Engineers Australia organised a meeting with the Deputy CEO of Infrastructure Western Australia (IWA) Owen Thomas to discuss the Western Australian State Infrastructure Strategy (Strategy), which was recently tabled in Parliament.
At the meeting IWA presented a detailed overview of key recommendations in the Strategy with a specific focus on the transport sector to Engineers Australia and Transport Australia Society members and stakeholders. We highlighted aspects of the calls from our submission to IWA as part of consultation on the Strategy late last year.
The Engineers Australia submission called for embedded sustainability principles for project planning, the creation of a Chief Engineer role in WA, the need to build stronger industry research and professional capabilities for infrastructure, and the need for demand management in road pricing among many other things.
Owen contextualised the key recommended outcomes of the Strategy in respect to our feedback and areas of interest. Firstly, the Strategy aims to set the foundations for WA’s future infrastructure by improving the quality and consistency of planning across government. It takes a state-wide view of the infrastructure system, focusing on areas of opportunity such as use and sharing of data, climate change, Aboriginal culture and heritage, and optimising current assets.
Now the Strategy has been tabled in Parliament, the Western Australian Government’s response requires to be tabled by 3 February 2023. This response, which will include the government’s response to each recommendation and their level of support, will subsequently enable IWA to work with agencies and stakeholders on implementation of supported recommendations across the state.
At the meeting, Engineers Australia Western Australia General Manager, Susan Kreemer Pickford profiled Engineers Australia’s recent work on the engineering skills shortage, highlighting that 41,000 engineers will be required across Australia in the next five years.
“We referred to key engineering priorities such as the need for climate proof infrastructure and for new transport modelling scenarios to reflect changes to how the public are now working and commuting as a result of the pandemic,” she said.
IWA will continue to liaise with Engineers Australia and other industry representatives as the Strategy’s implementation process begins.
Engineers Australia looks forward to working with IWA throughout the process and into the development of the next Strategy. This meeting helped further build the already strong relationship with IWA, ensuring the recommendations and needs of engineers are being heard at a state-wide level.