National Outlook WINTER 09

The Transport Plan aims to: spend more than $38 billion in projects and initiatives – the largest investment in transport in the State’s history develop a framework for future land development to bring places of work and communities closer together start a pipeline for major transport projects that will over the short, medium and long term respond to current demands and shape Victoria for future generations. The ACEA believes the investment in transport infrastructure by the Vic government will provide a much-needed economic confidence boost for the State, especially in the thousands of new direct and indirect jobs that are estimated to be created. Even though many of the infrastructure projects outlined in the Plan will take many years to build they will start to benefit all sectors of the State’s economy and will help to secure long term improved economic prospects of the State based on productivity growth. The Vic government is also aiming to seek Commonwealth Funding for a number of nationally significant projects. Even though the ACEA believes it is vital that the focal point of infrastructure development and investment should be primarily directed towards our national economic supply chain (ports, rail and road), a strong investment in public passenger transport infrastructure and services is encouraged and supported. Planned sensibly, such investment in infrastructure transport can also contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse emissions which will lessen the impacts of climate change. It will also ensure that Australia is well prepared to meet the inevitable upturn in demand that will flow as the world moves out of the current challenging economic conditions. Neil Bassett

FIRST MEETINGS OF THE ACEA INFRASTRUCTURE ROUNDTABLE HELD THE ACEA HAS HELD ITS FIRST INFRASTRUCTURE ROUNDTABLE MEETINGS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. The first meetings have been wellattended by a number of ACEA member firms and it has provided a valuable opportunity for ACEA members to participant in the infrastructure policy debate. In short, the ACEA Infrastructure Roundtable will aim to help promote, influence and shape the development of economic and social infrastructure in Australia whether it’s upgraded, expanded or new that improves economic productivity and increases standards of living. The ACEA Infrastructure Roundtable will also engage with all levels of government as a key industry leader and advisor in the development of infrastructure policy, planning and regulation. The Roundtable group is currently discussing and finalising its strategy and infrastructure policy objectives for 2009 and beyond. If you would like more information on the Infrastructure Roundtable please contact Neil Bassett: Email: Phone: 02 9922 4711. Neil Bassett


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BUILD NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED IN APRIL 2009 THAT IT PLANS TO PARTNER WITH PRIVATE COMPANIES TO SPEND $43 BILLION TO BUILD THE NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK. After a 12-month bidding process aimed at finding a private company to build a fibre-tothe-node network, the Federal government announced it would build a more advanced ‘fibre-to-the-home’ network that will cover all of the population in Australia. The broadband network will also be provided to all telecommunication providers who will be able to access the network for the same costs. The Federal government has estimated that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will take seven to eight years to build and will create an estimated 37,000 jobs with an economic activity worth $37 billion over the life of the project.

organisations, such as Telstra and Optus, will be able to invest in the company. In addition, once the company has been functioning for five years, the government will then sell down its stake in the company. “We believe over time there will be significant private sector investment that can come in terms of debt or equity,” Treasurer Wayne Swan said. The Government's initial investment is $4.7 billion, although it will be required to raise additional funds via the sale of Government bonds. The NBN is to begin its first roll-out in Tasmania as early as July 2009. For more information on the National Broadband Network please visit the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy at their website: Neil Bassett

“It will deliver affordable broadband services with speeds of 100 megabits per second,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said. “High speed broadband will create jobs and it will spur innovation. This is good for jobs, good for the economy [and] good for the nation's future.” To create the NBN the government will establish a new company to control the network. The entity will be run in similar fashion to Australia Post. It will importantly be majority-owned by the Federal government, however private sector telecommunications

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ASK A LAWYER: DEBT RECOVERY QUESTION: My company is owed $10K for work undertaken for a long-standing client (3) months ago. We have sent an invoice each month. What further action can I take? ANSWER: There is a balancing act between the old cliché ‘Cash is King’ and ‘Keeping Clients’. The importance of cash flow is critical to any business and so too are your clients, without them you will not have a business. In essence, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach a business should take when recovering debts. If you have a client and issue court proceedings, there is a more than reasonable chance you have lost that client for good. In particular, make sure the issue is dealt with project manager to project manager rather than through finance departments, as this personal approach is more likely to yield results. Failing this, you may wish to use the services of a debt collecting agency. If after this you are unable unable to reach an arrangement for repayment of the debt, you may wish to issue a letter of demand, or a statutory demand in the case where the client is a company.

LETTER OF DEMAND A letter of demand typically states details of the debt and also warns the client that legal action will be commenced if they do not pay the debt by the prescribed date. At this point in time, if the debtor does not respond to your written demand you may consider taking legal action. Since the debt is $10,000, it will be dealt with in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court in NSW. This process involves preparing and lodging a Statement of Claim. You will then need to arrange service of your Claim on the debtor (defendant). If the defendant has not responded with a defence or has not made any payment thereby ignoring the Statement of Claim, you can then apply for “default judgement” at the court. If the defendant believes that they do not owe you the money, or do not agree with the amount of the debt, a defence may be filed with the court.

STATUTORY DEMAND In the case where you are trying to recover a debt from a company you may also issue a statutory demand. A statutory demand is a formal version of a letter of demand set out similar to a court document. A statutory demand indicates that legal action is imminent if the debt is not paid within 21 days. COSTS Legal proceedings can be complicated and expensive, particularly in cases where there is likely to be a dispute as to whether the sum of money is owed. You are likely to incur costs at every stage of the legal process, including costs relating to your solicitor and court costs. It is also important to bear in mind that if your case fails, and the court rules against you, you could be liable for your debtor’s costs as well as your own.

The material provided is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice on any subject matter. No lawyer--client relationship was/ or is formed. Therefore, you should not consider the material to be an invitation to a client relationship and should not rely on the material provided herein as legal advice on any subject matter for any purpose, and should always seek the legal advice of competent legal counsel. All questions provided to us in this column are treated as confidential and fall within the terms of our Privacy Policy, which can be found on our website:


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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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WINTER 09 National Outlook


The Strengthening of the Glebe Island Silos Strengthening existing grain silos to enable them to be filled with cement was always going to be a challenge at Glebe Island in Sydney, one which was further complicated by the safety risks of working in an operating industrial cement storage facility with a stringent OHS regime. The successful tenderer Andersal Engineering impressed the client Cement Australia with its proposed methodology for the site – including the use of Andersal’s abseiling team with confined space training and the use of rotating helicopter-like cleaning heads - as well as the company’s experience in work of this type. “The client had been constricted with the amount of cement it could store in the silos it leases from the Sydney Port Authority with the original silos designed to handle only wheat and as such were only able to be filled to 50% of their capacity due to the higher density of cement,” said Andersal site supervisor Eddie Issa. The complicated project involved the installation of new reinforced columns under the existing bin structure and around existing screw conveyor systems, designed by Connell Wagner, which would allow the required increase in the bin’s holding capacity when cement was

unloaded from a Tasmanian production plant. It also included carbon fibre strengthening of the existing columns, infilling and thickening of perimeter walls and footings as well as the installation of reinforced concrete annulus 4m high x 300mm thick inside each of the four silos. The only existing openings or access was a hatch 90 metres at the top and a 450mm round aperture at the base cone from where the cement was deposited and discharged respectively. Andersal Engineering already had extensive experience with an adjoining tenant, Sugar Australia, where it had undertaken water ingress rectification work directly with the Sydney Ports Authority. “This prior experience gave us an intimate knowledge of the site and the conditions within which the work would take place, particularly access difficulties and the difficult scope of the works,” said Mr Issa. “This experience by Andersal Engineering allowed the client Cement Australia to continue loading and dispatching of the cement product in an uninterrupted manner whilst four of their twelve bins were out of action,” he said. “In addition, our abseiling team had to enter the bins with the confined space training and conduct a visual assessment on the cleaning of the bins where we had to, on average, remove an excess of 150

tonnes of cement that had accumulated due to damaged or non-functioning air slides that had to be moved by hand through the bottom aperture before access hatches could be cut through the 300mm thick bin walls,” said Mr Issa. After the 30m high walls were cleaned down, scaffolding was brought into the coned structure at the base of each bin to act as flooring whilst the new four metre high by 300mm thick ring beams or annuluses were formed and poured insitu. “The key to success, we believe, was the side entry doors we installed in each bin that allowed us to convert the confined space working site into non-confirmed space and hence allow safer work conditions and improved productivity,” said Mr Issa. “The four bins were given a clean when we invented a rotating helicopter like cleaning heads using compressed air from a compressor and pipe fittings to construct the rotating marts necessary to undertake the cleaning before workers could enter the bins,” he said. Andersal Engineering operated on two bins at one time and brought the two bins back on line within the time frame of the overall program and to the satisfaction of the client, with the project completed on time, within budget and without injury or lost time.

Andersal Engineering Phone: 1800 066 327 Fax: 02 9922 1030 901/220 Pacific Hwy, Crows Nest NSW 2065 (The nearest cross street is Rocklands Road) 56

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National Outlook Winter 2009  

Australia's Magazine Built for the Environmental Consultant

National Outlook Winter 2009  

Australia's Magazine Built for the Environmental Consultant