Sydney President update 

Sydney President Jessica Qiu provides an update on local activity during the second quarter of 2020.
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Sydney President update 

Welcome to the second quarterly update for Engineers Australia Sydney. 

Firstly, I would like to bring attention to the historic decision made on the 3rd of June 2020 by the NSW Parliament to  reform the NSW building sector and to introduce a mandatory registration scheme for professional engineers.

This decision recognises the importance of the work engineers do and highlights the responsibility and accountability that we must carry as professionals while executing our jobs. This is a positive step for our industry and will help to provide much needed assurances on the quality of projects that are delivered into the community. 

Across the state, we are stepping into the third month of social restrictions for COVID-19 with gradual relaxation taking place. Many engineers remained busy during this period, working from home, in controlled office environments or on sites with social distancing measures in place.

There has been a stronger-than-ever commitment from the state government to invest in infrastructure projects and fast tracking the “shovel ready” projects to stimulate the Australian economy.

Since May, The NSW and Federal Governments announced a further $3.5 billion in funding for the Sydney Metro - Western Sydney Airport line, which will enable construction to kick off before the end of the year. In addition, NSW government has reprioritised $810 million worth of funding from the Stadium Australia projects to a new $3 billion Infrastructure and Job Acceleration Fund, which will see several smaller projects progressed across the state. These announcements are very encouraging for our construction sector. 

The road to economic recovery is no doubt going to be an interesting challenge for our engineering community. While many of us are adopting new ways of communication to achieve our corporate and project goals, many have already started to consider a different “norm” post-COVID-19 to achieve more sustainable practices while boost productivity.

That means adopting agile practices to reduce corporate waste on resources, amending old processes to meet our updated and actual business needs while still achieving the intent, and most importantly, investing in Research and Development (R&D) to explore new horizons for our future.

We must recognise that as an industry, we cannot rely simply on additional infrastructure projects as a road to recovery. Engineers are at the heart of innovations, we carry the capability to develop and translate ideas in to practices that will bring new products and create new jobs, which ultimately translate to positive boost for the Australian economy.

It is now the time to focus on developing our Advance Manufacturing Base locally in the Western Sydney Aerotropolises, curate niche technologies that can be commercialised and add value to our communities, accelerate sustainable energy generation in the greater state of NSW, and reconsider our current land-use strategy for mining and waste management. The possibilities are endless.

For many businesses and institutions, it might be tempting to cut back on investments into R&D during a time of recession, but it is precisely innovation that will walk Australia out of our current recession and provide a long-term prosperity to our beloved sun-burnt land.

I welcome suggestion and ideas from our members to help our engineering community thrive through knowledge sharing and collaboration. Please reach out to me on [email protected] with any comments and suggestions. 

Article submitted by: Jessica Qui.

Image: courtesy of Jessica Qiu.