Australia’s engineers should be quarantined from any budget cuts recommended by the Federal Government’s new Commission of Audit or it will risk billions of dollars of infrastructure blowouts.
CEO of Association of Professional Engineers Australia, Chris Walton, said the Government should respond to the recent Senate inquiry into engineering skills shortages, Chaired by Liberal Senator Dr Chris Black before making any changes to its engineering stocks.
“Prime Minister Abbott wants to be known as an infrastructure Prime Minister, but he won’t be able to achieve this without enough in-house engineers to ensure projects are delivered effectively and efficiently,” Mr Walton said.
“The Abbott Government needs to address its engineering skills crisis before it can start delivering on infrastructure plans.”
Mr Walton said the recent Senate inquiry had confirmed that previous governments had cut their engineering skills to the point where they were no longer an informed purchaser of infrastructure.
“Detailed research has shown that major infrastructure projects routinely blow out by 20 per cent if you don't have enough engineers to scope them properly,” Mr Walton said.
“This means that having the right number of talented engineers can save governments billions.
“Treasury officials and politicians cannot assess how much a bridge or a tunnel should cost without the considered advice of appropriately qualified engineers.
“We call on the Abbott Government to address the failure of the previous government by responding to the Senate’s enquiry to ensure it is prepared to deliver the infrastructure our growing cities need.”
“The new government is correct in wanting to address our infrastructure backlog. We therefore cannot afford to waste one dollar through poor project management. We look forward to work with the new government to assist them in achieving their goals.” Mr Walton said.