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There’s little doubt that disruptive technologies are transforming the workplace. The question is, are our young engineers equipped to succeed in this new world? According to Dhakshy Sooriyakumaran from The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), forces of change like automation, globalisation and a move to flexible workplaces mean young engineers will increasingly rely on a ‘soft’ or enterprise skillset , and will likely need to keep ‘re-skilling’ over the course of their professional lives. “I think there's a lot to be done in the engineering space, particularly around equipping the next generation of engineers differently,” Sooriyakumaran says. “I ...
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3,000 delegates, 21 countries attending, nine streams, three days, 243 exhibitors – that is Ozwater '17 by the numbers, the Australian Water Association’s conference being held in Sydney this week with the theme of Embracing Innovation and Disruption for a Smart Future. It’s heartening to see so many delegates and exhibitors within the water industry from around Australia and the world value what this annual conference offers. It also is a challenge to the public works infrastructure sector's commitment to advancing their knowledge when IPWEA presents its biennial International Public Works Conference in August. Two years ago in Rotorua, NZ, we had a record ...
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In Tasmania’s isolated West Coast region, a collaborative approach to asset management promises to deliver better outcomes for the community. West Coast Council has partnered with contractor Stornoway for a resource-sharing partnership that will see the parties share plant, equipment, materials and labour during periods of demanding work. There are also possibilities for shared training. For local assets like roads, bridges, footpaths, community buildings and facilities, this may include: Asset inspection and reporting Project supervision Maintenance works programming Project tendering Routine maintenance works delivery Minor capital ...
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This story was originally published in the April edition of inspire magazine.  inspire  had a chat to IPWEA member Rob Sharp about why he chose engineering, the opportunities available for young engineers and the best career choice he ever made.  Sharp is an Asset Engineer with the Tararua Alliance, an unincorporated joint venture alliance contract between Tararua District Council and Downer. i nspire: Rob, why did you decide to pursue a career in engineering? Sharp:  As a typical school leaver I had no idea what to do. Otago University was the furthest I could get from home in the North Island, and I had some good mates going there so I decided ...
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By Kenny Ingram, Director of Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure, IFS The move to a data-driven digital asset lifecycle is causing a huge disruption in the industry across all stages of an asset’s life. Different digital technologies are starting to impact how construction projects are delivered and how assets are subsequently operated and maintained. These include BIM (Building Information Modelling), 4D and intelligent scheduling, 3D printing, drones, mobility, laser scanning, robotics and automation, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data and analytics. These digital technologies will collect a vast amount ...
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Australasia’s peak body representing public works infrastructure management has announced a change of baton, with industry guru Peter Way PSM stepping down from his role as National Asset Management Strategy (NAMS) Chair after 12 years.   IPWEA Australasia has appointed Murray Erbs as the new Chair of the Institute’s flagship NAMS portfolio. The announcement was made at the IPWEA Australasia NAMS Council meeting, held on Saturday in Melbourne. IPWEA CEO Robert Fuller said: “After conducting an extensive search and receiving strong candidate nominations from both Australia and New Zealand, it was decided that Murray brought the right balance of expert knowledge ...
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Fully autonomous vehicles can solve congestion, save lives and even alter property prices – but they will also mean the end of many jobs as we know them. Transport and urban planning expert Simon Ginn says autonomous vehicles are far closer to hitting our roads than many people think, and there’s no doubt that when that happens there will be both winners and losers. “All the major car manufacturers in the world expect they will deliver an autonomous vehicle to the general public by 2020,” he says. “Some of them think it will be a little earlier, but none think it will be later. They’re all competing against each other, so none want to miss out. 2020 seems ...
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 Australia’s peak body for public works engineering has congratulated the Federal Government on its Budget, applauding the extensive funding of major capital infrastructure projects and the move to end the freeze on local government Financial Assistance Grants. IPWEA CEO Robert Fuller says the continuation of the freeze would have meant ongoing pain for local governments and their communities.  The indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants programme was frozen in the 2014-15 budget, a move that, if extended until 30 June 2018, would have stripped nearly a billion dollars from local governments. “A continued freeze on indexation of the grants would have ...
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A smart flood warning system and a landfill that converts gas to power are among the projects that received accolades at the 2017 National Awards for Local Government.  The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of local councils providing Australian communities with a wide range of new or improved, high-quality, cost-effective services. Minister for Local Government and Territories Fiona Nash said entries were of the highest standard, demonstrating that local leadership can make a real difference. “Importantly the awards provide all those involved in planning and implementing these innovative projects with the national recognition they deserve," ...
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There’s one very important consideration that could either make or break your strategic asset management plan: estimating the useful life of your assets. IPWEA trainer John Comrie explains that good asset management planning requires reliable and up-to-date estimates of asset useful lives. Local governments are incredibly asset intensive, which means that assessments of asset useful lives can have a big impact on recorded annual depreciation and asset management plan projected needs. Comrie explains that local governments should create a solid foundation for their asset management planning. “If councils are to make informed assessments regarding their financial ...
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How would you like to explore the US, France and The Netherlands, getting up close and personal with the world’s most cutting-edge public works innovations? IPWEA’s 21-day 2017 International Study Tour offers the chance to travel the world and attend the American Public Works Congress and Exhibition. The 2017 study tour theme is ‘best practice and innovation in public works’. The study tour will include visits to local councils and organisations in Orlando, New York, Strasbourg/Versailles and Rotterdam/Amsterdam (to be confirmed). There is also the opportunity to stay on and further explore the UK and Europe privately. According to Andrew Ryan, Director ...
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IPWEA’s NAMS.PLUS face-to-face training is back , providing participants with the tools they need to achieve their organisation’s asset management goals. The three-day training will be held in capital cities around Australia, with the first session kicking off in Brisbane on 6 June. More than 1000 professionals have attended the training during the past eight years. The training gives participants practical experience using the online NAM.PLUS tools and templates, enabling them to write and update their organisation's asset management plan and strategy in line with strategic objectives. Trainers Allen Mapstone and Steve Verity say although the content ...
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Michelle Grattan , University of Canberra The federal government has confirmed it will build Sydney’s second airport after the Sydney Airport Group, owner of Kingsford Smith, announced on Tuesday it would not take up its right of first refusal to construct and operate the Badgerys Creek airport. Sydney Airport Group chief executive Kerrie Mather said despite the opportunities the new airport would present, “the risks associated with the development and operation are considerable and endure for many decades, without commensurate returns for our investors”. Next week’s budget will give details of the western Sydney project, which will be part of ...
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For many organisations, plant and vehicles underpin operational outcomes. Whether it’s a 30-tonne excavator, a waste compactor or a one-tonne utility, the fleet enables people to do what they need to do. The fleet also affects an organisation’s efficiency. As a significant part of the operational and capital budget, a well-managed fleet provides a great opportunity to find those increasingly elusive savings. But, perhaps most significantly, good fleet management is a business assurance activity. With rigorous health and safety laws and increasing heavy vehicle regulation, it is critical that senior management can be confident everything that needs to be done ...
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By Chris Sheedy A new and wondrous breed of vehicle is currently travelling a 3.4 km route in Perth, Western Australia. The RAC Intellibus, a fully driverless electric shuttle bus, carries up to 11 passengers along roads that it shares with cars (including parked ones), trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, at the  sedate pace of 15 km/hr. The vehicle is capable of greater speeds – up to 45 km/hr. But as it is in a test period, its keepers at the RAC are taking a safety-first approach. They need to make sure the vehicle and its technology are up to the job. They also need to convince sometimes reticent members of the community that the vehicle ...
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Understanding coastal storms

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UNSW Water Research Laboratory’s Dr Mitch Harley is an expert in coastal storms. Predicting last year’s east coast low that destroyed houses at Collaroy on Sydney’s northern beaches eight days before it hit, he was also one of the first to document the damage as it was occurring. Recently, Harley has contributed to a new book Coastal Storms: Processes and Impacts,  that includes a chapter covering the issue of defining what exactly is classified as a ‘coastal storm’. intouch: Can you give us a general overview of what we can find in the book? MH: The book aims to provide a thorough introduction for anyone seeking to better understand coastal storms ...
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Although the likes of Uber see flying cars as the future of transportation , serial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s vision for congestion-free cities is a little more…boring. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO pitched his latest – and arguably his wackiest – idea to a TED audience: boring a complex 3D network of tunnels under cities, where, rather than drive, cars are transported via computer-guided ‘skates’ capable of travelling 200 km/h. “We’re trying to dig a hole under LA ­– this is to create the beginning of what will hopefully be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion,” he told the audience. “First of all, you have to be able to integrate the entrance ...
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Proving that bigger isn’t always better, the tight-knit team from Dulverton Waste Management (DWM) has outdone billion-dollar companies to be named Australia’s best landfill. The north-west Tasmanian facility won the Waste Management Association of Australia’s 2017 Landfill Excellence Awards, which were presented at the annual Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference. DWM nabbed the award thanks to its achievements in minimising the landfill’s environmental impact, maximising the recovery and re-use of resources and its ability to demonstrate continuous improvement and innovation.  DWM CEO Mat Greskie, who is also IPWEA Vice President, says ...
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The Federal Government should not shy away from borrowing for public infrastructure investment, particularly while interest rates are low and Australia’s economic credibility remains competitively high, argue a group of influential peak bodies. The Australian Local Government Association, Planning Institute of Australia, National Growth Areas Alliance, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Australian Logistics Council, Green Building Council of Australia and National Farmer’s Federation have issued a joint statement on Australia’s infrastructure future in the lead-up to the May budget.  While the organisations support fiscal discipline to ...
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For those of you interested in the ongoing development of the ISO asset management standards, Technical Committee 251 recently held its fourth meeting in Brisbane, Australia. Despite some disruption from Cyclone Debbie, good progress was made on the revision of ISO 55002 and developing new technical specifications and standards on issues like guidance on the alignment between asset and financial management and developing government policy on asset management. For full details refer to the communique on the meeting outcomes
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