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Vol 84 No 10, October 2012 $6.85 inc.GST

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The Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre by Charles Wright Architects, and built by Hansen Yuncken, was awarded the Eddie Oribin Award for Building of the Year in the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2012 Far North Queensland Regional Architecture Awards.

REFLECTIONS Regional Queensland continues to be full of opportunity for engineers, in areas ranging from community and infrastructure development to resource-related industries. Danny Cameron

compiled these stories. 32

Engineers Australia | October 2012


nown by tourists around the world for its abundance of natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef, regional Queensland has shown its resilience in the aftermath of two strong La Niña events. While the 2010/11 La Niña relieved one of the longest and most severe droughts across the Murray-Darling Basin in recorded history, the heavy rain caused extensive damage to road and rail infrastructure, as well as whole communities throughout regional Queensland. Communities have since been rebuilding, and the particular efforts of Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Cardno to rebuild the community of Grantham have been recognised this year in the Queensland Engineering Excellence Awards, winning the Engineering Leadership Award (see p34). Important social infrastructure for communities, like the $25 million Caboolture Hub and the $6.2 million Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre (pictured above and built by Hansen Yuncken), have also been recognised for excellence, this time from the Australian Institute of

Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall (


Architects. The Caboolture Hub – a centre for local culture, art, history, learning and social interaction that opened last December, was awarded the overall winner at the 2012 Queensland Architecture Awards. The building comprises a modern library, regional art gallery, learning centre and cafe alongside the Caboolture Town Square. Designed by Peddle Thorp + James Cubitt Architects, the centre was built by ADCO Constructions. But as a state that is rich in resources, the main driver of growth in regional Queensland continues to be due to the exploration, development and transfer of commodities the world has an appetite for. The development of manufacturing and maintenance facilities; mines; pipelines; process plants; road, rail and port infrastructure; and all associated facilities for operations, control and management, is providing a rich source of opportunity for engineers willing to work in the region. The Women in Engineering Queensland group said there are great rewards to those who do (see p42). In June, the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said

REGIONAL QUEENSLAND advanced projects, exploration expenditures and mining capital expenditure are at historic highs and the high levels of investment will last for the next few years, given the time it takes for large projects to reach completion. Around the Gladstone region, some $62 billion of coal seam gas (CSG) projects are currently under development. In these projects, the gas will be extracted from the Surat Basin, then delivered via pipeline to Gladstone for processing and export. While Australia currently exports around 20Mt/a (2010/11) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the three projects in regional Queensland will more than double that within the next three years, with 25.3Mt/a of LNG processing capacity coming online between 2014 and 2016. Global engineering company Bechtel is responsible for the engineering, procurement, and contract management on all three projects and a major milestone was reached on Curtis Island last month with the delivery of the first modules for one of the processing plants (see p40). Such large projects have impacts on community infrastructure like roads, which need to keep up with capacity issues. Golding Contractors has commenced construction on the Calliope Crossroads project 20km southwest of Gladstone, where the Bruce Highway intersects with the Dawson Highway. A new overpass and road expansion will help relieve the congestion around the area. Water infrastructure is also struggling to cope with demand, and in the town of Emerald, 270km west of Rockhampton, a new water treatment plant aims to serve population growth out to 2035.

Queensland premier Campbell Newman, one of Engineers Australia magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, has provided a piece for the feature (see p39) and outlined an increase in funding for the regions through the Royalties for the Regions program. A large part of the state’s royalties will be generated from the state’s booming coal industry. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources said its world-class coal mines and infrastructure, including electrified rail links from the coalfields, allow efficient production and transport of coal to six coal-export terminals. Exports totalling 162.5Mt, worth $29 billion, were made to 29 countries in 2010/11. An additional 22.8Mt was supplied to domestic markets in Australia. Around one quarter of these exports was thermal coal for electricity generation, while the remainder was coking coal for iron and steel making. Five major new thermal coal developments are currently proposed for the Galilee Basin, and these projects will include new railways and expanded port infrastructure at Abbot Point and Dudgeon Point on the central Queensland coast. To service current and expanding rail infrastructure, a $180 million train maintenance facility (see p37) was opened by Asciano’s Pacific National Coal last month in Nebo, 100km southwest of Mackay. The facility will support its coal haulage operations in the Goonyella, Blackwater and Newlands rail systems that deliver export coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, the Port of Gladstone and Port of Abbot Point. n

Engineers Australia | October 2012




Excellence in regional engineering


egional Queensland was well represented in the 2012 Queensland Engineering Excellence Awards announced last month. Engineers Australia Queensland Division president Steven Goh said forty projects from throughout the state were entered into this year’s awards. In the overall awards categories, the Engineering Leadership Award was presented to Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Cardno for their joint efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 Queensland floods in rebuilding Grantham. After Grantham became the single most devastated community of the January 2011 floods in Queensland, the Strengthening Grantham development is helping relocate flood-devastated Lockyer Valley residents by providing the option to move themselves and their assets to higher ground as part of a voluntary land-swap agreement. The regional council moved quickly to purchase 937ha of elevated land to the north of Grantham, prepared a master plan for its development and organised a voluntary swap for relocation of eligible residents.

The planning process was fast-tracked with assistance from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) and completed in just four months. Onsite works for stage 1 began in June 2011, only five months after the flooding event, and the target of having the first of the flood-affected families living on the estate by Christmas 2011 was met. The judges said they “were impressed by the whole operation relating to an unprecedented community disaster, where leadership was paramount in the resettling of flood-affected families in specially purchased and developed land in remarkably short time”. The Innovation Award was won by Wagstaff Piling for its involvement in the RG Tanna Coal Terminal Stockpile 22 project in Gladstone. Gladstone Ports Corporation’s Stockpile 22 site is located on the last area of the RG Tanna Coal Terminal facility. Wagstaff Piling and the Gladstone Port Corporation’s design team collaborated to design and construct systems for ground improvement, including foundation piling at the site. Judges noted “the savings resulting from using the Cutter Soil

The Strengthening Grantham development included relocating residents to elevated land after the devastating floods of 2011.


Engineers Australia | October 2012

Mixing (CSM) method to build a diaphragm wall using insitu materials, [as well as] the success of the water resistant subgrade blanket layer below the stockpile”. The judges “were impressed by the innovative application of engineering principles in achieving a cost-effective outcome in providing ground improvement for coal storage, underground work and piling in extremely poor reclaimed waterside land conditions”. The Sustainability Award was won by Cairns Regional Council, Golder and BMD for the closure of the Portsmith Landfill. The landfill covers an area of approximately 20ha and has been in operation since 1984. This $15 million project won the environment award in the general category. The judges said they “were impressed by the application of sound engineering practice in rehabilitating to a high degree of security of an extensive waste disposal area in an extremely environmentally sensitive area adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park”. In the general awards categories, the control systems, networks, information processing and telecommunications award was presented to Sedgman and 5D Consulting for its Shift Handover Solutions (SH2). SH2 is an industry solution for what could be considered the most critical information exchange in the operations business – the shift handover. The software provides an interactive communications platform that provides visibility of operational status and performance. Sedgman also won in the industrial development and manufacturing category for work developing a coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) at the Mongolian Ukhaa Khudag coal project in the South Gobi desert. In the category for project infrastructure under $50 million, an Excellence Award was presented to Queensland Rail, Golder Associates and Thiess for their work on the Toowoomba Range Rail Flood Recovery. The Toowoomba Range Railway is a vital link used by over 100 trains per week transporting nearly 200,000t of freight. In January 2011, the worst flood in Queensland’s history severely damaged the Toowoomba rail line, causing its closure. Working collaboratively in an alliance delivery model, innovative engineering and construction methods recovered 262 damaged sites, with 1347m of damaged track removed and reinstated. Judges said they were impressed with the completion within 2.5 months, as well as the methods employed. These methods included changing the work program to accommodate the use of available plant and the extensive use of recycled local materials. The Excellence Award for reports, procedures and systems was presented to the Logan Water Alliance comprising of Logan City Council, Tenix, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Cardno. Logan Water Alliance is one of the largest water and wastewater infrastructure delivery programs of its type in Australia. To date, a planning-approach has realised cost savings of more than $79 million in capital costs and $45 million in operating costs. Queensland’s Excellence Award winners are now eligible to nominate for the National Engineering Excellence Awards to be held at Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday 20 November 2012. n Engineers Australia | October 2012




Breaking down the barrier of distance for participation

Train maintenance facility opens

by Steven Goh – Engineers Australia Queensland Division


n exciting new approach to Queensland regional continued professional development (CPD) delivery, using live streaming systems, is allowing regional members of Engineers Australia to participate in CPD events, programs and seminars based in other locations. The live streaming system automatically switches between locations, for both video and sound, as questions are put forward. This allows attendees at all sites to view and listen to both the presenter and questioner. Delivering over 400 hours of CPD annually, five of the Queensland Regional Groups of Engineers Australia (Burnett, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Emerald) piloted the first Queensland half-day virtual Engineering Risk Management Seminar on Friday 29 June. The seminar heard presentations from two speakers at the host site in Bundaberg, Dr Ronald Black of QRMC Risk Consultants and David Cox from the Risk Engineering Society and corporate risk manager for Brisbane City Council. Members located in regional Queensland constitute over 40% of Engineers Australia’s Queensland membership. This is spread over 15 regional groups throughout the state. Regional groups perform an important function in Engineers Australia’s strategic role to provide state-wide advocacy and professional development opportunities for its members. Queensland regional members are very active in regional forums and participate in a wide range of CPD through local events and access to online resources. This is made possible by the dedica-

Members of the Townsville Regional Group of Engineers Australia on a site visit to the local Humes facility.


Engineers Australia | October 2012

tion and commitment of Engineers Australia’s regional group volunteers. Through partnerships with key regional stakeholders, regional committees across Queensland work closely with local businesses, chambers of commerce and industry groups to deliver activities that directly relate to growing the economy of the region and future development. Queensland regional committees conduct on average approximately five events, activities and meetings per week across the state. These provide a huge array of CPD including technical presentations, site tours, workshops, seminars and social networking events. Some recent examples include the Cairns Young Engineers leadership day, Central Western’s Barcoo Bridge site visit, Gladstone’s Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal breakfast presentation, North Western’s gala ball, and Townsville’s Women in Engineering Baby Engineers social gathering. National Chartered Assessors have also recently visited chapters of regional Queensland to present workshops on becoming a chartered engineer. These annual visits demonstrate a solid commitment from Engineers Australia in contributing to the CPD needs of regional members. The workshops have received excellent attendance numbers across the regions. Earlier this year, Rockhampton, Mackay and Toowoomba hosted Queensland’s annual regional conferences. These conferences build on the unique strengths of the regions and offer tremendous CPD opportunities, with presenters discussing projects, developments, resources and challenges, while giving insight on a local, national and international scale. Upcoming gala events include Mackay’s inaugural Engineering Excellence Awards on Friday 7 December, Cairns’ Engineering Excellence Awards on Saturday 17 November, Gladstone’s Engineering Excellence Awards on Friday 9 November and Townsville’s Gala Dinner on Saturday 24 November. These events serve to celebrate local achievements and showcase the innovation and accomplishments of regional engineers. To find out more information or to get involved, visit Engineers Australia’s Queensland Division webpage: n Steven Goh is Engineers Australia Queensland Division president.


$180 million train maintenance and provisioning facility has been opened in regional Queensland by Asciano’s coal haulage division, Pacific National Coal. Pacific National said its new Nebo Maintenance Facility will support its coal haulage operations and further increase the efficiency of its coal haulage services. Pacific National Coal currently transports export coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, the Port of Gladstone and Port of Abbot Point under contracts with customers including Xstrata, Rio Tinto, Macarthur Coal, Anglo American, Middlemount, Bowen Central Coal and BHP Mitsui Coal (commencing on 1 January 2013). The 5km-long facility will enable the preparation and maintenance of trains to ensure reliable and efficient operation. For the most part, the facility will be used for the refuelling of trains, routine train inspections, and wagon and locomotive maintenance work. The facilities have also been designed to interface with QR National’s rail network and an agreement has been negotiated with QR National to ensure the efficient integration of the facility with the existing network. “Nebo is the first facility of its design in Australia and includes

some of the most innovative design and maintenance techniques seen within the rail industry today, with capacity to support up to 25 coal trains, with eight bays for locomotives and two main tracks for wagon maintenance,” said Geoff Featherstone, Pacific National Coal general manager of operations in Queensland. Planning for the new train provisioning and maintenance facilities at Nebo commenced in early 2010. The design and construction was carried out under an alliance between Pacific National Coal and Abigroup Contractors (construction and project coordination), BG&E Consulting Engineers (design) and QR National (design and construction of track) – known as the Pacific National Infrastructure Alliance. Norman Disney & Young (NDY) was engaged by BG&E as part of the Pacific National Infrastructure Alliance to provide engineering services in the design of electrical, mechanical, HVAC, fire and hydraulics systems of the new facility. NDY project director and national industrial director Patrick Fogarty said the team provided engineering solutions including innovate water reuse strategies and the use of best practice modelling techniques. In the water reuse design, up to 85% of the water captured on the site will be harvested and recycled. n


Thanks We would like to thank our clients Gladstone Ports Corporation for their partnership in the RG Tanna Coal Terminal Stockpile 22 Development at Gladstone.

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Engineers Australia | October 2012




Engineering Queensland’s future By Queensland premier Campbell Newman

Local solution for dewatering mines


acing the considerable problem of mining in a region that experiences major wet season rain events, Australian-based engineering firm Weir Minerals Multiflo launched its new dewatering pump last month. The MH-C2 highwall pump is a highwall mine dewatering solution specifically developed in response to industry feed-

(l-r) Weir Minerals Multiflo (WMM) managing director Paul Avey with Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson and WMM regional managing director (Asia Pacific) Rob Brown.


Engineers Australia | October 2012

back following the major flooding disasters of 2011 and 2012 in regional Queensland. The pump was designed and built in Coolum, on the Sunshine Coast, where Weir Minerals Multiflo has a base that employs approximately 160 staff. Weir Minerals Multiflo managing director Paul Avey said all engineering, and 90% of the manufacturing, was carried out on the Sunshine Coast. The pump has been designed to allow mine operators to quickly and safely get mine sites operational during times of flooding and other water-shed crises. “With a flooded mine or quarry costing up to a million dollars a day in lost productivity, we believe the Multiflo MH-C2 highwall pump will be extremely well received by the industry, simply because of the urgent need for a robust and reliable highwall mine dewatering solution,” Avey said. The pump has a maximum flow rate of 200L/s at a maximum head of 100m. It features a Weir Minerals-designed heavy duty submersible slurry pump, along with hydraulically driven wheels on the submersible pump head assembly to assist ascent and descent. The new pump also includes the availability of a booster option to take the pump to 200L/s at a maximum head of 200m. Avey said his company was committed to engineering new technologies. In particular, the company would like to see a greater emphasis placed on pre-emptive dewatering strategies built into risk management policies for the industry to mitigate the loss of jobs and productivity that happens after every wet season. To further support the development of local talent, in August Weir Minerals Multiflo became the first multinational organisation to collaborate with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) to establish a three-year scholarship. The scholarship paves the way for emerging mechanical engineers to expand on their intellectual knowledge and practical skills via a program supported by the company. n


hen the LNP government was elected in March this year, my ministers and I made a strong commitment to Queenslanders to get the state’s economy going. Our plan remains to grow a more balanced four pillar economy – focused on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction – as we look to the future to restore opportunity for business and jobs to build a better Queensland. If we can get these key sectors going, then Queensland will power on. Engineering instilled in me an analytical approach to problem solving and a logical way of dealing with issues. Engineers are, by nature, “CanDo” people. As premier of Queensland, I draw on the skills I learned as an engineer daily as we put our plan to bring real change to Queensland into action. On 11 September, we delivered our first budget for Queensland, laying out the road to better and more efficient services, real financial responsibility and security, and new opportunities for businesses in our state. As part of the budget, we announced funding for a program at the core of our commitment to grow a four pillar economy – the Royalties for the Regions program. A common challenge facing government is how to bolster regional communities. With the introduction of the Royalties for the Regions program we will build capacity, building new infrastructure in regional Queensland. This will showcase and build on local ingenuity and knowhow. Engineers will play a key role. Over the next four years, this program will invest $495 million to build new infrastructure in regions hosting major resource developments to ensure they receive genuine long-term royalty benefits. Regional resource communities will receive, for the first time, a fair share of the wealth they generate and funding will increase over coming years as we strengthen the state’s fiscal position. Working closely with community, industry and other regional groups, eligible

councils will identify and develop projects that support their regions and enhance the quality of life in their communities. The program is made up of three funding streams – the Resource Community Building Fund, the Roads to Resources program and the Floodplain Security Scheme. The Resource Community Building Fund will invest $170 million to deliver improved community infrastructure, such as education and health facilities, community centres and sporting facilities. Many areas of our state are in need of long overdue social infrastructure. This fund will contribute to strategic local infrastructure projects prioritised in regional plans and will supplement additional funds from resource companies and other levels of government. Families and industries rely on regional roads every day. Through Roads to Resources, a share of $285 million over four years will be allocated to successful applicants for the enhancement of safety connectivity and capacity of roads servicing resource communities. Over recent years, communities across Queensland have repeatedly been hit hard by major flooding. While Queensland was allocated funds for the reconstruction task after the 2010/11 summer of disasters, a report to COAG highlighted that prevention is at least as important as the cure when it identified that every $1 spent in flood mitigation saved more than $2.10 in the future. To make a real difference to the flood readiness of our regional towns and cities, the third stream of our Royalties for the Regions program – the Floodplain Security Scheme – will invest $40 million over four years to identify and fund key flood mitigation works across the state. With supplementary investment from the federal government and local councils, it is envisaged that this scheme will fund $100 million worth of flood mitigation works in Queensland over the next four years.

Our infrastructure agenda is much larger than the Royalties for the Regions program. Of course, roads and other significant engineering projects will continue to be rolled out across the state, even though we’ve had to take some hard decisions on projects in order to address unsustainable debt. Our resource industries will continue to power the state economy and through strategic land purchases and an overhaul of our state planning regime, we will ensure that those resources can be easily moved to key ports, and exported efficiently. Our coordinator-general is streamlining approval processes for big resourcesbased projects that will create thousands of new jobs. Currently, there are 30 major projects being actively coordinated across government with an estimated capital expenditure of $83 billion. These projects could create more than 39,000 construction jobs and 24,000 jobs in operations. Taking an engineering-based, “CanDo” approach – doing more with less to deliver better infrastructure and better planning for the future – will see us meet our goal to build a balanced four pillar economy in Queensland. In this way, we are driving a once in a generation change. Queensland will once again be the state of opportunity, with our best days yet to come. n

Engineers Australia | October 2012




The first modules of prefabricated steel structure for LNG processing trains being built on Curtis Island have arrived from Thailand. For a video on the project read this online.

View online

Massive structures arrive in Gladstone


ladstone’s conversion into a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub reached a major milestone in August with the delivery of the first six modules of prefabricated steel structure that will become part of the Curtis Island LNG facilities under construction. The first modules, which weigh a combined total of 7716t, are for the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) facility, one of three facilities Bechtel is building on the island as part of three engineering, procurement and construction contracts it has with major proponents in the coal seam gas to LNG industry. Over the next three years, Bechtel will build an LNG hub on Curtis Island for APLNG (ConocoPhilips, Origin Energy and Sinopec), GLNG (Santos, Petronas, Total And Kogas) and QCLNG (Queensland Gas Company). Bechtel said the engineering, procurement and construction of the three LNG plants on Curtis Island, which is accessible only by water, represents the greatest concentration of Bechtel 40

Engineers Australia | October 2012

projects anywhere in the world. The three LNG projects sit sideby-side, with the first plant scheduled for completion in 2014. Kevin Berg, Bechtel’s operations manager in Gladstone, said: “The delivery of these first six modules is a major milestone for both Bechtel and our customer QGC. It marks the beginning of a new phase in construction, and the project will really start taking shape now.” Berg said 18 months of engineering, design, and planning have gone into the construction of the modules, with each module designed and built with extreme precision to fit into its specific location. These first modules, when pieced together, will form part of the structure to transport the gas from the tanks to the jetty. “Almost 3.5 million job hours have been worked to reach this goal, and this is where the construction of a megaproject starts to get really exciting,” said Bechtel QCLNG site manager Phil Newsome. “This is the first of 80 modules to be delivered,

so from now on, the site will change noticeably as the major components of the facility start coming together.” The modules were built in Thailand and transported by barge to Gladstone. A total of 260 modules for the three Curtis Island LNG projects will arrive in Gladstone by sea during the next two years. At the peak of construction, the workforce on Curtis Island will be 8800 strong. Housing strain has become an issue in the regional centre, and to house some of this workforce the Santos GLNG project has started to build its next stage of 56 houses for employees moving to Gladstone to work on the project. The houses are in addition to the 45 that were completed in June and are aligned with Santos GLNG’s strategy to house its workforce to reduce pressure on the Gladstone housing market. GLNG chief executive of operations Mark Macfarlane said the houses built for workers were in addition to the accommodation facility being built on Curtis Island for workers building the LNG plant and associated infrastructure. Around 1800 beds are expected to be available on the island by the end of this year. Macfarlane said the GLNG project is one of Australia’s largest energy projects and will use innovative new technology to process coal seam natural gas (CSG) into LNG for export to global markets. Just last month, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it will deliver a wide range of communications systems and services for the GLNG project, including network design, installation, integration, project management and construction. Alcatel-Lucent will be responsible for project management – including design, procurement, installation and integration – of a complete communications and security system, along with uninterrupted power supply (UPS) back up. A combination of optical fibre cabling, local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), plant UHF radio and VHF marine radio subsystems will deliver data and voice communications to support the workforce at the plant and all operations, including monitoring and control of operations at the LNG trains. The use of real-time video and data will allow workers at the GLNG project to monitor operations in the LNG processing trains, which house liquefaction and purification facilities, on a 24-hour basis. In addition, real-time data notification will ensure that teams are aware of any potential issues, so that they can be addressed appropriately. In addition, Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras will allow 24/7 monitoring within and around the plant and a gate access control system will regulate movement at the facility and provide access to approved personnel only. A public alarm/

general alarm (PA/GA) system will deliver essential information to workers and people in the surrounding area. Also last month, Thiess was awarded a $134 million contract by Saipem Australia to construct a tunnel for the GLNG project. Thiess will construct a 4.3km tunnel under a section of water known as The Narrows to connect the mainland near Gladstone to the Santos GLNG plant on Curtis Island. Thiess will construct the tunnel using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) and the concrete segments used to line the tunnel will be cast onsite. The 3.4m internal diameter, segmentally lined tunnel will serve as the conduit for the Santos GLNG gas transmission line. Mobilisation was expected to commence onsite last month, preparing for tunnelling activities to commence later in the year. Pipelines are a big component of all the projects, with some requiring over 500km of pipe from inner Queensland to Curtis Island. To realise this opportunity, a new $28 million manufacturing facility recently opened in Toowoomba with intentions to supply pipeline systems to the industry – particularly the QCLNG and Santos GLNG projects. The facility will allow Iplex Pipelines, a division of Fletcher Building, to supply about 7000km of polyethylene pipe to the two projects. Iplex Pipelines general manager for infrastructure Kevin Kellow said the factory uses the very latest pipe extrusion technology to achieve fast and efficient production with reduced energy processes. The Toowoomba facility will ease the pressure on the Iplex facilities in Townsville and Albury which have been fulfilling the demand by making the several hundred kilometre journey to southern Queensland. Queensland deputy premier and minister for state development, planning and infrastructure Jeff Seeney opened the new facility in August. “This will result in a positive flow-on effect to other areas of the local economy and is an example of the economic and community benefits the CSG/LNG boom is delivering directly to the region,” Sweeney said. Seeney said the new facility had been facilitated in large part by Invest Queensland, part of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. “It was Invest Queensland that first contacted Iplex in 2007 and helped secure the site and resolved issues around their electricity infrastructure with the developer,” he said. “In addition to this support, Invest Queensland worked with local government to get the necessary approvals to start construction. It is an example of what can be achieved when government and industry work together to achieve results. The state government is committed to removing stumbling blocks to industry and playing a more active role in being a facilitator.” n Engineers Australia | October 2012




Yvonne Jackson (r) and her colleague at Peak Downs, a large open cut coking coal mine south of Moranbah.

Yvonne Jackson works on the dragline at Peak Downs, owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).

Zoee Shelley out on Arrow petroleum lease, near Dalby.

Alex Preston out on Arrow petroleum lease, near Dalby.

Finding rich rewards in regional work By Zoee Shelley and Nicole Tucker


n the latest mining boom, regional areas in Queensland like Moranbah, Dalby and Chinchilla have grown considerably and had an influx of engineers from many different backgrounds, including many women engineers from all over the world. These industry women have all found something that keeps them coming back for more – a great sense of reward from the opportunities on offer. When people think of regional Queensland, they usually think of one-street towns, with little to no services, hours of driving to get anywhere, coal mines, large open spaces and lots of red dirt. However, when you scratch the surface and dig a little deeper, it is easy to see that this is an area that offers a wealth of experiences and opportunities, and some of the most interesting people you may ever come across. Living remotely can have its difficulties; however, the rewards usually far outweigh these. When the Engineers Australia Women in Engineering Queensland group discussed working in regional areas with women in the industry, one thing that is always highlighted is the wealth of experience that you can gain from being involved on operational sites. Working on site provides engineers with an opportunity to get involved in every facet of the operation, and see the theoretical put into practice. Due to the smaller number of locally available resources, there are more opportunities to add value to a project, and


Engineers Australia | October 2012

utilise a wider range of skills, which is not always a possibility when working in metropolitan areas. Mechanical engineer Mary D’Souza has been working in a FIFO (fly-in fly-out) role on a coal mine in Moranbah for the past nine months. Initially unaccustomed to what it means to work in regional Queensland, D’Souza said that as a FIFO worker she prefers the challenges and experiences of site work, but also wanted to maintain the life she is accustomed to in the metropolitan centres. She said she enjoys her changing environment and it helps her to put things into perspective. When asked what advice she would give to someone graduating and considering a move to regional Australia, D’Souza said: “Go for it! Working on site is an enjoyable experience, and is invaluable particularly when you are new to the industry.” As a local to central Queensland, and having lived in Moranbah since 1978, Nita Patterson began working at the local coal mines in supply chain management after her two children were old enough to attend school. Patterson admits that as the town has changed, so have the people, and the region is one that faces many challenges, including the influx of FIFO and DIDO (drive-in drive-out) workforces. However, she said the sense of community remains strong, and as an active member of local sporting clubs and the Country Women’s Association,

she said there is a strong support network to help combat the feeling of remoteness. She said the Living or working regionally can be difficult companies operating in the region are also putting at times, but if you’re prepared to take the good money and resources into the area, such as the new town swimming pool that opened in January challenge, the wealth of experience and after a $6 million refurbishment. community friendships you may gain is Another local, principal civil engineer Suzanne Brown has always called central Queensland home definitely something you won’t regret. having grown up, gone to university and worked in the region. Brown also has two children and admits that there have been periods where she struggled and to set up more regional networking opportunities and support even considered leaving the engineering profession in search of systems which will hopefully reduce these potential drawbacks. another career which was more family friendly. Today she spends Living or working regionally can be difficult at times, but her time working on projects to renew older infrastructure and if you’re prepared to take the challenge, the wealth of experiis thankful she never found that alternative career because she ence and community friendships you may gain is definitely now loves what she is doing. something you won’t regret. n The need for a support network, both personally and professionally, was one of the main issues these women commented on. Zoee Shelley is an environmental/civil engineer working a FIFO Mentoring opportunities and working with more experienced roster between Moranbah and Brisbane. Nicole Tucker is a female engineers is not always readily available, and if combined geotechnical engineer who has lived and worked in regional and with a limited social network, living and working in regional metropolitan Queensland with her young family. Shelley and areas may exacerbate the feeling of being remote. Tucker are the regional coordinators for the Engineers Australia Women in Engineering Queensland and Women in Mining Women in Engineering Queensland group. For more information and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) are both endeavouring on the group, email Engineers Australia | October 2012



Taking a look at developments through regional Queensland.