jonathan Russell A quota for women in industry
jonathan cartledge Building confidence for infrastructure renewal
Nelson De Sousa
Towards proportionate liability reform
Risk Management in uncertain times
FOR THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT
Workplace Diversity a quota for women in industry Towards a tailored approach to diversity Investing in women generates benefits for all
2011 Outlook Now available! An economic forcast for consulting firms in the built and natural environment. official magazine of consult australia
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Contents winter 2011
P10. A quota for women in industry When a government minister proposed a 25 per cent quota for women in positions of leadership, the idea was met with the argument that such an action was unnecessary. Jonathan Russell
p30. BUILDING CONFIDENCE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL The 2011 Federal Budget addressed a number of Consult Australiaâ€™s priorities and reflected many of our specific recommendations for reform, particularly in relation to infrastructure funding and mechanisms governing infrastructure development. Jonathan Cartledge
P38. Towards Proportionate Liability Reform When the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) agreed to introduce national proportionate liability legislation for damages for economic loss or property damage, their intention was that it would be nationally consistent. nelson de sousa
From the President
From the CEO
Consult Australia 2011 Conference
Achieving Diversity in the workplace
Model Work Health and Safety and its impact on business
In July 2008, the Council of Australia Governments formally committed to the harmonisation of work health and safety laws. nElson de sousa
Economics & Taxation Station 29
Energy efficient designs for BCA Section J compliance Minimum energy efficiency standards for newly constructed commercial buildings are now mandatory under Section J of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and insulation plays a key role in achieving these requirements. Warren stewart
Skills & Resources
Workplace Health & Safety 42
from the president Jamie Shelton is the President of Consult Australia, Principal and the Sydney Regional Manager of Northrop Engineers.
June 2011 I recently met with my financial planner, who assessed the appropriateness of my investments to deliver future financial success. On the same day, I spoke with university students about graduate recruitment opportunities with my firm. A principle criterion in the assessment of both the prospective graduates and my investment portfolio was ‘diversity’. It occurred to me how we regularly consider diversity as an indicator of health and resilience, and an important component of future success in many aspects of our personal and professional lives. Diversity, as a measure, tells us that there is balance in an individual, in a society, or in an organisation. In considering our industry, and specifically the professional firms that practice within it, I believe that we would fail a gender diversity test. Put simply, when we measure the diversity of our workforce across the full spectrum of professional roles, generally speaking, we are considerably out of balance. This is most pronounced in the lack of representation of women in mid-senior management and leadership roles. This should concern us as an industry, and not simply on the grounds of equality but that our firms may be lacking the resilience, creativity and leadership that come through a diverse workforce. As with many other aspects of life, diversity is an appropriate measure of the health of our industry and an indicator of our future success. The career offering for female professionals in the built and natural environment needs detailed consideration. It’s not simply a matter of attracting more students into universities and more female graduates into our firms. For example, if we look at architecture, women are equally represented at a student and junior employee level, but this representation drops away quickly as careers advance. Engineering studies remain heavily male dominated, however the representation of female graduates in consultancies is growing, and these young women are proving to be of a very high calibre. There is much that Consult Australia can do and is doing to promote professional careers within the built and natural environment to school and university students. This work needs to be supported by results in the workplace that show that women are valued and given every opportunity to succeed. 4
National Outlook winter 11
In considering our industry, and specifically the professional firms that practice within it, I believe that we would fail a gender diversity test. Put simply, when we measure the diversity of our workforce across the full spectrum of professional roles, generally speaking, we are considerably out of balance.
Our challenge is not just to retain women within our industry, but to create pathways which enable their careers to develop and aid their progression through management levels and into leadership roles. In the context of our rapidly changing world, it is often said that those who are able to adapt quickest will succeed. In this light, gender diversity is a ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma; to become more gender diverse we need to change and adapt our workplace culture and practices, but this adaptation will come easiest to the most diverse organisations. We can choose to wait and have gender equality imposed on us by government and society, or we can endeavour to understand the economic benefits of gender balance in the workplace and act to implement change. Clearly diversity is a significant challenge for our industry, and it may be also be a key pillar to our future success.
Jamie Shelton President
National Outlook Contributors Jonathan Cartledge is the Director of Policy for Consult Australia, and Jonathan represents the needs and interests of Consult Australia member firms across the finance, infrastructure and sustainability portfolios. Jonathan can be reached at email@example.com
National Outlook Editor
Advertising Sales Brandon Vigon
Chief Executive Megan Motto
Jonathan Russell is a Policy Adviser for Consult Australia. He represents the needs and interests of Consult Australia’s smaller and regional businesses, and all member firms across the skills portfolio on issues such as education, workforce participation and skilled migration. Jonathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Operations Manager Julia Lemercier
Director of Policy Jonathan Cartledge
Policy Adviser Jonathan Russell
Policy Adviser Nelson de Sousa
Member Services Manager
Nelson de Sousa is a Policy Adviser for Consult Australia. He represents the needs and interests of Consult Australia member firms on issues such as contracts & liabilities, and workplace health & safety. Nelson can be reached via email at email@example.com
Events Manager Nicole Pusic
Education & Training Coordinator Daniel Condon
Executive Assistant (CEO & Policy) Kerri Clifford
Svetlana McNeil is Consult Australia’s resident Department of Immigration and Citizenship Industry Outreach Officer. She helps members to utilise the skilled migration program through advice on immigration processes and policy, and is essential for facilitating more open discussions between industry and the Department. Members can reach Svetlana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Assistant (Operations) Sheena Nelson
Immigration Officer Svetlana McNeil
Editorial Submissions email@example.com National Outlook is produced by Consult Australia. Phone: (02) 9922 4711. Website: www.consultaustralia.com.au and MediaEDGE Communication Australia. Phone: (03) 8844 5822. Fax: (03) 9824 1188.
This Magazine has been printed with Vegetable Based Inks using Certified Environmental Management System ISO 14001, on Mega Recycled FSC Silk made up of 50 per cent recycled post consumer waste and 50 per cent FSC certified fibre. National Outlook © 2011. 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.
Industry Contributors Natalie Gentle - Westpac Kate Sykes - Careermums.com.au Laura Waibel - University of Technology Sydney Marlene Kanga - ICWES Aditi Acharya Parsons Brinckerhoff Tim Dilnot - SKM Kane Downsett - GHD Jessica farquhar - Robogals Perth Alan McLean - RedR Steve Bonutto - RCA Solutions Wendy Poulton - Planned Professional Risk Services Alain Mignot - AAA Mark Kenfield - Industry Journalist Warren Stewart - Bradford Insulation Rick Navarro - Norman Disney & Young
from the ceo Megan Motto is the Chief Executive of Consult Australia
March 2011 As a female CEO and working mother, particularly in what has traditionally been seen as a â€˜blokeyâ€™ industry, I am often asked to speak to groups of other women both from our member firms and more broadly about my experiences and the challenges I have faced along the way. Whilst I have never experienced overt discrimination there are certainly times when I become acutely aware that I am the only woman in a room full of men. When I am asked to do so, I am often conflicted, and question what I have to offer in this debate. I also question whether it is adding value for Consult Australia for me to take time out to do so. But ultimately, it remains true that there are far fewer women in senior positions across the building and construction sector, including in professional services fields. This is clearly a problem affecting not just our sector or industry but the Australian economy at large. Australia remains somewhat of a laggard in the developed world with regards to female workforce participation, ranking 17th in the OECD, and our numbers of women at senior management and Board level is even worse with more than 10 male Directors for every one female, and 49 male CEOs for every one woman CEO. These results get even starker when we look at our sector, with member firms on average
Our member firms are doing a huge amount to address this imbalance, with a number of our firms winning Employer of Choice Awards for their efforts, but the fact is, both individually and collectively we could do better.
having 6% women in senior management positions across the board, as highlighted in a recent workforce participation survey that Consult Australia recently conducted, covering some 15,739 staff across 22 member firms. This is not so much just an issue of fairness or equality, but about performance and quality. A 2008 McKinsey report from the UK shows that companies with gender diverse management teams have substantially better financial performance - with 10% higher return on equity, 36% higher stock price and an average EBIT 48% higher than their industry norms. The fact of the matter is that good management of diversity issues equates to good management full stop. Superior management and leadership values diversity in its truest sense (not just gender, but race, religion and a myriad of other personal circumstances), and does not need to revert to a simplistic equality argument to justify its existence. Clearly, if we are going to seriously tackle the critical skills shortages facing our industry over the medium and long term, increasing the numbers of women in our sector has to be a key player. Our member firms are doing a huge amount to address this imbalance, with a number of our firms winning Employer of Choice Awards for their efforts, but the fact is, both individually and collectively we could do better. The data suggests that we have not yet cracked this particularly hard nut, and thus perhaps we are still not doing enough to attract and retain women, or perhaps our efforts are wasted because we are doing the wrong things. I am pleased to announce that Consult Australia, with the strong support of our large firms forum, will be placing this issue high on the agenda
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by creating a Diversity Roundtable and tasking that group with creating a significant thought leadership piece around the issue of gender diversity in our industry specifically. I am also pleased to announce that this work will be done in collaboration with APESMA, who also have a significant interest in increasing the number of women in our sector. This work will become the foundation for a number of initiatives specifically designed to increase the participation of women in our industry, which will not only help to alleviate the fight for talent but should also bolster the bottom line.
Megan Motto CEO
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Date: Friday, 2 December Time:
6:30pm until late
Venue: Sydney Town Hall 483 George Street, Sydney Dress code:
Get your ticket today Early bird members: $150 per ticket or $1,350 per table of 10 (Available for the first 100 member bookings only)
$175 per ticket or $1,575 per table of 10
$195 per ticket or $1,755 per table of 10
Places are limited so donâ€™t miss out! To secure your seat/table contact Consult Australia Events Manager, Nicole Pusic: Tel: (02 9922 4711 Email: Nicole@consultaustralia.com.au
Sponsorship opportunities now available Special awards: President's Award Future Leaders Award Small Firm Award Project categories: Building (Non-Residential) Building (Residential) Transport & Civil Infrastructure Water Energy Resources & Mining
Full package details are on the sponsorship page at: www.consultaustralia.com.au/2011awards
Environmental Community & Urban Development Building Services Specialist Services Aid Projects
AFTER PARTY SPONSOR Sponsorship includes complete and exclusive branding of the after-party venue. RED CARPET & PHOTO BOOTH SPONSOR The red carpet entry and photo booth at the event will be attributed to your organisation. You’ll also have full rights to the complete exterior branding of the photo booth. ENTERTAINMENT SPONSOR Entertainment sponsor will be acknowledged as having engaged Australian singer, Wendy Matthews to perform at the event. BEVERAGE SPONSOR ENTREE, MAIN COURSE and DESSERT SPONSORS Company name or logo to be presented as part of the course e.g. written in condiment on side of plate, embossed on chocolate medallion etc.
All sponsorships include: Two (2) complimentary tickets to attend the Awards event (valued at $400) 20% discount on any additional tickets purchased (up to $800 value) Dedicated entry poster at the event Logo displayed on PowerPoint sponsor loop (one slide per logo/sponsor) at the event Opportunity to place a corporate gift in guest goodie bags (merchandise only, no literature) Sponsorship recognition on all printed materials, including: Save the date Invitations Advertising (print & electronic) Awards program Sponsorship recognition, logo placement and website link on Awards for Excellence website (valued at $550)
DVD SPONSOR x3 Includes 30 second advertisement and logo placement on DVD cover.
Sponsorship recognition, logo placement and website link on Awards page of Consult Australia website (valued at $550)
Organisations that sponsor the Consult Australia Awards for Excellence gain invaluable exposure to Australia’s key business decision makers in the built and natural environment.
Half page advertisement and acknowledgement in the 2011 Innovate magazine, the official Awards publication NB: advertising opportunities are exclusive to sponsors (valued at $2,145)
Consult Australia communicates directly with approximately 2,700 leaders and influencers in firms, including those with professional, commercial and managerial roles. Our contact list encompasses key industry stakeholders and leaders including politicians, senior public officials and academics. Industry research indicates that sponsorship of the Consult Australia Awards for Excellence is a comparatively modest investment, particularly considering the entitlements and potential return on investment. And our not-for-profit status means all sponsorship goes back into member services.
Quarter page advertisement and acknowledgement in December 2011 edition of National Outlook (valued at $1,375)* 20% discount on additional sponsorship opportunities purchased *After
party and red carpet & photo booth sponsor will receive half page advertisement (valued at $2,145).
Don't miss out! Contact Member Services Manager, Cathy Mitchell on (02) 9922 4711, email firstname.lastname@example.org
ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
A quota for women in industry When a government minister proposed a 25 per cent quota for women in positions of leadership, the idea was met with the argument that such an action was unnecessary. Critics insisted that women hated the idea of being promoted for any reason other than pure merit and they asserted that women would be promoted just as soon as their numbers in the lower ranks swelled.
or to specific levels within an organisation. Sometimes quotas are applied to sections of the corporate community that are most easily and transparently counted – such as Boards of ASX listed companies.
“If they don’t meet a reasonable target within a period of time, then more punitive measures need to be taken by the parliament. I would think that you would need to have a target of about 30 per cent,” he told ABC television. Sir Humphrey Appleby described this type of situation as, “A time to pause to regroup, a lull in which to reassess the situation and discuss alternative strategies, a space of time for mature reflection and deliberation.” With these words in mind, it is worth exploring the following points:
What are quotas? Do we need to take action? What are the arguments for and against?
What are quotas? Quotas are used to influence change. They can be described positively as affirmative action or derided as neo-paternalism, but are nevertheless used to achieve transformations quickly. In its most simple form, a quota for female representation may dictate that at least 30 per cent of Board positions must be filled by women. Alternatives quotas may set targets for recruitment e.g. all eligible female job applicants must be invited to interview for a position. Quotas can be tailored to the different demographics within industry sectors. Engineering is still very male dominated, and therefore may need to take a different approach to say the accountancy profession, whose workforce is close to 50 per cent female. Quotas can be voluntary and pursued unilaterally or by industry sectors working in partnership, but they can also be involuntary and imposed through Government legislation. Quotas can be applied to a whole company 10
National Outlook winter 11
3) Biased recruitment practices: like recruiting like; and 4) Limited availability of quality childcare options and flexible workforce practices. Society is still catching up with the idea that women can be a caregiver for children or the elderly, and also be an employee.
Actually, that argument took place in 1982 during an episode of the BBC comedy Yes, Minister, but fast-forward to 2011, and we’re having the same conversation. Earlier this year, Opposition Frontbencher, Joe Hockey announced he would back enforced quotas that ensure 30 per cent of Board positions are occupied by women, saying corporate Australia has been given long enough to improve gender equality at the executive level.
2) Mateship in the culture of Australian business conduct: aka favouritism for one’s friends;
Quotas are used to influence change.
If nothing else, the idea of placing a mandatory quota on the number of women on Australian Boards has elicited debate over the roles of men and women in the workforce. This debate is not split according to gender, nor separated by one’s position in industry, it reflects a patchwork of individual opinions. The need for action UN Women Australia stress that gender equality is not just a women’s issue but, “About changing social attitudes and legal protections that discriminate and afford one group privileges over another.” There are many reasons for the underrepresentation of women in industry, and even more for why this needs to be addressed. Here are just a few: Unconscious bias Some women are not capable of reaching heights of power, some do not want to and some have opted to focus on parenting. There are others that have the skills, aptitude and motivation to pursue promotion but face barriers to their journey that men usually don’t encounter. Unconscious bias is the natural tendency to favour people who are like yourself - it’s one of the most obvious of these barriers women face. The following is adapted from Ernst & Young’s Women in Leadership: Engaging Australian Business and shows four ways unconscious bias effects women: 1) U nearned advantages of the majority group: men are the incumbent majority group and it is hard for women to break in;
The ‘stupid curve’ The’ stupid curve’ is a term coined by former Deloitte USA Chairman Mike Cook. It refers to how 90 per cent of business leaders are drawn from just 50 per cent of the population, leaving a pool of wasted female talent. Figure 1 (next page), adapted from Chief Executive Women’s The business case for women as leaders, portrays the curve. Chief Executive Women (CEW) is an Australian organisation that supports the development of female leaders. They have further illustrated this point by noting that although men and women enter the workforce in roughly equal numbers, men have a 9 times better chance of reaching executive level than women. They claim there is no end in sight to this situation, therefore positive action is required. Returns on investment The Australian public is getting a very poor return on investment for women’s education. Figures from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) show that in 2009 women outnumbered men in higher education by 56 per cent to 44 and the rate of growth of female students was higher. When less than 11 per cent of senior executive positions are held by women, tax payers could well ask, “Where have all the women gone?” or even say, “I want my money back!” Sooner rather than later, shareholders will start asking similar questions. A 2007 report by McKinsey & Company, Women Matter: Gender diversity, a corporate performance driver showed that companies with a higher proportion of women in their top management have better financial performance. Against other companies in their sectors, they enjoyed higher returns on equity (11.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent), a better operating result (EBIT 11.1 per cent to 5.8 per cent) and stock price growth (64 per cent to 47 per cent over the period 2005-07).
ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE until gender discrimination is no longer an impediment to women’s participation. Advocates agree that a quota may be heavy handed but insist that waiting for change to occur organically has not been a successful strategy. Quotas are good for shaking up the status quo and augmenting other good work that is already taking place. We have come a long way since 1895, when South Australia gave women the vote. The first female state parliamentarian was elected in 1921 and bars on married women acting as permanent employees in the federal public service were dropped in 1966. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified in 1983 and the Sex Discrimination Act was passed in 1984. The first female Premier soon followed in 1989, and our first female Prime Minister came to power in 2010.
The first 90 per cent of the required changes have occurred but, as many a business person or athlete knows, it’s that last 10 per cent that is hardest to get.
Having ‘token’ women in positions of leadership is not enough. The McKinsey & Company report also found that, when measuring organisational excellence against nine criteria, the advantages enjoyed by the more diverse companies only became apparent once 30 per cent of management committees were female. Quotas: do we or don’t we? Executive Director for the Australian National Committee for UN Women, Julie McKay told Consult Australia, “Achieving gender equality is complex and that complexity often leads to uncertainty for both men and women.” Ms McKay pointed out that while quotas are a good tool, she strongly believes that setting quotas or temporary special measures for Board participation is just a small part of the puzzle and we need to ensure that attitudinal changes are happening effectively at all levels of an organisation. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency Director, Helen Conway is publicly wary of quotas. In an interview with The Australian newspaper in March, she said, “Talk of quotas is not helpful… In fact it is very unhelpful and diverts debate from the mainstream issues. Quotas lock people into adversarial positions, and my view is that we need to look at the best possible fit for each industry.”
Opposition to quotas is also based on them being perceived as another type of discrimination. There are fears that otherwise suitable men would lose their jobs or opportunities for promotion, and that women would never know if they were promoted on merit or to fill a quota. There will always be the risk of people assuming that promotion during the existence of a quota is incongruous with promotion based on merit. Australian law firm, Freehills publishes advice on how organisations can foster diversity without using positive discrimination:
ave selection criteria that do not indirectly H disadvantage people from certain groups e.g. a requirement for prior experience as a CEO may disadvantage women and could be substituted for specific skill requirements;
Despite these positive moves and despite many people thinking that gender-based discrimination no longer exists, the data on pay gaps and the ratio of women in leadership demonstrates that equality between the sexes has not yet been achieved. The milestones described earlier came about as the result of a century of lobbying by feminists, emancipists and even economists. The first 90 per cent of the required changes have occurred but, as many a business person or athlete knows, it’s that last 10 per cent that is hardest to get. A quota could well be the best tool available to re-start the process to achieve that final 10 per cent of change. Conclusion So, should quotas be used? When the jury is most definitely out, what should governments and industry do? The debate on quotas is old and progress is slow. There are arguments for and good arguments against their introduction. Maybe it’s time to experiment. If Cabinet asks for our support, perhaps we should say “Yes, Minister.” Jonathan Russell Further reading: Equal Opportunities, “Yes, Minister”, Series 3, Episode 1, 1982, BBC.
dvertise in a way that reaches a broad A category of potential candidates; and ake public an organisation’s commitment M to diversity.
If quotas are to be avoided however, there needs to be immediate, sustained and bold action. Despite the drawbacks, the attraction of quotas is that they are a tool for forcing change. A key reason for UN Women Australia’s support for quotas is their creation of a safe space for women to participate in both public and private life winter 11 National Outlook
ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Natalie Gentle - Westpac
Towards a tailored approach to diversity Much has been written of late about the benefits of embracing a diverse workforce. Authors have articulated the strengthened cultural values within organisations, reduction in staff turnover, enhanced attraction of talented staff, and the reputational benefits to be gained for the organisation. I have no doubt that all these benefits are real, and my experience at Westpac has clarified both how diversity can effectively be embedded in an organisation and the realisation of those benefits that ensue.
Consulting engineering is not only a male dominated field, but one where clients/ customers are also mostly men. If mirroring the customer profile was the only desirable organisational attribute, then it could be argued that SKM ought not to pursue increased participation amongst female engineers.
outcomes must be measurable and dynamic. This means developing set targets, against which performance can be assessed and systems put in place to monitor steps towards these goals. (SPIERS, C., 2008)
Aside from the many other benefits offered through a diversity strategy, it is important to recognise that increasing the representation of women in the traditionally male heavy industries is only the first step.
Westpac has set an aspirational target to increase the representation of women in leadership roles from 33 per cent to 40 per cent by 2014. They have done this by implementing a number of hardwiring and softwiring activities, and embedding these targets in leaders’ performance scorecards.
The diversity journey continues and the objective of a truly diverse workforce in this context should be the goal to realise the expected competitive advantage due to enhanced customer cohesion.
Although the targets are aspirational, Westpac also believes they are achievable. Targets must however, be aligned with the organisational strategy and appropriate and relevant for the sector in which a company/firm operates.
Diversity then makes complete sense within a banking context, where customers come in all shapes and sizes - Westpac is well advised to match. However, given the differing profiles of many industries, does this reason extend to all, or only some industries?
In an increasingly global environment, where consulting services are traded across a diverse regional landscape, it is important that organisations match this new external setting to remain competitive. (MCCUISTON, V., BARBARA, R.W. and PIERCE, C., 2004)
Consulting engineering is a particularly interesting example and one where a great deal of effort has been made in recent years to address the underrepresentation of women.
There are, of course, many such ‘context specific’ benefits for engineering, including tackling the increasingly difficult issue of capacity restraints in the Australian engineering market.
There is no one size fits all solution to the issue of diversity. It is only through an analysis of both the internal and external environments within which a diversity program will operate, that an organisation can effectively ensure such a program will achieve the organisational benefits for which it is designed.
Recognition is due to Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), who recently achieved the same Employer of Choice for Women status that Westpac also holds. Achieving this standing is a difficult and arduous task for any organisation, let alone one operating in a male dominated industry such as engineering.
While only around 15 percent of new engineers are female (http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au), there are many benefits to opening up the pool of available talent by attracting women.
A recent shift in my career from the consulting engineering space has led me to consider however, the relative practical value of diversity in different sectors. One of the key benefits touted in favour of a diverse workforce is that it brings to an organisation a greater affiliation with its customer base. An ability to mirror customer diversity within the organisation allows greater understanding of customers’ needs and expectations, with a consequential payoff in turns of innovation and service delivery.
Employer of Choice for Women status demonstrates a commitment to providing a diverse and inclusive working environment, yet some may ask whether the effort is justified.
These include: reduced recruitment costs; reduced staff turnover; and enhanced reputation with Government and other stakeholders to name just a few. (SPIERS, C., 2008) The benefits in banking are different to those that apply in engineering. As with any organisational strategy, desired organisational
The diversity journey continues and the objective of a truly diverse workforce in this context should be the goal to realise the expected competitive advantage due to enhanced customer cohesion.
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Natalie Gentle Westpac MCCUISTON, V., BARBARA, R.W. and PIERCE, C., 2004. Leading the diverse workforce: Profit, prospects and progress. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(1), pp. 73-92. SPIERS, C., 2008. The business benefits of diversity. Management Services, 52(2), pp. 26-30. SYED, J. and KRAMAR, R., 2009. Socially responsible diversity management. Journal of Management and Organization, 15(5), pp. 639-651. Engineers Australia “Women in university engineering studies in Australia” Accessed 16th May 2011 http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au
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ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Kate Sykes - careermums.com.au
The flexibility discussion has moved on to ‘how do we do it well?’ Earlier this year, around 300 delegates from all major Australian industries and employer groups attended the Australian Family Friendly Workplaces Seminar in Melbourne. I was on a panel discussing key strategies for overcoming barriers to implementing a flexible and family friendly workplace. Interestingly, digesting the concept of flexible working no longer seems to be the main challenge as it’s now acknowledged that flexible working is a mainstream offering in a modern workplace and must be utilised to attract and retain talent.
There is no doubt that this shift has been accelerated by several factors: an ageing workforce; women account for nearly half of the workplace; and a new national employment law that provides parents with children under five the right to request flexible work arrangements.
There is no doubt that this shift has been accelerated by several factors: an ageing workforce; women account for nearly half of the workplace; and a new national employment law that provides parents with children under five the right to request flexible work arrangements. So what are the latest challenges now for businesses that have embraced flexibility?
T he knowledge required to create or design a flexible role to attract new and existing employees. This involves knowledge on how to dissect the duties of a position to understand just how flexible it can be; T raining for managers on how to assess a flexible work arrangement and how to manage a flexible workforce; esigning specific employee programs for D attraction and retention purposes, such as a Working Parents Program; and L ooking beyond traditional recruitment channels to locate skilled flexible workers (because the current channels are not performing when it comes to locating quality candidates).
instructions to employees and managers on how to plan, negotiate and implement a flexible work arrangement. This will assist you in assessing if the flexible work proposal is viable or not;
E nsure you have a panel to assess flexible work arrangements. This may include the manager, an HR representative, and someone from senior management or the executive committee; E ducate employees on the type and range of flexible work arrangements that are feasible for your organisation to accommodate. This helps avoid confusion about what’s possible and what’s not; and
‘Right to request’ flexibility checklist:
Key steps to make flexibility work for your business
E nsure your organisation has an up-to-date flexible work policy that is clearly documented and communicated to all employees; ake flexibility the ‘norm’ and an entitlement M for all employees, not just your working parents. This avoids conflict issues between other employees and means everyone has an equal opportunity to work flexibly; ake available a flexible work proposal M ‘template’ or ‘form’ that provides clear
National Outlook winter 11
e willing to trial a flexible work arrangement B before refusing the employee’s request e.g. for three months;
These challenges highlight that there is a more serious approach being taken to workforce planning. It is a candidate’s market and there’s no chance of this paradigm shifting anytime soon.
What can employers do to embrace the introduction of ‘right to request’ flexibility employment law for the benefit of all?
senior managers work flexibly? Is flexibility only being offered to parents?
Publicise good examples of flexible arrangements that are working in your organisation.
esearch: Survey your employees on a R regular basis. Do you know who works for you? Are they happy? What would make them more productive? Managers at PepsiCo Australia ask their staff the following question once each year; “What is the one simple thing I can do as your manager to improve your work-life quality?” olicies and procedures: Do you have a P tele-working policy, a flexible work policy and a parental leave policy? Are they accessible to all staff? Have they been updated lately? Cultural change: Do senior level management support flexible work practices? How many
Regular training and workshops: Managers are continually named and shamed as the roadblocks to flexibility – help them. Look at the trends within your organisation. Do some teams seem to have more flexible workers than others? Why? How do you design flexible roles? How do you assess if a flexible role will work or not? echnology: This is the solution to harnessing T the future workforce. Simply having access to e-mail and the intranet isn’t enough. Technology now needs to consider two things: maintaining productivity of workers in and out of the office; and connecting team members when they’re not in the office together. ecruitment channels: Be open to hiring R flexible workers. Look at other channels such as demographically targeted job boards or recruiters that specialise in filling flexible roles (LinkedIn is a great tool) and make sure you stay in touch with employees who have moved on.
Kate Sykes Careermums.com.au
Kate Sykes is the founder of www.careermums.com.au Australia’s first dedicated careers centre and jobs board for working parents and parents returning to work. Kate is also a workforce planning specialist who provides guidance and programs for flexible working and working parents. She is a member of AHRI, the chair of the Canberra Business Council’s Workstyles Committee, and the current Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year.
ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Laura Waibel - University of technology Sydney
Mentors for female engineering and Information Technology students The Women in Engineering & IT ‘Lucy Mentoring Program’ for female students in their second or higher year of studies is an exciting initiative by the University of Technology, Sydney. It complements practice-based courses and provides students with a valuable opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with senior professionals in their fields. For mentors, it’s a great way to ‘give something back’ to the professional community.
Mentoring programs are not however, a quick or simple ‘fix’ for the retention and success of graduates. At UTS, the Lucy Mentoring Program is part of a menu of diverse outreach communications and leadership opportunities for students, all of which help to build confidence - especially for young women who find themselves in the minority. Attraction and retention Through their course, internships and mentoring experiences, students get a realistic picture of the kinds of workplaces they will be entering on graduation. Crucially for employers, students also gain an appreciation of the differences between companies and the choices they can make to find a ‘best practice’ employer. Unfortunately, research by Engineers Australia and the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA) repeatedly found that too many women’s professional experiences in engineering, science and related fields feature high levels of bullying, sexual harassment, lack of career development and unequal pay.
RTA NSW mentor, Melissa Clemens (right) with UTS student mentee, Michelle Whye
URETEK 85x210-NAT JUNE:Layout 1
Positive mentoring experiences are a great way for employers to demonstrate to the up-and -coming cohort of new engineers and scientists that times are in fact changing, and show that the industry is filling with best practice employers.
‘Best practice’ employers are those that invest in the workforce and offer conditions that enable women to grow in their field and take up opportunities with increased responsibilities. A ‘best practice’ employer provides meaningful flexible working arrangements and enables employees to engage in further study. They are often recognised through the EOWA Employer of Choice Awards. There has been a strong industry response from companies wanting to become engaged in mentoring, to help the profession and promote their business to people at the very start of their careers. In 2011 there are 22 mentors from organisations as diverse as GHD, NSW Public Works, RTA NSW, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, ING Direct, Macquarie, Merrill Lynch Bank of America and ThoughtWorks. If your organisation would like to find out more information about participating in 2012, please contact Project Coordinator, Equity & Outreach Laura.Waibel@uts.edu.au . Laura Waibel University of Technology Sydney
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ACHIEVING DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Dr Marlene Kanga - ICWES
ICWES: Celebrating the achievements of women engineers and scientists For the first time since its inception in 1964, the triennial International Conference for Women Engineers and Scientists will be held in the southern hemisphere – right here in Adelaide. The conference theme is Leadership, Innovation, Sustainability and will showcase female leaders in science and engineering organisations from Australia and around the world. The conference program will build on the success of the 2007 Year of Women in Engineering to attract, retain, support and celebrate women in the engineering profession. The importance of celebrating women Women represent less than 10 per cent of the engineering workforce in Australia - one of the lowest participation rates of women across all professions.
A wide cross-section of delegates is expected with participation from over 30 countries including many from developing countries, whose attendance is being supported by UNESCO. The conference will also feature the first ever meeting of member organisations from the Asia Pacific region. The Hon. Kate Ellis, Australian Federal Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare and Minister for the Status of Women will deliver the opening address.
What’s on at ICWES15?
The impressive list of keynote speakers at the event includes: Janet Holmes à Court AC (Chair of the John Holland Group); Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRSE, (a discoverer of radio pulsars); Dr. María Jesús Prieto-Laffargue, (a telecommunications engineer and the first female President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations); and Professor Elizabeth Taylor AO (academic and Chair of the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland).
The ICWES15 conference is a rare opportunity for women in the engineering and scientific professions to meet and learn from Australian and international female leaders. They will be inspired by their leadership journeys, innovations and recommendations for a sustainable future.
The conference program will appeal to delegates from both industry and academia. Well known science broadcaster, Bernie Hobbs will facilitate discussions with invited speakers on the conference themes of leadership, innovation and sustainability, and a ‘CEO circle’ panel discussion will have a special focus on leadership.
Ensuring more women join and remain in the profession is vital from a social equity viewpoint, and is a great way to help address the shortage of people with engineering and scientific skills.
Professional development opportunities will abound at the conference, with technical sessions, workshops, opportunities for mentoring, and discussions of leadership and workplace practices and gender issues. And of course, technical site visits will be held around Adelaide. Local high school students will be getting involved via the Future Minds Expo. This unique event will bring school students together with established female engineers and scientists to discuss career options and hopefully attract a few new women to a career in science and engineering! Learn more ICWES15 is hosted by the Engineers Australia National Committee for Women in Engineering and the International Network for Women Engineers and Scientists. For more information on the conference and registration instructions, visit www.icwes15.org. Dr Marlene Kanga Dr. Marlene Kanga has been a member of the Engineers Australia Council since November 2007. She is currently the Councillor Responsible for Finance and Co-Chair of the ICWES15 Conference. She was Chair of the National Committee for Women in Engineering in 2008 and 2009.
Engineers Australia – Women in Engineering The Engineers Australia National Committee for Women in Engineering has a program to attract and support women in the engineering profession. Female members have increased by 47 per cent over the past three years and are expected to comprise 11 per cent of the membership by mid-2011. The Committee provides tools for women that include a CD with information for girls on engineering as a career, a professional development workshop developed specifically for women in the engineering profession and leadership scholarships. The Engineers Australia Career Break Policy supports members with reduced Continuing Professional Development requirements while they are on a career break for family and other reasons. Women engineers at the WiSE Summit, 11 April 2011, Parliament House Canberra. From left to right: Professor Mary O’Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer, Dr. Marlene Kanga, Dr. Olivia Mirza and Ms. Gaye Francis.
National Outlook Autumn 11
For more information, contact the Engineers Australia Women in Engineering team at email@example.com.
Aditi Acharya - Parsons Brinckerhoff
Investing in women generates benefits for all In 2009, in the Australia-Pacific operations of global infrastructure consultancy, Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), female employee turnover was close to 30 per cent higher than male turnover figures. Less than a year later, this gap had been reduced by 50 per cent, prompting the question – what changed? The answer was that senior management committed to a greater investment in initiatives to create an inclusive culture by valuing and promoting women in PB’s business. While there is still more work that needs to be done, these measurable outcomes demonstrate positive transformation on a commercial and cultural level. PB Women’s Network To ensure it builds on this initial success, PB is continuing to investigate the reasons for the gap between male and female retention rates, and effective ways to remove the disparity. One example is PB’s newly established Women’s Network, which aims to create a constructive, supportive and flexible environment for women to succeed, and help women develop to their full potential. PB’s Group People Executive, Jo Conradi; has close involvement with the PB Women’s Network in the Australia-Pacific region. “PB has a Women’s Network in each main region of our business globally (UK, US, Middle East, Asia, and Australia-New Zealand),” said Ms Conradi. “Across all regions, there is a strong unity of purpose and goals to be achieved. Whilst we might use different words, our intention is the same: to create and strengthen an inclusive work culture by attracting, developing, valuing and promoting women in our business.”
Currently only 160 businesses globally have signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principals. While this is a start, more business leaders need to step up to the plate, embrace the Women’s Empowerment Principles and make them part and parcel of their strategies and operations.
In a practical sense, they offer businesses a framework to ensure a holistic and valuesbased strategy towards gender diversity. PB is one of only four companies in Australia, and the first engineering firm globally to sign up to the Principles. By taking a public lead in supporting the Principles, the company has affirmed a formal declaration of their intention and commitment to all employees and clients.
Women’s Empowerment Principles
“Gender diversity can be such an emotive and personal issue. The Women’s Empowerment Principles challenges us to broaden our thinking and provide us with an external point of reference to guide our decisions and actions,” said Ms Conradi.
An equally important factor in driving the visibility and success of such initiatives is the buy-in and commitment of senior leaders.
Mr Mantle, believes becoming a signatory is a smart move for PB’s people and a smart move for business.
PB Managing Director, Jim Mantle took a significant step by signing the CEO Statement of Support for the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles.
“Engineering and infrastructure consultancies are traditionally male-dominated, but there is no logic in drawing from half the talent pool to design and deliver major projects,” said Mr Mantle.
The Principles, a result of collaboration between the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), are a set of seven values which guide high-level corporate leadership for gender equality, equal treatment of all women and men at work, and the health, safety and well-being of all employees.
“Empowering women in the workforce helps our business perform better and provides us with greater opportunity to respond to resource shortages and a competitive labour market.
National Outlook winter 11
“Ensuring we invest in women and that we foster an environment that enables women to powerfully participate is especially important for industry leaders.”
“Our growth strategy requires a new and different focus, which means our leadership talent and team needs a new and different focus if we are to get there. Ensuring we are empowering women to be part of this change is critical to our success.” PB’s commitment PB has numerous programs, policies and practices in place that exemplify their alignment to the Women’s Empowerment Principals. Examples include:
n active drive to recruit female leaders and A setting gender leadership targets;
Support for carer responsibilities;
Enabling success for part-time managers;
‘Whole of Life’ strategy and program A enabling flexible working arrangements and employment conditions; Increased paid maternity allowance of 16 weeks for permanent female employees; mentoring program which pairs women A with other female role models and mentors both from within PB and externally; strong focus on realising women’s A leadership potential as part of the Accelerated Development Program; talent management strategy including A success profiles for each capability and role type within the organisation ;
oaching clinics to encourage a coaching C approach to leading and managing people; Sponsorship of the International Conference for Women’s Engineers and Scientists; onsiderations in the development and C implementation of employee value proposition and recruitment campaigns; and nnual Equal Opportunity for Women in the A Workplace Agency (EOWA) reporting.
Currently, only 160 businesses globally have signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principals. While this is a start, more business leaders need to step up to the plate, embrace the Women’s Empowerment Principles and make them part and parcel of their strategies and operations. Changing the statistics PB adopted a formal proactive approach to attracting and retaining more women in their workforce because it made business sense. In the Australia-Pacific region, talent is scarce and
Instead of drawing leadership talent from the entire employee pool of their organisation, most organisations select 90 per cent of their managers from just 50 per cent of their employee pool – the male 50 per cent.
the business needs to use 100 per cent of the available workforce, not 50 per cent. In his book, The Stupid Curve former Deloitte Chairman, Mike Cook discusses the tendency of companies to waste their female employees’ talent as they moved up the management ladder.
Instead of drawing leadership talent from the entire employee pool of their organisation, most organisations select 90 per cent of their managers from just 50 per cent of their employee pool – the male 50 per cent. PB Director of People, Deborah Burt said the firm has put a strategy in place to create an ‘intelligent curve’. It’s called Realising Women’s Potential. “We have been very active for 18 months and can demonstrate a number of initiatives that show good potential,” said Ms Burt. “We are also deeply aware of how complex this issue is and how much more work we need to do. The company is committed to this strategy and I’m personally making it a priority.” It is the commitment of PB’s senior leaders that will generate positive outcomes for the firm’s entire business. For more information on the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles, visit w w w.unifem.org. au /LiteratureRetrieve. aspx?ID=69759 Aditi Acharya Parsons Brinckerhoff
Women’s Emporwerment Principles - UNIFEM
winter 11 National Outlook
Tim Dilnot - SKM
SKM achieves Employer of Choice for Women status Leading projects firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has been awarded Employer of Choice for Women status by the Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) in Australia. This achievement is a direct result of SKM offering women a ‘seat at the table’ to assist in identifying and implementing change around diversity.
networking and thought leadership events along the theme of diversity. As part of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, SKM hosted a large number of internal and external events across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Asia.
SKM CEO and Managing Director, Paul Dougas is delighted with the recognition which he describes as a, “Significant acknowledgement of SKM’s efforts over the past five years to improve diversity within its global business.” In 2006, SKM established the Women in Consulting (WiC) group to drive greater female participation in the business, particularly at senior levels, through engagement with staff and providing input to policy. This has since extended to global and regional diversity committees, whose remit is to identify and formulate policy around encouraging greater cultural, gender and age diversity within the business. “We have introduced many policies and practices to attract, retain, support and encourage our staff, male and female, to work in an environment which is high-performing, rewarding, flexible and inclusive,” said Mr Dougas. “We also strive to recognise people’s skills and achievements in the workplace and their responsibilities outside of work, particularly towards family.” “Some of these initiatives include paid parental leave, flexible working arrangements, development and mentoring for high potentials, and diversity on our recruitment panels.” According to Mr Dougas, the results are already evident.
As at February 2011, 15 per cent of SKM management roles globally were held by women, including one female leadership team appointment as a direct report to the CEO in 2010. More crucially, 23 per cent of team leader roles, which are considered the feeder roles to management level, are held by women globally. SKM’s Board consists of three female directors (two executives and one non-executive), representing 37.5 per cent of Board membership. In 2010, 32 per cent of new hires within the firm were female, and the variance between female and male attrition rates had narrowed. A focus on cultural diversity, including a widelyimplemented Cultural Awareness Program, has resulted in greater mobility of staff across SKM’s global regions. Currently, 28 per cent of SKM’s staff are located outside Australia. SKM also identifies opportunities to promote and encourage diversity outside of its own operations, offering clients support in establishing similar diversity groups, and hosting
As part of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, SKM hosted a large number of internal and external events across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Asia.
National Outlook winter 11
In July this year, SKM will be sponsoring the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (in Adelaide) as a demonstration of commitment to encouraging female participation in the engineering and science professions.
Tim Dilnot SKM
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kane Downsett - GHD
Diversity and workforce participation Leading engineering, architectural and environmental professional services company, GHD harnesses more than 6,000 people across the globe to impact the communities in which it operates. In 2009, GHD set a strategy that embraced a strengthening of a client-centred culture, and ‘One GHD’ approach to the business - an aspiration to work as a genuinely integrated practice, putting the best people on projects, regardless of location. With a network of more than 100 offices, GHD’s talent pool is deep, yet that depth of talent moves beyond geography. GHD General Manager People, David Beech said, “We have recruited a robust 170 graduates across Australia and New Zealand in the past year, up from just under 150 last year, including engineers, architects and environmental scientists.”
Currently only 160 businesses globally have signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principals. Whilst this is a start, more business leaders need to step up to the plate, embrace the Women’s Empowerment Principles and make them part and parcel of their strategies and operations.
“Our female graduates make up almost 35 per cent of this year’s intake. “There are 13 English/Chinese speaking recruits amongst our new team members, which is a direct reflection of our focus on our Chinese
business and the Chinese investors in the Australian resources industry.”
The community and societal benefits to both projects is evident.
GHD in the Community, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, enables GHD to assist developing communities, provides immediate support to those affected by catastrophic events and assists a range of not-for-profit organisations to further their cause.
“Having undertaken training in site supervision and field work in the mining industry, these employees are well suited to our core offering in the region,” said Mr Clarke.
As part of the GHD in the Community program, the company is now supporting Indigenous Leadership Development through a partnership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. GHD in the Community has impacted a variety of communities both locally and abroad, including the support of an Indigenous community in Lightning Ridge, in regional New South Wales. The GHD team conducted a 12-month training and mentoring program in Lightning Ridge to transfer project management skills to a building construction team. This initiative allowed GHD’s people a more thorough understanding of the needs of indigenous communities, whilst providing locals with skills to enable independent community growth. As part of an alliance team, GHD is currently undertaking design work for infrastructure, headworks and subdivision works, along with site supervision for construction in remote communities. GHD Northern Territory Manager, David Clarke said, “We have actively recruited indigenous people as survey field assistants over the past months. They are now working with the view to become full time employees.” 22
National Outlook winter 11
“Given that these recruits are familiar with the surrounds, and understand the cultural nuances within indigenous communities, our clients and teams on the ground benefit greatly from having them on Board.” For GHD, the utilisation of diverse resources goes beyond the appeal to clients in the tender process. “There is increasingly an expectation that consultants will contribute to local development, and plan to engage the indigenous workforce,” said Mr Clarke. “For us, this mirrors what we do across the globe, developing our people’s skills and creating opportunities for the employment and education of local residents.”
Kane Downsett GHD
Strategic Leadership and Service Excellence: Driving Engineering Business Success A three-day residential management course focused on business excellence for engineers and other technical professionals. When: Where:
12-14 September 2011 Melbourne Business School
FEATURING: Business management, professional service and value creation, leadership and new key topics, including Business Models, Marketing and business development, operational & service excellence. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: This program addresses the core issue for engineers: how to create additional value for clients, and therefore drive the volume and price of professional services up for your firm/department. In many other industries, leading companies have found ways to break out of their traditional constraints and turn ‘ordinary’ businesses into extra-ordinary value creating organisations. There is no reason why astute engineers cannot achieve this. We will feature in our studies and discussions, companies that ‘stand out’ from which we can learn and then apply core principles that work. On top of the business fundamentals of acute customer focus, powerful business strategies, process and operational excellence and staff participation with high levels of commitment and motivation, these industry leaders have implemented management systems and principles that have taken them ahead of the pack. Our program will provide engineers with a very clear view of the principles behind that success, and a framework to assess their organisations against these principles, so that business improvement and innovation initiatives can be identified and implemented.
In summary, the program objective is to clearly and concisely identify for participants, the leading edge business management principles and practices that work to provide a competitive edge in the engineering market place.
KEY TOPICS: Leadership of the service focused organisation Best Business Practices in Engineering The Principles of Service Excellence Advanced Service Company Practices Marketing and Differentiated Pricing Attracting and retaining the right clients Teamwork and Service Operations Strategic Business Improvement Measuring and Reporting Performance Practical Case Studies of service excellence Financial management of an engineering business Business strategy and development.
proudly PRESENTED BY consult australia For further information, a full brochure and to book places, contact the program director, Professor Danny Samson, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 0438782866
Jessica Farquhar - Robogals Perth
Robogals WA - Engineering the Way Forward The words ‘females’ and ‘engineers’ are seldom found in the same sentence, unless separated by the word ‘aren’t’. At The University of Western Australia, a group of students have come together to challenge the stereotype that engineering is predominantly a male profession. Through innovative robotics workshops at schools and enthralling stalls at science fairs, this relatively new organisation has already made an impact on hundreds of female students. We are the Western Australian chapter of Robogals, and yes, we are female engineers. The concept of Robogals was a response to the disappointingly low rate of female enrolment in engineering courses at university. The average enrolment rate is approximately 14 per cent and has remained this low since the 1990s, despite escalating demands and opportunities for engineering graduates.
Too many girls are hesitant to choose engineering as a course of study because of a lack of exposure in schools. We strive to inform girls, especially those who are interested in maths and science, that engineering is an interesting, challenging and innovative career choice. Over the last two years, Robogals WA has been involved in a wide range of events. These include regular school visits, regional science fairs in Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, and community outreach events on campus. The events we host and attend have helped us immensely in accumulating an increasing amount of recognition. All activities conducted by Robogals WA are run by enthusiastic university volunteers and are not just limited to the faculty of engineering.
rewarding, with a large number of girls eager to talk to our volunteers and learn more about engineering.
Our fundamental activity is visiting schools to hold fun and educational robotics workshops for female students who are at upper primary school level.
The event was so successful that Robogals WA was featured in The Geraldton Guardian and on the ABC Midwest & Wheatbelt radio.
These workshops incorporate the building and programming of LEGO Mindstorm NXT robots. This provides the girls with an innovative and interesting introduction into the world of engineering. It also gives us the opportunity to answer any questions the girls may have about studying engineering.
When asked about their favourite stalls, one girl said, “Mine would have to be the Robogals. They’re quite fun and the robots are really interesting. They were fighting the robots and it was really interesting to watch and to find out how they were made.” Crowds of kids gathered around our stall chanting “ROBOT FIGHT! ROBOT FIGHT!”
Robogals Perth from left to right: Jessica Farquhar, Adina Lieblich and Emma Norton
Schools are eager to be involved with our free robotics workshops and Robogals has received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Robogals was founded in 2008 at The University of Melbourne by engineering student Marita Cheng and the then Head of Electrical Engineering A/Prof. Jamie Evans.
Class teacher at Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Karen Woods said, “The girls had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the challenge of putting together their own robot. The UWA girls ran the programme brilliantly. They were so enthusiastic and professional.”
After hearing about Robogals in late 2009, and after experiencing low enrolments of female students in engineering firsthand, female students from UWA were inspired to start their own chapter. Robogals has expanded phenomenally and currently has twelve chapters globally, including in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. As female engineering students, we are aware that the industry is enthusiastic for more women in engineering however, we are even more aware of the lack of female students in these courses. Our mission is to therefore make young women more aware of engineering, science and technology courses as options for them at university. 24
National Outlook winter 11
Robogals WA has found that participating in science fairs and festivals has allowed us to make a larger impact on the community. We hold stalls at regular university events on campus such as O-Day Festival, Open Day and Women’s Week. One of our biggest events is Scitech Science Awareness Week. In April 2011, Robogals WA attended the Scitech Science Awareness Festival in Geraldton. We held a stall where the high school students could get involved in various activities. There were exciting demonstrations with our robots, fun science quizzes with loads of prizes and freebies to giveaway. This event was particularly
After interacting with over a thousand students, their parents and teachers, we found that an approximately equal number of girls and boys expressed interest in science and maths. We aim to translate that into the same proportion of enrolments in engineering courses. Robogals WA’s participation in Scitech’s Science Awareness Festival was only made possible thanks to Sinosteel Midwest, and local firm MSP Engineering has also supported past events. We rely heavily on the generosity of sponsors to continue to attend and host more events like these and make an impact within the community. Exciting robotics workshops combined with the enthusiasm of our student volunteers mean that Robogals WA is instrumental in efforts to raise the number of girls who choose to enter the fields of engineering, science and technology. To get involved or learn http://perth.robogals.org.au/. Jessica farquhar robogals perth
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Ellen Hynes (right) loading supplies for communities isolated during Typhoon Parma in the Philippines. Of the 56 deployments last financial year 27 were undertaken by women. First mission deployments totalled 23, a pleasing balance of opportunity for both the experienced and the less experienced within the standby register.
RedR Australia diversifies in the face of changing need As the RedR system evolved, it became apparent that to be effective the organisation needed to either initiate its own field operations or become associated with official organisations already mandated to coordinate relief action in the field.
the suffering of survivors. Bring forward the data gatherers and managers.
aspects in the complex jigsaw puzzle which is the world international and disaster response.
Every humanitarian crisis casts up people more vulnerable than others; people with disabilities, the elderly, unaccompanied minors, and women, the frequent targets of gender-based and sexual violence.
Having been directly involved or associated with major disasters at various stages since 1978, for both Red Cross and RedR Australia, I have lost count of the times senior officials leading relief actions have spontaneously asked, “Can you find us more Aussies?”
The latter option was the logical choice and RedR Australia is now a Standby Partner of four United Nations agencies: UNICEF; The World Food Programme: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, known as OCHA.
Based on UN agency calls, RedR Australia has recruited and prepared special protection staff to provide support to people unable to protect themselves in a range of crisis situations.
The UN calls for specialist engineers (civil, telecom, shelter, electrical, roads, bridges, airstrips and project managers, among others) to deliver their expertise in both the immediate post-impact phase of a crisis, and in the period of re-building which follows.
Diversification of response in accordance with need is a ‘no-brainer’. While engineering responses will always be central to the RedR Australia mandate, related humanitarian needs call for other complementary contributors if one is truly placing the needs of victims first.
Via RedR Australia, literally hundreds of assignments have been undertaken in Africa and Asia in particular. Natural disasters in the islands of the South West Pacific have also been addressed, including the Haiti earthquake of January 2010.
And people change and develop capability. Engineers in the RedR Australia team have acquired extra skills and become logisticians once they have learned of the needs and picked up the skills to enable them to organise food drops to flood victims in Pakistan.
Though some might like to believe otherwise, sending engineers to the rescue is not enough! Other disciplines are needed to perform the logistics of getting food, clean water, medicine, shelter material and various non-perishable items like cooking pots from points of supply to areas of need. Logisticians have joined the RedR Australia squad of responders.
Water engineers have added new level of awareness to their ability to move water from place to place, so as to be more effective in field operations by addressing water chemistry, sanitation and waste disposal. They’ve gained a valuable education in the importance of ensuring clean water remains free of contamination.
Clean water, the most basic element of every disaster (natural or manmade), is a public health issue and usually a chemical issue too. Step up specialists in water, sanitation and hygiene.
Engineers have become site planners, assessing where to locate a shelter for thousands of displaced people, where to position the latrines and the shower blocks, how best to ensure access for heavy vehicles ferrying food and water.
Information based on the collection of data, generally mapped to capture areas of greatest need, and the basis for the distribution of relief supplies, is an integral component of all relief work and the key to saving lives and mitigating
Specialist engineering talent is valuable within itself. More useful are the additional, ‘all-rounder’ abilities of a generalist, who recognises the value of coordinated effort and can see how other responses piece together with the engineering
It seems that Australians in relief work have a reputation of making quality contributions, and giving that hard-to-define ‘little bit extra’ to help a field colleague who is under pressure, or uncertain how to solve a problem. ‘Flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ are adjectives often applied to Australians in the field. In 2008, OCHA and UNHCR independently wrote to the Australian Government, commending contributions of people mobilised by RedR Australia. They expressed their hope that Australia’s foreign aid programme might include additional funding to enable RedR Australia to get more carefully-selected, professionally-prepared Aussies into lifesaving field action in future. The disaster and emergency horizon looks very bleak indeed if the events in Haiti, Pakistan and, as this is written, North Africa and the Middle East are to be taken as a guide. Diversity and flexibility will be needed in enormous quantities to mitigate the impact of tragedies which undoubtedly lie ahead. Alan McLean CEO RedR Australia
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Hand in Hand supporting Habitat for Humanity
100 Australian women raised money to build 250 homes, got their hands dirty and celebrated 100 years of International Women’s Day. On 8 March, women around the world celebrated 100 years of International Women’s Day. In Nepal, 100 Australian women spent the day building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Among those taking part were some of Australia’s leading female engineers, supported by their firms (including ARUP, Parsons Brinkerhoff and Sinclair Knight Merz). They were participating in a very special project called Hand in Hand. Hand in Hand was conceived over 12 months ago by Habitat for Humanity Australia CEO, Jo Brennan who wanted to take 100 Australian women to Nepal. “Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia, where half the population earns less than one dollar a day,” said Ms Brennan. “Many of the households are headed by women who are doubly oppressed - their average life expectancy is as low as 52 years. “Those living in rural areas are expected to take care of their families and do the majority of
housekeeping and farming. They are often abandoned by their husbands and fathers. “We wanted to do something memorable, tangible and lasting to mark International Women’s Day in Nepal, and we knew we would have no trouble finding the right Australian women with the right attitude to help us. “We were not looking for women who were trained in construction, simply those who had the determination and resilience to make this happen.” The 10 homes built over the course of that week were the first of 250. What’s most remarkable is that these 100 Australian women also raised the money to build 250 homes in their entirety.
In Itahari, where Habitat for Humanity Australia is building these houses, people live in terrible conditions, sharing rudimentary huts with no toilet facilities. These houses provide no security, leaving families vulnerable to illness and theft. Children are particularly exposed to disease and exploitation, and are likely to forego educational opportunities so they can help contribute to the family income. Following the success of the Hand in Hand Nepal Build, Habitat for Humanity Australia’s next big build – the Nine Dragons Build - is scheduled from 2 to 11 December 2011 in Southern Vietnam. The week-long build will be in southern Vietnam and the team will build homes alongside families in need who have been impacted by climate change. Habitat for Humanity Australia are looking for at least 70 individuals to join this very special journey and give families living in poverty a ‘hand up’ into a safe and decent place to live. Please register to attend at www.habitat.org. au/eatbuildlaugh. Habitat for Humanity also plans to run Hand in Hand again in March 2012 for the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day. For more information or to register your interest, visit www.habitat.org.au/handinhand.
Hand in Hand Build Nepal 2011
National Outlook winter 11
economics & taxation station
A Blueprint for Services Services account for more than 75 per cent of Australia’s output; more than a quarter of the nations’ total exports; and almost four in every five jobs created in the economy*. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Service Industries Blueprint, or The Blueprint as it’s often called, aims to better understand the characteristics of the services sector and ensure that Australia adopts the appropriate policy settings to deal with the challenges confronting services. Services in Australia are often misunderstood in terms of their significant contribution to the economy, which is frequently characterised in terms of goods manufacturing or commodities. To contribute to an improved understanding of the role of services, The Blueprint focuses specifically on six service industries: 1) Construction services 2) Business services
we provided information on procurement and allocation of risk, skills shortages, and infrastructure funding and development. The Blueprint is a valuable contribution to the development of more comprehensive government policy responding to the needs of the services sector. It serves to highlight the valuable contribution of services to the Australian economy Australia’s services sector is highly innovative. In 2007-08, businesses in services industries spent $5.7 billion on R&D*. Services trade has outpaced the growth in goods trade due to advances in information and communication technologies*.
6) Higher education services
The Blueprint sets out over 80 recommendations supporting a stronger services sector through: tax and broad-based regulatory reform; national harmonisation; government assistance and support; industrial relations reform; access to skills; improved procurement methodologies; investment in higher education; and support for greater investment in services industries.
Drawing on our 2010 Outlook report, Consult Australia (a member of ACCI), was pleased to provide for inclusion in The Blueprint an overview of consulting services and the current key challenges facing our sector. In particular,
Consult Australia believes a stronger focus on services as a whole will have substantive benefits for our members as major contributors to Australia’s domestic services industries and strong exporters of consulting services.
3) Tourism and event services 4) Accommodation, restaurant and catering services 5) Distributive (wholesale and retail) trade services
In addition to contributing to the development of The Blueprint, Consult Australia is also an active member of the Australian Services Roundtable, the peak body for Australian services industries. ASR continues to advocate for: trade liberalisation for services; improved domestic understanding of the services sector; stronger educational outcomes supporting services; and a focus by government on services innovation, R&D and red-tape reduction. * The ACCI Service Industries Blueprint is available at: www.acci.asn.au.
winter 11 National Outlook
economics & taxation station
BUILDING CONFIDENCE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL The 2011 Federal Budget addressed a number of Consult Australia’s priorities and reflected many of our specific recommendations for reform, particularly in relation to infrastructure funding and mechanisms governing infrastructure development. In the face of constrained spending, the Government both maintained and increased funds available for infrastructure projects of national significance. A strong regional focus was to be expected, given the current balance of power held by the regional independents, and there is much more to be done. But the Budget takes some vital next steps towards meeting a substantial infrastructure deficit. Consult Australia is a long-standing supporter of Infrastructure Australia (IA) and we were pleased to see increasing funds to strengthen its role. The commitment for IA to work more closely with the states and territories and industry
to promote better targeted investments in infrastructure linked to national priorities will help ensure the best value for money for the tax-payer. This, alongside the publication of cost benefit analyses and a commitment to undertake evaluations of infrastructure postbuild, will support a longer-term understanding of the value of our infrastructure investment. See the accompanying box for more information on the new role for Infrastructure Australia and its most significant new responsibilities announced as part of this year’s Budget.
An Infrastructure Investment Incentive Package The Government’s expanded role for IA was part of a new Infrastructure Investment Incentive Package. A key feature of the Package was a new tax incentive, encouraging private sector investment in infrastructure through new provisions reforming the treatment of losses relating to designated infrastructure projects. Losses generated by projects designated as nationally
significant will be exempt from the Continuity of Ownership Test and the Same Business Test, and uplifted at the government bond rate to mitigate any erosion in the value of the tax loss over the long lead times of a project. Total investment under this incentive is capped at $25 billion.
Consult Australia recommended: Increased funding supporting the delivery of nationally significant infrastructure projects. Commenting on the new initiative, accounting and advisory network BDO observes this initiative as a positive step, noting that the industry has long been concerned that investors may wait
for several years until an infrastructure project starts generating income before early stage tax losses could be utilised:
‘If there is a change in ownership of an infrastructure project and change in business, this could mean that owners will not be able to access substantial start up losses due to the operation of tax loss recoupment rules. The Budget proposes to enact measures to repeal these rules for certain infrastructure projects to improve certainty for investors.’ (BDO, Federal Budget 2011: Walking the line; www.bdo.com.au)
National Outlook winter 11
economics & taxation station A National Urban Agenda The Government’s Budget statements signalled the imminent release of the National Urban Policy, providing a snapshot of the Government’s intention to take a stronger role in cities policy. Consult Australia, through the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), continues to support the creation of Federal Minister for Cities and Urban Development to better connect urban built environment policies and programs across all levels of government. Alongside the Government’s Sustainable Population Strategy, these policies combined should provide a stronger framework for a sustainable Australia. This forward agenda was supported through the Budget with additional funding of $10.1 million over four years, provided to improve the availability of information and data relating to sustainability. We are concerned however, that this timeframe and allocation of resources does not reflect the urgency with which these issues must be addressed. The parallel development of sustainability indicators is an important mechanism to benchmark our performance, but must also be prioritised. The development of a $20 million Urban Renewal Fund will help improve the planning and design of urban areas through demonstration projects but again, a greater financial commitment is required to leverage the lessons learned from such projects to create real long-term change for a more sustainable urban Australia. Skills Skills were also a strong focus of spending in the Budget, with a particular focus on the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. In addition to VET skills, the newly announced National Workforce and Productivity Agency, and National Workforce Development Fund must focus on opportunities to release the long-term supply of professional services working in the built environment. Consult Australia was pleased to see new initiatives and reform improving the short-term supply of skilled workers. These initiatives are
Consult Australia recommended: sufficient funding such that Department of Immigration and Citizenship visa application processing teams have enough staff to ensure that temporary working visas are processed swiftly.
critical to meet an increasing skills shortage that risks the delivery of projects relying on consulting services. Additional resources to fast-track 457 visa applications; fast-track permanent residency for 457 visa holders in regional Australia; increased 457 places in regional resource projects; and increased support skill vacancies in major resource projects with Enterprise Migration Agreements are critical to the ongoing supply of consulting services in the built and natural environment. Consult Australia recommended: sufficient funding such that Department of Immigration and Citizenship visa application processing teams have enough staff to ensure that temporary working visas are processed swiftly. Consult Australia welcomes funding to realise the election commitment to the Teach Next initiative: providing a new pathway for professionals with specialist qualifications to move into teaching. Teach Next is a great opportunity to address teacher shortages in specialised subject areas such as mathematics and science where further resources are critical to the long-term supply of consulting professionals working in the built and natural environment. Consult Australia has long advocated for additional programs to support the supply of teachers in these disciplines and to bridge the gap between industry and education.
Consult Australia welcomes funding to realise the election commitment to the Teach Next initiative: providing a new pathway for professionals with specialist qualifications to move into teaching.
Consult Australia is pleased to see increased funding for regional universities, but is disappointed that more funding has not been made available to higher education across Australia. Increased funding in engineering and related disciplines is critical to our long-term supply of world-class graduates and the success of industries that service the built environment and natural environment. Ongoing work The higher than expected deficit, outlined in this year’s Budget forecasts, demonstrates the challenges currently facing the economy. Both industry and the community continue to grapple with the recovery from a summer of natural disasters and a patchwork economy across the states. However, the resources boom continues to position Australia as a leading world economy and presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for investment and reform that respond to the challenges of climate change, economic growth, and demographic change in the decades ahead. Those recommendations advocated by Consult Australia, as noted in these pages, and reflected in this year’s Budget are a testament to the hard work of our member firms and the representation they provide on our Policy Roundtables. Our recent work capitalising on the publication of Transporting Australia’s Future, Seizing the Sustainability Advantage, and Sydney Towards Tomorrow would not have been possible without their hard work and expertise. It is great to see this work reflected in meaningful policy outcomes and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government and the Opposition on these issues in the months and years ahead.
winter 11 National Outlook
economics & taxation station
BUDGET 2011: A new role for Infrastructure Australia A key feature of the 2011 Budget was the announcement of an enhanced role for Infrastructure Australia (IA) through an additional $36 million over four years.
Consult Australia recommended:
Consult Australia recommended:
A stronger role for Infrastructure Australia in their identification of infrastructure priorities and review of policy and regulatory reforms supporting infrastructure delivery (see our pre-budget submission).
Revitalise Private Public Partnerships reflecting the success of alliance contracting and providing rebalanced risk sharing (see Transporting Australia’s Future).
The following activities are set out in the Government’s Statement of Expectation outlining IA’s new responsibilities:
T he publication of Cost-Benefit Analyses by IA, supporting the identification of priority projects, and a commitment to undertake evaluations of infrastructure post-build.
Consult Australia recommended:
Supporting the national priority list by IA, considering the identification of where projects could be privately financed, where user charges might be considered as a means of project funding, and where alternative financing models are appropriate.
Review opportunities for pilot studies of new road pricing mechanisms (see our National Urban Policy Submission).
T he delivery of a national infrastructure construction schedule to increase investment certainty and support private sector planning. evelop and lead strategies on ‘asset sweating’ through the D Infrastructure Working Group to maximise existing infrastructure and increase their efficiency and performance.
$ 61.4 million over three years for the development of a national smart motorways trial to retrofit congested motorways in capital cities and examine the potential benefits of intelligent transport systems.
A review of the network-wide benefits and costs of introducing variable congestion pricing on existing tolled roads and of extending technology across the road network (see our pre-budget submission).
T he establishment of an infrastructure financing group of private and public sector advisers to identify further areas for work on private financing reforms.
Consult Australia recommended:
Further refine the National Public Private Partnership Policy and Guidelines, promoting best practice PPP procurement and options for private and superannuation sector investment, and identify reform to increase competition in project financing.
F urther review how key transport, communication and energy corridors, sites and buffers can be better planned, protected and managed, while minimising disruption to communities.
Consult Australia recommended: A continued emphasis towards Transit Oriented Development and ongoing work integrating land use and infrastructure planning: Prioritise and plan for the delivery of sustainable, liveable, higher density residential development in our cities alongside the delivery of essential economic infrastructure (see our National Urban Policy Submission).
Consult Australia recommended: Identify balance sheet assets that are underutilised and realise their value by sale or alternate government use (see Transporting Australia’s Future).
National Outlook winter 11
member services Business Reporting
Promoting Your Business
Economic Reports Performance Benchmarking Salary Survey Benchmarking
Consult Australia Awards for Excellence Advanced Reputation Success by Association Downloadable Logos Consult Australia Branded Contracts FIDIC Branded Contracts Graduate Guide Distributed to All Universities Member Referral Service
Events & Networking In recent times especially, Consult Australia has increased its services for members and is constantly battling on members’ behalf against regulation and legislation that has the potential to stifle business for consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment. In business, there has to be a friendly face to turn when help is needed; Consult Australia is always there for us, ready and able to help. We need Consult Australia: If there were no Consult Australia tomorrow, we would all band together to create one! Melvyn Maylin, General Manager – Australia, Opus International Consultants
Consult Australia Awards for Excellence Member Meetings University/student interaction State Annual Dinners State Branches Liability & Contracts Roundtable Skills Roundtable WH&S Roundtable Sustainability Roundtable Economics & Tax Roundtable Infrastructure Roundtable Conferences FutureNet Local CPD Seminars
Government Lobbying Contracting, Liability and Risk Workplace Health and Safety Skills Shortages, Education and Migration Procurement, Project Delivery and Registration Sustainability Taxation
Partnership Advertising Sponsorship at all levels Event/CPD Sponsorship
Workplace Relations Industrial Relations Advice Employment Policies and Documentation
Business Development Tools Practice Notes Business Tips Consult Australia Contract Consult Australia Short Form Contract Consult Australia Guide to Contract Terms: Managing Unfavourable Terms WH&S Checklist Safety in Design Pocket Guide
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Communications National Outlook Magazine Annual Report Innovate Magazine Fortnightly CE Update E-newsletter International E-newsletter HR/IR E-newsletter State Newsletters & Event Updates
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consult australia Publications Consult Australia Risk Management Guidelines for Consultants Winning Government Business – A Guide for Consulting Firms Outlook 2011 – Annual Publication Outlook 2011 – Quarterly Report
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Visa & Immigration Issues In house Department of Immigration Advisor
For further information or to apply for membership, please contact Consult Australia at www.consultaustralia.com.au
economics & taxation station
Consult Australia Outlook 2011 - AVAILABLE NOW! Consult Australia’s annual Outlook provides an unparalleled profile of the consulting industry, its forecast growth and future challenges. It establishes the environment for consulting firms and the considerable opportunities emerging in the months and years ahead. The 2011 annual edition outlines a decade of strong growth: industrial and commercial building growing by 12 per cent a year; engineering construction by 17 per cent a year; and new housing by 8 per cent a year. Even accounting for rising costs in client industries, real growth of the construction industry is still tracking at more than 8 per cent a year – over 2.5 times the rate of growth of the Australian economy. In this context, the picture that emerges is of an industry of some 47,000 firms, employing approximately 222,000 people and generating
revenues of around $40 billion a year. Nearly half of these firms are sole practitioners; and of the remainder, 94 per cent are small, employing fewer than 20 people. Only about 1,570 firms employ more than 20 people and, of these, only 78 firms employ more than 200. As a result of strong growth in the market and considerable merger and acquisition activity, the number of large firms (those employing 200 or more) has grown rapidly in recent years. The biggest 15 of these large firms rank among the thousand largest enterprises in Australia; and the biggest of all within the top 50. In light of the continuing recovery of the world economy, and of the rapid growth of our major trading partners, forecasts of future market growth are strong. For all the details in this year’s Outlook, including in-depth analysis of the real and forecast performance of firms consulting across the built environment, get your copy today. To buy online, simply visit the Consult Australia website at www.consultaustralia.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For consultants in the built and natural environment Consult Australia is giving Outlook a face-lift and new name to go along with it – from now on, it will be called Forecast. We’re not changing the content, just updating the name and the design.
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So for the same pertinent insights into the economic future and how it relates to consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment, keep an eye out for the first quarterly Forecast update, due out in June.
Local Government Specifications “The AUS-SPEC specification is updated and distributed by NATSPEC. AUS-SPEC is developed by the industry, for the industry and IPWEA encourages local councils to subscribe to the AUS-SPEC services. There is no longer any need to purchase the series upfront. This greatly improves affordability and access to the full AUS-SPEC range.” Chris Champion, IPWEA National CEO
AUS-SPEC Subscription Packages Available:
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4 “AUS-SPEC is the best tool for best practice”
4 “The new specification system Maintenance (Non Parks)
will result in greater efficiency in organising and controlling the production of specifications”
For more information visit www.NATSPEC.com.au
economics & taxation station
Steve Bonutto - RCA Solutions
Identifying strategic risk The third profit downgrade by Leighton Holdings in six months represents a turning point for the Australian construction industry and will trigger a significant change in the way that company directors identify and handle strategic risk decisions. In the boom period leading up to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), there was plentiful work and healthy margins to satisfy principals, contractors and consultants.
Strategic risk requires open and considered debate by all directors, particularly to ensure that they themselves are complying with their statutory obligation to exercise due care.
Post-GFC, a big fall in available projects and intense tender competition inevitably led to smaller margins for all. Coupled with unrealistic project timelines, this has finally resulted in a crunch throughout the industry in terms of margins, quality control and timely delivery.
To avoid any future recurrence, CEO David Stewart has created a new ‘Chief Risk Officer’ position in order to get, “More in the face of the operating companies”. Mr. Stewart stated this was necessary due to Leighton Holdings’ Board wanting more visibility on risk.
This could prove to be the sea change required to return the industry’s focus and expectations back to realistic margins, quality and project timelines. Leighton identified the Brisbane Airport Link, Victorian Desalination Projects, and the Al Habtoor Leighton Group Joint Venture (AHL) in the Middle East as the key reasons behind the April 2011 write down of approximately $1.15 billion.
Whilst there were various reasons for the write downs across all three projects, many go to the heart of strategic risk – time, risk assessment and appropriate margin. This highlights the need for Board members to adopt a top-down approach to identifying and assessing real risks to the business.
There is little long term value in ensuring all the deckchairs are in order, if the captain is steering the ship towards an iceberg. Strategic risk requires open and considered debate by all directors, particularly to ensure that they themselves are complying with their statutory obligation to exercise due care.
A director could be exposed to personal liability in circumstances where a properly functioning RMS would have averted the loss. The issues arising from the AHL venture raise some of the typical strategic risks that require Board consideration before entering a foreign country. Some important questions to consider include:
National Outlook winter 11
If strategic risks are not robustly identified and dealt with, then regardless of what else might be done, a company can only be heading towards a downward trend in the medium to long term.
Additionally, an effective risk management system (RMS) owned at Board level should be put in place to deal with all material risks facing the business.
principal Australian business remains legally and financially quarantined?
ave you created a separate legal ‘vehicle’ H for the foreign business to ensure that the
Is there sovereign risk? Is the country stable? What is the likelihood of war or terrorism (both excluded under professional indemnity policies)? Are laws and the courts considered fair and equitable and able to be relied upon in the event of a dispute? re your employees safe? Companies owe A a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of its employees. Are there appropriate controls to notify staff of the need to evacuate urgently, and to be contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade? hat is the necessary margin required to W justify the entry into a foreign country? o you need to agree a stop loss position, so D that if the foreign venture reaches a certain loss position, the venture will be wound up?
There is a reasonable prospect that there will be more pain to come for construction and consultancy businesses engaged in the Middle East. At the very least, payment delays and bad debts being experienced by Leighton will have a material flow on effect to all subcontractors and consultants and test their medium to long term commitment in the region. So, what are the three biggest risks to your business, and what are you doing about them?
Steve Bonutto RCA Solutions
Thanks to all those who supported
built environment 2050: trends for the future
Towards Proportionate Liability Reform When the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) agreed to introduce national proportionate liability legislation for damages for economic loss or property damage, their intention was that it would be nationally consistent. This intention was never fulfilled, partially because SCAG didn’t formally consider ‘contracting out’ of proportionate liability, and as a result, the approach to this issue differs between jurisdictions. This inconsistency has created an environment that allows forum shopping and lengthy and costly litigation and concerns over the clarity and effectiveness of certain provisions. It also means that proportional liability legislation effectively hasn’t replaced joint and several liability in Australia. Joint and several liability or ‘deep pocket syndrome’ as it has been labelled, is not equitable for all parties and results in an unfair allocation of risk to the detriment of the consultant. Consult Australia firmly believes that consultants should only be responsible for their individual apportionment of the damage. It is also unfair to contractually hold a consultant liable for another party’s risk that they cannot control or mitigate. By contracting out of proportionate liability legislation, consultants are unfairly required to bare the risk of not being able to recover payment contributions from a fellow defendant who may be unable to pay owing to insolvency, or lack of insurance cover. Consultants also bare the risk of not being covered by their professional indemnity insurance if they enter into contracts requiring joint and several liability or greatly increasing the excess payable if a claim is made.
Proportionate liability lowers the cost of doing business for consultants and is important to fostering a sustainable building and construction industry. Consult Australia does not support the inclusion of terms in contracts that require consultants to waive the right to the safeguards contained in the proportionate liability legislation.
Joint and several liability allows consultants to be singled out as the sole target for legal action in proceedings, even though they were only one of the parties involved and may have contributed in a small way to the loss. The viability of the professional consultancy in the built and natural environment is threatened by the cost and difficulty of obtaining suitable professional indemnity insurance. Part of this cost results from the application of joint and several liability.
Proportionate liability lowers the cost of doing business for consultants and is important to fostering a sustainable building and construction industry. Consult Australia does not support the inclusion of terms in contracts that require consultants to waive the right to the safeguards contained in the proportionate liability legislation. Consult Australia notes that SCAG is reviewing the current national legislative framework on proportionate liability and will make recommendations for achieving greater national consistency in proportionate liability legislation and consider options for contracting out of proportionate liability provisions. Consult Australia supports national consistency in proportionate liability legislation and that contracting out is expressly prohibited.
Nelson de Sousa
National Outlook winter 11
Wendy Poulton - planned professional risk services
RISK MANAGEMENT IN UNCERTAIN TIMES The GFC had barely got its own acronym when experts began to forecast that it was almost over. Now it appears that recovery may not be as close as first thought. And even once the end is in sight, it will take months of rebuilding, and the revival of the global credit market, before the construction industry regains full strength. The return to growth poses a new set of challenges and opportunities. Now is a good time to plan for growth, and to check that good systems are in place to ride out the remainder of the downturn. Planning for growth Many businesses have used the slowdown as an opportunity to restructure their practices and their staff. They have also improved their systems for billing and financial management. The lessons of the GFC should not be forgotten, and these improved systems should be retained and refined as work picks up. With growth comes increased pressure on staff and resources. In the boom of the last few years, many practices grew quickly, struggling to find the staff to maintain their project commitments. One unfortunate symptom was bottom-heavy project teams, dominated by junior staff and in some cases, lacking proper supervision. This period of consolidation will allow practices to make sure that their teams are properly balanced, headed by experienced practitioners with the time and the knowledge to monitor the whole team’s work. Growth needs careful management. Even a practice with two or three employees needs clear systems in place for key matters like billing and document management. A practice with more than ten staff needs even better systems, and probably requires a layer of management personnel to update and police those systems. A practice which anticipates growth needs those systems in place now, so that new staff can be trained to work within them from the outset. This means drawing up and reviewing office manuals and systems now, in anticipation, before the demands of rising project work interferes. Although it goes against our commercial instincts, offers of work can be refused. It is a luxury few practices could afford during the GFC, but as times improve it will again become a viable choice.
A tight economic climate heightens the risk of insolvency. Monitoring your own practice’s financial health is vital.
Continuity is best served by the original consultant team remaining with the project, but this will not always happen. When taking over another consultant’s work, it is vital to review the previous work thoroughly, correcting any deficiencies and making sure that all planning conditions are met. Fee levels for the incoming consultant should account for that additional work.
Directors who allow their companies to trade while insolvent can face personal liability, and so legal and accounting advice should be sought if this is a concern. Directors and officers insurance is a prudent protection for this kind of liability – your local branch manager at Planned Professional Risk Services can provide information about this cover.
Riding out the downturn
What about other parties’ financial health? If a client asks for your recommendation on whether the tendering builders are financially stable, advise them to make their own enquiries. You are not a financial adviser or insolvency specialist, nor would your professional indemnity insurance cover you for giving financial advice.
Clients are likely to face difficulty in obtaining credit for some time yet. We regularly see commercial clients using withheld fees to put consultants under pressure to agree to unreasonable contract terms – the larger the unpaid fees, the greater the consultant’s vulnerability to this tactic. While it is difficult to avoid this scenario entirely, its risks can be reduced by regular billing, prompt follow-up, and preventing clients from getting into the habit of paying late. Make it a term of your consultancy agreement that the client does not receive a licence to use your copyright until your fees are paid in full. Include a specific clause entitling you to suspend or terminate your services if full payment is not made. In the early stages of a project, make it a clear condition that you will only perform a fixed number of hours’ work ‘on spec’ before a having a consultancy agreement in place and sending your first invoice.
Turning down the occasional project relieves the pressure on resources and on staff. It also creates an advantage in negotiating fairer and better contract terms if the client knows that you are prepared to walk away.
Client relationships can be preserved by having an accountant or debt collector rather than the project leader follow up unpaid bills. Research on the internet and among your peers is more important than ever to investigate a new client’s reputation before starting work.
Projects which have become stalled at the planning stage because of lack of construction finance will eventually resume.
A tight economic climate heightens the risk of insolvency. Monitoring your own practice’s financial health is vital.
The builder’s insolvency can become your problem if you have over-certified completion of the works. Your client could sue you for the difference between the percentage which the client has erroneously paid to the builder, and the percentage which was actually complete. So be cautious in certifying and remember to insist on certification or a statutory declaration from the builder to confirm that its subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Builder insolvency also affects defect claims against consultants. With the builder bankrupt, clients may seek more compensation for defects from consultants. Whether it happens in two months or two years, the construction industry will return to growth. Laying the groundwork now, by refining practice systems and by managing the ongoing risks of the downturn, provides excellent foundations for success when the good times return. Wendy Poulton Planned Professional Risk Services winter 11 National Outlook
Skills and resources
Immigration tips: hiring existing 457 visa holders Competitive labour market conditions mean that overseas workers in Australia may choose to change their employment situation following their arrival. Just as Australian employees may change their employment status, so too may overseas nationals who hold a valid 457 visa. Under immigration laws, existing 457 visa holders may change employers, apply for promotion and even change roles once they commence work in Australia. The correct two step process for lawfully employing an existing 457 visa holder is as follows: 1. The new employer must become an ‘approved standard business sponsor’, which requires lodging a 457 visa sponsorship application with DIAC. If successful, sponsorship status will be granted to the employer for a period of three years. (Employers who are already approved 457 sponsors are not required to complete this step). 2. The new employer must lodge a ‘nomination application’ with DIAC that identifies the following:
a. Position to be filled; b. Skills and experience required for the position; c. Market salary rate, and the salary rate to be paid to the prospective overseas employee; and
Svetlana McNeil Industry Outreach Officer e: email@example.com P: (02) 9922 4711 M: 0466 150 022
d. Name of the prospective overseas employee. Once these two steps have been approved by DIAC, the visa holder can begin work (subject to any contractual arrangements with any previous employer). Under new laws introduced in 2009, 457 visa holders are not required to apply for a new visa if their current 457 visa is still valid. This process applies to any employees who are changing employers or substantially changing roles, due to promotion or change of career. More information about using the 457 visa program is available at: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs. Consult Australia members may also contact Immigration Outreach Officer Svetlana McNeil on 0466 150 022.
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 Parliament House, Canberra www.bemp.com.au
“Liveability and resilence in a greener economy” Host Organisations:
Skills and Resources
Alain Mignot - Alliancing Association of Australasia (AAA)
REPORT FINDS WICKED PROBLEMS NEED COLLABORATIVE FINESSE
Complex projects with a high degree of ambiguity and unknown risk require highly skilled project managers accustomed to finessing ‘wicked’ problems, according to a groundbreaking new research report into collaborative capability. Commissioned by the Alliancing Association of Australasia (AAA) and undertaken by Melbourne’s RMIT University and Victoria University, the recently released study found traditional infrastructure procurement methods and basic project management deal with ‘tame’ problems but that much more was needed for ‘messier’ problems (Hancock, 2010).
The AAA will leverage findings to produce a set of guidelines to recruit, develop and retain project professionals with a high level of collaborative skill. This is important to the ongoing development of innovative infrastructure procurement using multidisciplinary collaboration, itself a source of innovation and productivity in construction.
Project managers tackling quadrant three and four type projects need advanced skills such as system dynamics, stakeholder management, the psychology of communication, relationship management, reflection and analytical skills combined with good emotional intelligence skills. These are in addition to technical, project management and business skills.
Alain Mignot, AAA Chief Executive Officer, said the study makes an important contribution to developing a wider pool of project professionals with the collaborative capability to innovatively deliver and procure Australasia’s most challenging infrastructure projects.
Projects are classified in the study into four quadrants, ranging from the simple first quadrant where operational plans can be implemented through traditional procurement models to deal with ‘known knowns’, to the fourth and chaotic quadrant characterised by ‘unknown unknowns’.
“Business-as-usual skills are not enough to navigate significant unknowns and this is true at all levels of a team,” said Mr Mignot.
“This is important at a time when the infrastructure industry needs to improve productivity to overcome issues with skills shortages, project delays, government funding constraints and issues with private sector funding,” said Mr Mignot.
Projects falling into quadrants three and four are typically the domain of alliances, while quadrants two and possibly three are suitable for collaborative style engagements.
“This allows project managers to earn client and team confidence and leads to productive team dynamics where team members feel free to collaborate transparently and share knowledge and perspectives.
“Improved productivity for infrastructure projects and programs is possible in the most difficult environments but relies on a non-traditional mindset to navigate complexity and ambiguity. “We have seen on numerous complex projects, delivered through alliancing, that more subtle and difficult-to-define skills, attributes and experience are required to fine-tune, re-frame and iteratively re-interpret the project value proposition and target outcomes.” The study, titled Profiling Professional Excellence in Alliance Management, is a part of the Association’s work to raise the bar on the traditional focus of maximising revenue and profit.
“Very high levels of collegiality are required to overcome the most daunting constraints in quadrant four and gradually transform the challenges to quadrants three (‘unknown knowns’), two (‘known unknowns’) and ultimately to quadrant one, the point where the client and project teams are reasonably clear on scope, scale and performance expectations,” said Mr Mignot. “Alliance managers and alliance management teams need a strategic view in more complex or even chaotic environments where there are only unknowns. “Collaboration and the establishment of team synergies are applied to reduce project complexities into manageable plans, so people can do some work.”
Improved productivity for infrastructure projects and programs is possible in the most difficult environments but relies on a non-traditional mindset to navigate complexity and ambiguity
“Leaders require behaviours in line with cultural norms that are considered ethical by all parties involved.
“At the highest level, governance frameworks require cultural alignment and a definition of success that includes but is wider than time, cost and fit-for-purpose. “This best value approach encompasses a far wider range of expected benefits than monetary outcome.” The AAA provides its members with the tools necessary to establish a competitive advantage through customer focus and relational skills that result in satisfied clients and influential project stakeholders. AAA project teams and committees comprise senior representatives of different industries along the infrastructure value chain to contribute to industry development, independent of direct commercial interests. Visit the AAA website at www.alliancingassociation.org Alain Mignot Alliancing association of Australia (AAA)
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workplace health & safety
Model Work Health and Safety and its impact on business In July 2008, the Council of Australia Governments formally committed to the harmonisation of work health and safety laws. Safe Work Australia recently released for public comment the draft model Work Health and Safety Regulations (the Regulations) and model Codes of Practice and Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). Consult Australia believes that the Regulations and Codes of Practice will go some way to cutting red tape, providing greater certainty for businesses and reducing the incidence of workplace death and injury. However, Consult Australia believes there are still opportunities for Safe Work Australia to further deliver on these objectives. Consult Australia believes that the RIS does not properly account for the increase in administrative and compliance requirements that will be required. The RIS also does not adequately analyse the anticipated change sufficiently, and the analysis overall unduly focuses on a broad examination of the similarity with existing regulations. An examination of this type is not sufficient to accurately identify the regulatory burden. The RIS states that there will be cost benefits overall, or that safety outcomes will generally be improved, but Consult Australia is not persuaded that this will be the case.
Consult Australia believes that the Regulations and Codes of Practice will go some way to cutting red tape, providing greater certainty for businesses and reducing the incidence of workplace death, and injury.
The RIS fails to acknowledge the true regulatory burden, particularly for small businesses. The analysis also fails to account for many of the additional costs resulting from duties relating to consultation, increased record keeping, licensing, risk assessment records and notifications. The RIS has also failed to account for the infringement notices and penalties in the Regulations and how this will also cost industry. Instead, the RIS focuses on cross jurisdictional businesses to the disadvantage of small and single jurisdiction businesses.
Cross-jurisdictional businesses stand to benefit the most from the harmonisation of workplace health and safety laws. An analysis of the regulatory impact is distorted if it does not account for small or single jurisdiction businesses, as the impact and regulatory burden for these businesses will be far greater.
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Therefore, it is important that Government is fully aware of the impact so that governmental assistance can be targeted at small businesses. Consult Australia is concerned that in the development of the RIS there was no comprehensive consultation with industry. The lack of appropriate and genuine consultation with industry raises serious concerns for the veracity of the analysis of the regulatory impact on industry. Without proper consultation and engagement, the cost and impact of the transition to nationally harmonised workplace health and safety laws cannot be accurately identified. As a result, Government will not be able to provide the assistance industry will need to transition to the new legislative and regulatory regime. Nelson de Sousa
Consult Australia commits to collaboration on skills with EA and APESMA On 18 April, at a joint meeting of the CEO’s and Presidents of Consult Australia, Engineers Australia and APESMA, a commitment was made to continue to collaborate on a range of issues, including skills and diversity, as well as the promotion of engineering to young Australians. The group - colloquially known as PEJM (Professional Engineers Joint Meeting) discussed a wide range of matters pertinent to the profession of engineering, and in particular, the growing effect of skills shortages on industry. “The skills shortage remains post-GFC” said Megan Motto, Consult Australia CEO, “and unless we tackle this issue head on, Australia will suffer the consequences of a growing infrastructure backlog”. And the issue is one of retention, not just more people coming in - we need to both train and retain. “By the 10th year of employment we’ve lost 75% of engineers in Australia, and whilst some of these go into managerial roles, it is still not a good outcome” said Chris Walton, CEO of APESMA A number of items regarding the general promotion of engineering as a career choice for students were canvassed for group support. EA noted that EngQuest was celebrating its 10 year anniversary, and was expecting to involve over 44,000 students and 180 volunteers in 2011, whilst Consult Australia indicated that it is potentially considering reproducing the successful DVD produced for Australian secondary schools under the previous ACEA branding. It was agreed by the group that this might more usefully be done as a group exercise, co-branded by EA and APESMA as well as Consult Australia. Whilst some excellent work was being done through the ANET (Australian National Engineering Taskforce) initiative, the PEJM agreed more could be done to collaborate on skills, particularly with regard to cross promotion. Getting the right people is critical - the Australian Contractors Association’s ‘Scope for Improvement’ report points to 20% cost blowouts due to poor scoping and a number of other capacity related problems. It was agreed that government needs to play a leadership role in assisting the private sector to increase skilling. Behaviour could be changed via R&D style incentives or through procurement processes. The group also discussed the issue of the low representation of women in engineering. The Consult Australia Workforce Participation
At the joint meeting were (left to right): Consult Australia national president Jamie Shelton, APESMA national president Dario Tomat, Engineers Australia deputy president David Hood, APESMA chief executive Chris Walton, Engineers Australia national president Mery Lindsay, APESMA national senior vice-president Bill Jackson, Engineers Australia acting chief executive Rupert Grayston and Consult Australia chief executive Megan Motto.
Survey and the APESMA 2009-10 Women in the Professions Survey Report’s were noted as good bodies of work in the area to identify the issues. Megan Motto said “this is a particular area of concern, because although a number of initiatives have been implemented in an attempt to make engineering more attractive to women, the numbers are not fundamentally improving”. “Intensity (workload) versus flexibility is a major issue preventing women from progressing through the middle ranks, especially for those balancing carer responsibilities”. In the context of capacity development, the group discussed the issue of off-shoring of engineering work on major resources projects. APESMA noted that there is approximately $170 billion worth of work in LNG in next 5 years in WA, and whilst there is some limits, capacity constraints cannot account for the amount of work going off shore. Much of the problem is that financiers consider it a risk management strategy to off shore to known international players. This is resulting in loss of Australian
work and a lost opportunity to develop skills locally (for example, fabrication in Australia has gone from 96% to 8%). “This is a long term issue for Australian high end skills and we should fight for the feed work to be done here” said Chris Walton. “APESMA have begun a campaign called “WA Jobs from WA Resources” and are seeking to table a Skilled Local Jobs Bill 2000, whereby projects over $200 million will require the Minister to report to parliament regarding local content and training”. It was agreed that the meeting had been very useful, and closer collaboration was valued by the organisations. To this end, the group agreed to meet every 6 months, and include CEO’s, Presidents and President’s Elect for continuity purposes. Megan Motto
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Mark Kenfield - industry journalist
Online Selection Tools all of the different options they want. This in turn allows people to be sure that they have the right size pump, and the appropriate level of power/size with any accompanying electric motors”. The process begins with a step-by-step search: select your relevant sector (industry, building services, water or wastewater); select the general application you need the pump for; and define your precise application. The online selection tool then guides you through the process and various options available to you. There are many advantages associated with online selection tools, including:
In today’s fast-paced markets, speed is everything: speed of information, speed of availability and speed of access. As people becoming increasingly more reliant on technology and the internet for instant communication and information, they have increasingly less patience for the pace of manual operations that defined communication before the Digital Age. This demand for greater speed and efficiency has found its way into all aspects of our lives, and is now an essential part of how we do business. In our own industry, it can be seen particularly clearly in recent innovations such as the development of online selection tools. These are comprehensive online databases of suppliers’ entire product ranges,that keep everybody up to date with a supplier’s latest information and current equipment. Online selection tools offer far more functionality than a regular online store or listing by providing highly detailed analysis of individual pieces of equipment, full technical specifications, and even CAD drawings and comparative reviews with comparable products (when available). Better still, all of this information is available to you 24/7, anywhere in the world, which means you’ll never be at the mercy of opening hours or incompetent consultants. 44
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pportunities for customers to make use O of project literature, GAEB DA XML data and CAD files; roviding customers with a step-by-step P guide through the selection process; pplication-based searching using individual A specifications;
Ability to order at any time of day;
Greg James from KSB believes online selection tools allow the user to make the most effective and efficient selection of equipment possible, and are very much becoming the way of the future.
Peace-of-mind thanks to up-to-date information;
Access to special internet pricing;
The KSB Group is one of the world’s leading producers of pumps, valves and related systems, and they have developed their own online selection tool, EasySelect to help their customers find solutions faster.
“We are a solutions provider which is why we have developed the selection software, it provides people with ample information and we have also made sure that it cuts down on the length of time required for people to find the solution they’re looking for,” said Mr James. “Basically, it allows any individual to select the correct sized pump for their needs and any or
Interchangeable lists for multiple product families; and Ease of online ordering.
“We are currently on our thrid generation of the system and online selection has become a key aspect of our business,” said Mr James. “In the past this was all done by charts, or over the phone, so it has computerised what was previously a manual process. It’s been a big focus for us, as automation has become the norm”. “These systems simply allow for far more optimisation than you could have in the past.” Mark Kenfield Industry Journalist
Better still, all of this information is available to you 24/7, anywhere in the world, which means you’ll never be at the mercy of opening hours or incompetent consultants.
Warren Stewart - Bradford Insulation
Energy efficient designs for BCA Section J compliance Minimum energy efficiency standards for newly constructed commercial buildings are now mandatory under Section J of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and insulation plays a key role in achieving these requirements.
Meeting the minimum requirements of the BCA will see a building through the approval process, however adopting best practice and choosing the optimal insulation also offers additional benefits. Occupants will benefit from better control of condensation, noise dampening and controlled heat flow (both in and out of the building). Improvements in insulation levels also contribute to higher reductions in energy consumption, which is a critical factor in Green Star accreditation. The introduction of mandatory disclosure for commercial buildings in 2010 means higher insulation levels may also assist in delivering higher rental returns and building valuations. This in turn helps to future-proof the building
against potential changes in legislation and building codes.
insulation can recover its design thickness and provide its rated insulation value.
In addition to satisfying Section J of the BCA, choice of insulation is a critical starting point to achieving best practice.
Failure to provide sufficient space will result in compression of the insulation between the roof purlin and the sheeting above.
Inorganic fibrous insulation, which is deemed to be non-combustible and does not increase the fuel load in the building, will offer the highest levels of the aforementioned thermal protection, noise dampening and condensation control.
This will result in degradation of the performance characteristics of the insulation and subsequently reduce the full system rating.
A criteria that is often overlooked during the design phase, but is as critical as the insulation selection, is the interface between the roof system and the insulation. The key is to allow the correct amount of space beneath the roof sheet to ensure the
Improvements in insulation levels also contribute to higher reductions in energy consumption, which is a critical factor in Green Star accreditation.
An additional consideration when insulation is compressed is thermal bridging. This occurs when the reduced space between the purlin and the roof sheet allows increased heat gain or loss, due to the high conductive nature of the building materials. To ensure your projects surpass the minimum required levels of thermal performance, a roof spacer system should be employed. The roof spacer system raises the roof sheet above the purlin, creating a defined space between the safety mesh and the roof sheet for the insulation, which will ensure the full recovery of the insulation thickness. A well designed roof space system will be specifically designed for different insulation heights. This ensures your building designs provide the highest thermal protection, without compromising material cost or labour costs. Warren Stewart Bradford Insulation winter 11 National Outlook
Ric Navarro - Norman Disney & Young
Diverse opportunities fast track new rail venture The Federal Government’s draft National Freight Strategy, released earlier this year, is a crucial step forward in tackling Australia’s growing freight challenges and driving overdue regulatory and pricing reforms. The nation’s freight task is expected to double in the next 10 years, and with Australia’s freight networks generating almost 15 per cent of national GDP (worth over $150 billion a year), organisations such as Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) have been looking at how best to remove the kinks in the national supply chain. IPA Chief Executive, Brendan Lyon said, “Our modeling shows that by 2050, the volume of freight moved through our ports and across our road and rail network will more than triple.” “If we don’t get the planning and regulation right, Australia risks real productivity impacts.” With a projected spike in freight infrastructure requirements, the recent joint venture of two leading engineering consultancies from Australia and the United States to create NDYLTK Rail was no accident. NDY Deputy CEO and Joint Venture Director, Dennis O’Brien forecasts that this explosion in demand for infrastructure developments, both in Australia and the broader region, augers well for NDYLTK Rail. “Rail owners, including public authorities, private rail owners and mining companies, are planning a massive expansion in rail networks,” said Mr O’Brien. “These are already stretching the capacity of companies providing services to the rail industry and will allow NDYLTK Rail to provide comprehensive and integrated consultant services to regional markets.” Some of these significant projects are already underway including the $1 billion Gold Coast Light Rail, which is one of the biggest public
transport projects in the country and the first light rail project for Queensland. This project is of national significance because it is the first time all three tiers of government, and the private sector, have partnered to deliver a major transport infrastructure PPP.
“Melbourne and surrounding areas of regional Victoria will continue to grow substantially in the coming years. Mr Lyon agreed, “It’s vital that the state addresses infrastructure capacity constraints now in order to manage this future growth and harness the State’s true economic potential.” “The RRL project will be the biggest expansion to Melbourne’s rail network in a generation.”
According to Mr O’Brien, the Gold Coast project is just one of many rail opportunities that are forecast to move beyond planning into reality.
To fulfill its broader strategy, the RRL Authority has released a request for proposal to potential builders of the project’s Work Package B.
“In NSW, we’ve also recently seen Pacific National invest more than $110 million into its new Train Support Facility at Greta.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder said the works are a major component of the project and include the construction of new tracks, signaling and upgrades to the existing network.
“The Greta facility will provide state of the art coal haulage operations and will incorporate a range of functions, including the refueling of trains, routine train inspections and wagon maintenance work.” Based on national benchmarks, the initial construction cost will generate a further $99 million of economic activity and $106 million in consumption induced benefits. As one of the senior directors of LTK, and the appointed Managing Director of NDYLTK Rail, Dominic DiBrito sees the diverse range of rail projects as providing a true value proposition of the opportunities in the local rail market. “The trickle-down effect to rail solutions providers is genuinely exciting and we are buoyed by the number of opportunities currently circulating throughout the industry,” said Mr DiBrito. “In Victoria for example, the State Government is delivering on its promises to spend big on rail with heavy rail and regional rail links projects coming on stream.
The Victorian Government’s decision to go to market for contractors to build the project affirms Mr O’Brien’s faith in the NDYLTK Rail joint venture and the specific expertise LTK brings to the partnership. “In this relationship, NDY brings a strong reputation and presence in the Australian market, together with a background of providing services to the rail industry,” said Mr O’Brien. “LTK is a highly specialised firm that provides rail related services only and has the capacity and experience essential to making NDYLTK Rail a successful practice.” Mr O’Brien believes NDYLTK Rail’s aim to become Australia’s leading rail consultancy practice will be nurtured by the company’s collaborative approach. These are lofty goals but Mr DiBrito is equally unwavering about his vision for NDYLTK Rail. “Our aspiration is to provide railway engineering services in Australia and New Zealand consistent with the reputation that both NDY and LTK have developed in their respective markets. “Our philosophy is that if you concentrate on making your client successful, the return will be rich and long lasting.” For a comprehensive overview of NDYLTK Rail services visit: www.ndyltkrail.com Ric Navarro Norman Disney & Young
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EASY CHOICES!CONSULT AUSTRALIA IS ON YOUR SIDE
THE LATEST PATHWAY TESTIMONIAL SLR Consulting Australia’s range of environmental engineering and scientific services has broadened considerably over the past several years. As we continue to grow, new services are being introduced, new offices open and other consulting practices are being acquired. Our overseas work on significant international projects has also increase markedly. As a consequence, greater focus on managing the technical and commercial risks of our multi-disciplinary service delivery was required. Significant changes to our Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance cover became necessary. We realised that professional risk management advice well beyond that provided by a normal PI broker was required – we needed an insurance advisory service with considerable consulting industry experience.
SLR Consulting Australia selected a broker associated with Consult Australia PI Pathway, as the services provided seemed an ideal match. The broker was able to ensure continuity of cover, broadening the scope of cover and negotiating a reduced premium. Their contract review service and ongoing staff risk management training have proven invaluable to our business, enhancing the professional standard of our client contractual relations and improving the quality of our service delivery. SLR Consulting Australia Pty Ltd
To get a quote please visit: www.consultaustralia.com.au/PIPathway/Default.aspx
Consult Australia’s PI Insurance Pathway gives Consult Australia members access to the PI market through a Panel of Brokers selected by Consult Australia. Consult Australia is providing a referral service only and is not providing any form of financial advice or offering a financial product. Consult Australia 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 Consult Australia member firm.
vic DIVISION On 14 April, the Victoria Division hosted a panel discussion on the future of alliance contracting in light of the new policy implemented by the Victorian Government. The session was facilitated by Roger Olds. Panel members from a delivery agency perspective were Bruce Gidley (VicRoads) and Jane Bateson (Melbourne Water); from an industry perspective, Robert De Wet (Australian Constructors Association), and Ron Quill (Alliancing Association Australasia); and from a Consult Australia perspective, Warren Harrison (Parsons Brinckerhoff ). The topic triggered robust discussion from both the panel and attendees, with the general consensus among the panelists being that if the new policy is to be strictly adhered to, alliancing will no longer be an attractive delivery method. The Consult Australia 2011 Outlook seminar was held in Melbourne on 31 May and provided a detailed profile of the industry and analysis of the market for consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment. We would like to thank St George Bank for hosting this event.
The Drilling Safety Working Group anticipates that a draft document to determine contractor prequalification requirements for drillers working for consultants will be available for public consultation in May 2011. Further details will be provided to members when the guidelines are ready for consultation. We would like to thank St George Bank, BST Global and MTU Detroit Diesel for their ongoing support as partners of the Victoria Division, and URS for its continued hospitality and generosity in providing an office for Consult Australia Victoria.
The Victoria Division is continuing to engage with the new government and is still meeting with VicRoads on a regular basis. FutureNet were treated to a very informative presentation on the Marina Bay Sands project in Singapore on 13 April, presented by Project Director of the Arup Singapore office, Brendan McNiven. Mr McNiven spoke about the engineering, architectural and commercial challenges faced in designing the resort, as well as his experience over the past eight years in the Singapore construction industry. The launch event for the 2011 Melbourne FutureNet Business Leaders Course was held at Trunk for all participants and their workplace mentors on 3 May. Former President of Engineers Australia and current BAS Consulting Director, Peter Godfrey spoke to the participants on the import role of leaders within the industry. For information on the Course, please contact Kate Di Gregorio on (03) 8699 7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. As part of Science Week 2011, the Victoria Division is looking to arrange site visits for school students to raise awareness and interest in engineering as a career choice. If you have a project that would make an interesting site visit for school students, please contact Kate Di Gregorio on (03) 8699 7700 or email email@example.com. From 1-2 March, the Victoria Division hosted information sessions at Melbourne University and Monash University for engineering and environmental science students to encourage them to consider a career in consulting. All students who attended were provided with a copy of the Consult Australia 2011 Graduate Guide which contains the details of all member firms.
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tas DIVISION On 10 March, Consult Australia Tasmania members attended a luncheon where Tasmanian Planning Commission Executive Commissioner, Greg Alomes presented an update on the Tasmanian Planning Commissionâ€™s Planning Reform Agenda for 2011-2013. Three areas of focus are: a single state-wide planning system between state and local government; better strategic and statutory management system; and measuring performance through sustainable development. Work is also being done to update planning policies which are deemed out of date. Following on from the meeting with Neale Tomlin, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister for Infrastructure, David Oâ€™Byrne MP, in February, Consult Australia are meeting with Neale Tomlin and others from across the government to further discussions on the issue of unlimited liability in government contracts. Details will be provided in the next edition. Consult Australia had a stand at the UTAS Careers Fair and all students interested in Engineering were provided with a copy of the Consult Australia 2011 Graduate Guide which contains all member firms details. An upcoming luncheon is being planned to meet with the Tasmanian Minerals Council for a discussion on where the Tasmanian Mining Sector is heading.
SA’s No. 1 Business Bank.
The SA Division has continued with our endeavours to grow the awareness of our brand within the state, participate in a number of working groups and lobby for our members.
meetings with stakeholders and industry associations Built Environment Meets Parliament SA
The first state-based Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) on 6 April established a new level of dialogue between the public and private sectors on a shared vision for South Australia’s urban and regional future. Recommendations from this first gathering will lay the groundwork for long-term cooperative solutions to challenges presented by the State’s future growth. In a South Australian first for industry collaboration, a new alliance of industry associations has rewritten the rule book on political and community engagement. BEMP SA is an offshoot of BEMP, the annual conversation between Federal parliamentarians and Australia’s industry leaders. It includes the Australian Institute of Architects, Consult Australia, the Green Building Council of Australia, the Planning Institute of Australia and the Property Council of Australia. These groups share a conviction that managing the inevitable changes in South Australia’s urban landscape is one of the most critical challenges facing the state. The SA Division was heavily involved in the working group which organised BEMP SA 2011. Jerome Argue of URS (and SA Division Chair) chaired the BEMP SA organising committee. Mr Argue also worked together with Consult Australia State Manager SA/NT, Jan Irvine and Rod Ellis of Tonkin Consulting (and SA Division Executive Committee member) to deliver a robust infrastructure session and contribute to the organisation of the successful, smoothly run one-day forum. With a high calibre of keynote speakers and panelists, the event brought the South Australian community, industry and parliament into a discussion on the state’s unpredicted population growth and how it can and should be accommodated in the SA’s urban landscape and regional centres. Initial feedback from delegates has been very positive and the BEMP SA working group is confident that this is the beginning of continued dialogue and a working relationship between all parties. Upcoming events The 2010/11 calendar of events is on the website for members to view (and mark dates in their diaries). The new calendar for 2011/12 is being planned as this edition goes to print and will be available in late June. Should member firms be interested, or know of an individual or company that may be interested, in becoming involved as a sponsor of any of the proposed events please contact Jan Irvine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent events On 30 March, member firm representatives met with The Hon Mike Rann MP, Premier of SA to discuss Consult Australia’s paper, Transporting Australia’s Future and to hear an update from the government on SA’s infrastructure plans for the immediate future and the longer term. Once again, this boardroom luncheon was fully subscribed. We look forward to announcing our next lunch guest soon. FutureNet SA recent events Finding Alternative Income Streams Through the Stockmarket – A Look at your Finances as a Young Professional was held recently. Guest presenter and Director of Catapult Wealth, Tony Catt has a strong background in accounting, stockbroking and financial planning and kept the audience both engaged and informed. Feedback for this event was enthusiastic. The FutureNet committee will continue to present a varied and interesting range of topics at our breakfasts. FutureNet SA Upcoming Events The June event will look at the Adelaide Oval redevelopment – a topic that has been often and strongly requested by our FutureNet members. We will be holding this event as an after work beer and pizza networking session. A quiz night will be held early August to add a new element to the 2011 program and further boost the networking opportunities for FutureNet members. September will see a breakfast presentation on Mining in SA. November’s event will showcase the desalination plant project. The SA Division and FutureNet SA thank our sponsors for their continued support and once more thank URS for providing office space division.
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Crawford Recruitment has renewed its support for the NSW Division by signing on as a Gold Sponsor for 2011. We look forward to continuing our relationship!
Committees continue to be very strong in NSW. The Civil & Environmental Branch was recently renamed the Integrated Urban Development Branch to align with Consult Australiaâ€™s strategic plan and objectives. There are currently openings on the Integrated Urban Development Branch. Should you be interested in joining this committee, please contact NSW Division on (02) 9966 4966. We received an overwhelming response to the 2011 FutureNet Business Leaders Course and its now at full capacity. The launch of the 2011 Course was held on 21 April at the Intercontinental Hotel. Evans & Peck Principal, Carl Scully was the guest speaker. A sub-committee has been formed under FutureNet Business Leaders to focus on running a variety of events throughout the year for the group of more than 130 members that form the FutureNet Business Leaders alumni. The sub-committee held a breakfast in May, at the Radisson Hotel, Sydney, which looked at leading change infrastructure. Speakers included: Chris Lock (TCA); Paul Forward (Evans & Peck); and Sue Holliday (Strategies for Change). Consult Australia recently presented to the Construction Consultative Committee (CCC) on emerging issues in construction. The presentation was well received and professional indemnity and other issues of concern to Consult Australia member firms were discussed in some detail. The invitation to address the CCC signifies that Consult Australia has developed credibility with the CCC, which is very positive. The Project Management Branch held a seminar in April which focused on alliancing versus design and construct - Angus Sturrock (Parsons Brinckerhoff ) and Iain McLeod (RTA) were both speakers. The topic proved to be very popular with the event selling out.
The Consult Australia NSW Division University Bridge Building Challenge is being held on 5 August at Customs House Square. Promotion has begun and sponsorship opportunities are currently available. To find out more please phone the NSW Division office. The Division sponsored a mini bridge building challenge held by the University of Wollongong (UoW) in the lead-up to the Consult Australia challenge. The UoW Civil Society ran the event and the winning team won a trip to the Consult Australia Challenge, limousine transfers to the event and t-shirts to wear on the day. What fabulous initiative! The ACSE ran a seminar on Protective Steel Coatings in April. A business writing course is being held in Sydney on 13 July. Contact the NSW Division for more details. Consult Australia will be attending an upcoming industry consultation meeting with the Roads & Traffic Authority, NSW. The NSW Division Annual Dinner was held on 26 May at Doltone House. Over 180 members, their partners and clients were in attendance and were entertained by Rhonda Burchmore. MC Mark Levy guided the event which saw Mechanical & Electrical Scholarship Winner, Jonathan Choy give a presentation on his travels and Ed Riley recognised for his contribution to FutureNet Business Leaders Course.
A state managers luncheon for small and medium firms was held at the Amora Jamison Hotel in April. The feedback and suggestions received at the luncheon were very valuable and the NSW Division Committee plans to hold these meetings on a regular basis. This event followed the state managers luncheon for large firms, which was held in late 2010. Clayton Utz recently sponsored and hosted a FutureNet breakfast event for more than 80 people, which explored green infrastructure and product rating. The 2010 FutureNet Business Leaders participants presented their assignment proposals from last year to Director General of Transport NSW, Les Wielinga. This offered participants an excellent opportunity to meet and converse with Mr Wielinga (left) and his colleagues.
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Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi discusses the future of Perth at the Futurenet WA 2010 End of Year Lunch event
Photos from the NSW Division Annual Dinner.
ACT DIVISION futurenet Gold Sponsors:
Two new sub-committees for buildings and infrastructure have been introduced in ACT. These committees will focus on lobbying items, the development of CPD seminars and site visits. Upcoming seminar topics include AS2124, BCA update and a seminar around water infrastructure. Roundtable meetings with ACT Procurement Solutions continue to be held. Represented at these meetings are LAPS, LDA, ACTPS, TAMS and ACTPLA.
futurenet silver Sponsors:
The next FutureNet event in Canberra will focus on whether young people should invest in shares or property â€“ speakers for each position will debate their thoughts. The ACT Division welcomes Black Mountain Construction Assurance, who has recently been approved as a member of Consult Australia.
Initiating direct dialogue with TAMS has been a strong focus for the division. One-on-one meetings are beginning to commence.
A work experience program is currently being developed by the ACT Division Committee to address the important issue of retaining local talent. Further details about this program will be sent to members shortly.
The ACT Division recently joined the Canberra Business Council.
Updating the strategic plan is currently a key focus for the Division.
winter 11 National Outlook
futurenet business leaders course On 12 May, the FutureNet Business Leaders Course for 2011 was launched with a networking event at Dowse Bar, Iceworks. This year’s future leaders introduced themselves and met with some of last year’s graduates to get some insight into the benefits they gained from the course and a ‘from the horse’s mouth’ perspective of how much time they will need to commit to getting the most benefit from the program. The first structured session on 19 May 2011, focused on leadership and we were pleased to have Brisbane City Council CEO, Colin Jensen graciously giving up his time to attend this session as guest speaker. Mr Jensen is the first of many industry experts who will be involved in the course. Thanks must go to this year’s organising committee: Dannielle Roberts and Jeremy McDonald from Medland Metropolis; and Peter Kastrup Arup and Alicia Fava from Evans & Peck. Their assistance has and will continue to be instrumental in the success of this year’s program. other futurenet news The first event of 2011 ‘Responsibility for a better tomorrow’ was the usual success. Our guest speaker, Australian Red Cross President, Mr Greg Vickery AM entertained and educated us with the story of Henry Dunant, a Swiss banker who, after witnessing the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino, wrote about his recollections and went on to form the International Committee for the Relief to the Wounded, which would later become the International Committee of the Red Cross. As part of the networking game at this event, all attendees were asked to identify one corporate or socially responsible activity that they had been involved in. The picture below (kindly put together by FutureNet sponsor AECOM) shows how our young professionals are already contributing to our society. Greg gave them lots of tips on how else to get involved. His parting words were, “If you don’t like what you are doing – change.”
Event Updates Three breakfasts have been held in the last two months: Planning for the Future; Carbon Pricing: Business Benefits at What Cost; and Economic Outlook for Consultants. The next event will be a Brisbane City Council Budget Update/ Forward Work Program with BBC CEO, Colin Jensen, to be held on 21 July 2011. Sponsorship opportunities for this event are now available. Please email email@example.com or phone 07 3020 3403 for more details. Stakeholder engagement Meeting with Ted Malone MP, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Education & Skills Chair of Qld Division, Frank Vromans and Qld Division State Manager, Stacey Rawlings met with the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Education & Skills on 11 May. Among the issues discussed was the need for more investment in science and maths teachers to encourage more students to gain the necessary pre-requisites to consider degrees in engineering and other related fields. A copy of the most recent Consult Australia skills survey was provided to Mr Malone to highlight concerns about future shortages. It was agreed that these issues need both industry and government involvement to gain the greatest long-term results. Building Revival Forum The Queensland Division participated in the Premier’s Building Revival Forum in April. Issues discussed included: How the economic climate, availability of finance and demographic changes have affected Queensland’s building industry for both residential and non-residential markets;
From left to right: Brad Sandford (Aurecon), Greg Vickery (Red Cross), Brent Lillywhite (Norton Rose).
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Future prospects for the industry, based on historic property cycles and the changing trends of demand for built product; and Constraints on Queensland’s building industry and how they can be minimised. Representatives were organised into six groups, who were all tasked with coming up with practical and workable solutions to assist with revitalising the industry in the short and medium term. The results of the forum are available at www.premiers. qld.gov.au/events/building-revival-forum.aspx. Board of Professional Engineers – Review of Code of Practice Consult Australia recently had the opportunity to provide a brief presentation at the first workshop held to review the current code of practice. We will follow this up with a written submission to the Board. All registered engineers are encouraged to be involved in this review. The Board is holding sessions across regional Queensland and will come back to Brisbane in July for a final workshop. FIDIC Competition for Young Professionals If you are aged below 35 (in 2012), live in Queensland and work in the built environment, you are eligible to WIN A TRIP to attend the FIDIC conference in Korea in 2012. The FIDIC
conference will be held in the country’s capital, Seoul from 16 – 19 September 2012. The prize includes a return economy airfare with six nights’ accommodation at one of the nominated conference hotels. Registration as a young professional to the FIDIC conference is included, along with some spending money. Full details of entry and prize conditions are available on the Consult Australia website. FutureNet’s 2011 theme is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in the Built Environment’. 2011 is also Engineers Australia’s Year of Humanitarian Engineering. To be in the running to win this trip of a lifetime, all you have to do is submit a paper of no more than 1500 words on the topic below: ‘Humanitarian crises, man-made and due to natural disasters, are prevalent throughout the world. In the past months we have experienced natural disasters in our Australia and New Zealand region. As young professionals working in the built environment, how can we do more for the community locally, nationally and globally?’ Closing date for submissions is Friday, 15 July 2011. Please email all entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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wa DIVISION CEIID Consult Australia has again agreed to publicise the next CEIID State Asset Investment Program Event which is planned for the end of July/early August. The event allows the State Government to outline the projected asset investment program for Western Australia and new delivery strategies, to industry and Government. Additionally, the CEIID member agencies present on their respective Capital Works Program. MRWA WARCMIAG Joint and Several Liability Industry Forum The Civil Liability Act 2002 WA has the effect of apportioning liability for any wrongdoing between parties to a contract that caused or contributed to the other party’s loss or damage. In WA it is permitted to contract out of this Act. Currently Main Roads WA require contracting parties to be jointly liable to Main Roads for any obligation under the contract and not only for their respective obligation. Should one party become insolvent or fail to perform its duties the remaining party to the contract becomes fully liable to perform all obligations under the contract. Industry seek a change from this arrangement to proportionate liability where each party is liable for their respective obligations they have agreed to perform. Following representation at WARCMIAG an Industry forum was held on 9 May to examine issues surrounding Joint and Several Liability and Proportionate Liabilty. Industry bodies present included CA, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), Civil Contractors Federation (CCF), CCA and Master Builders Australia (MBA). The issues from a client and industry perspective were debated at length and a summary business case for change will be circulated shortly for comment. Main Roads are to be commended for their collaborative approach to seeking resolution to one of a number of major contractual issues that is making it difficult for industry to respond to their requests for proposals and contractual terms. All agreed that the forum was an effective way to deal with similar issues in future. Ashley Wright Consult Australia Executive Committee FutureNet WA The WA branch of FutureNet has commenced 2011 with a sponsors only cocktail function to acknowledge and thank all sponsors of FutureNet WA for their ongoing support, as well as provide an opportunity for other organisations to find out about FutureNet and the benefits of sponsorship. As a result of this event, FutureNet WA is pleased to welcome new sponsorship from GHD and Golder Associates. Attendance at events to date has also been strong with the first breakfast function event for 2011 “Building wealth carefully & steadily” attracting an audience of 160 people. The next scheduled
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event in May will encourage attendees to “Work the Room” as network guru Ron Gibson discusses the art of successful networking. From there, the year ahead aims to provide attendees with insight into leadership, working abroad and the experience of using your profession to provide humanitarian aid. Alex Deluca WA Chairman FutureNet Water Corporation: Urban Development Advisory Committee Year in review UDAC has been established for 16 years. Its role has evolved into a forum for discussion around uncertainty facing the Land Development industry brought about by climate change and the global financial crisis. During the year UDAC has placed a greater focus on understanding the trends in the land development industry. Eight Corporation policies were reviewed and modified; Perth water supplies An overview of the water storages within metro Perth, total water use, and the Corporation’s response to managing without the need for severe restrictions in 2010/11, what was being done to prepare for operating under sever water restrictions in 2011/12, should that become a reality and what was being done to respond to a new climate regime. Bonding & tankering Current Corporation tanker “bonding” requires that 150% of an asset’s value is bonded. Given the financial constrains that the development industry is facing, the Corporation is trialling a new model for securing an amount which is set against the cost of providing a tankering operation for the period between the early
clearance of lots and the availability of funds to construct the asset. Should the trial prove successful it will become policy. Building application approvals The Corporation has embarked on a project of following up water and sewer connections that have not been formally approved by the Corporation. This has become necessary to meet health requirements, scheme capacity, and protection of assets and security of service. A recent inspection of a property revealed that a building extension to a dwelling had been constructed without appropriate venting of the sewer system placing the occupants of the property at risk. Bruce Franklin Consult Australia Executive Committee Resources Committee update The resources committee has been working closely with government and industry bodies to provide input and gain a better understanding of the issues affecting Consult Australia members around resources and local content in the resources sector. Over the past three months meetings were held with Western Australian Government agency representatives, APPEA and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Western Australia. The WA state growth outlook shows 40,000 persons required over the next 18 months with an average annual growth of 7.7% until 2020. This relates to a 33% increase in skilled Workforce required by the end of 2012. Training is not a solution over the short term and we have not capitalised on the lessons learnt from the last resources boom. Visa approvals & processing are as streamlined as they practically could be. Local Content challenges on major projects are associated with under investment in R&D and downstream processing and manufacturing over the past four decades by Australian Industry. Federal and state governments equivalently have under invested in skills training and critical infrastructure, relying instead on unprofitable PPPâ€™s and industry with profit drivers to install and own strategic, backbone initiatives around skilled Workforce and infrastructure. The majority of intellectual property and technology licensing stems from international competitors to Australian industry. The only aspect Australia can compete on is the basis of local conditions and standards together with quality of the products
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi discusses the future of Perth at the Futurenet WA 2010 End of Year Lunch event
and services we provide. We cannot compete on cost. Situations are now arising where it is significantly more cost effective for a major project to source bulk steel fabrication and technology from overseas and upgrade locally to Australian Standards and required quality. Some tier one Australian fabricators and constructors that have significant assets and capital investments in Australia are considering going offshore for all their manufacturing requirements and raw material supply. Without innovation and major overhaul of traditional engineering and EPCM approaches, together with efficiency gains in the utilisation of scarce resources, the resources sector faces stalling or hitting natural limits, effectively capping the delivery of the growth pipeline in the resources sector. Strategic Partnering between clients, service providers and government agencies is a must for us to take sustainable advantage of the resources opportunity in front of us. Further stimulation of competition between Australian service and manufacturing suppliers is not a cost saving measure in major projects - instead it counter-intuitively promotes significant project delays, wage spikes, under utilisation and in some cases quarantine of already stretched resources. Juan Jeffery Consult Australia Chair, Resources Committee WALGA WALGA (Western Australian Local Government Association) hosted a meeting with National Policy Advisor, Nelson de Sousa, and Division representatives to discuss the terms of engagement of consultants used by most WA local Authorities. Nelson expanded on the background to the revised AS 14222010 and the broad industry input and support. WALGA representatives agreed to incorporate use of the Standard in its recommended contracts for Local Authorities, including strong advice not to alter the Standard or add Special Conditions that may conflict with the Standard. An opportunity for Consult Australia, WALGA and IPWEA (WA) to jointly promote understanding and use of the Standard was identified for further discussion.
Mick the Demotivational Speaker entertains Futurenet WA 2009 End of Year Lunch attendees
winter 11 National Outlook
Magazine by Consult Australia - National outlook