| 20 November 2023

Infrastructure investment front of mind at summit

The Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) Infrastructure Summit 2023 in Sydney last week brought together Australia’s policymakers, chief executives and investors.

The two-day summit explored how the priorities for infrastructure investment and planning have changed in 2023 and what the rethink means for the nation’s economic growth.  

Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew AO participated in a panel discussion on project delivery with General Manager, NSW and ACT at McConnell Dowell Larry McGrath and Director, Strategy, Transformation and Innovation at Laing O'Rourke Regan Crooks. AFR Journalist Jenny Wiggins facilitated the conversation.  

The panel touched on the recently announced changes in funding of infrastructure projects, workforce challenges, procurement reform, the need for investment certainty and barriers to innovation.

“It takes a decade to develop an engineer to the level which industry require,” Ms Madew said.  

“It isn’t possible to require engineers tomorrow and expect them to exist. We need a workable pipeline which feeds back to the tertiary sector to help us develop the workforce of the future.”  

The panel discussion was a good opportunity to explore the inflationary pressures on infrastructure and how new innovations as well as trying and testing new materials may help. The conversation also touched on procurement processes and the need to be consistent across Australia at both state and federal level.  

In closing Ms Madew said “the future infrastructure sector needs to be sustainable, diverse and inclusive, productive and digital by default.”