Media Release | 24 JANUARY 2017
A leading engineer association has said that the debacle that is the Perth Children’s Hospital is another reminder to West Australians of their state’s poor engineering capacity.
The Association of Professional Engineers Australia (APEA) CEO Chris Walton said Western Australia’s ability to deliver projects safely and on time has been compromised by the State Government’s failure to maintain its engineering workforce.
“It’s likely many of the issues with the project would have been discovered earlier and rectified if the State Government had invested in its internal engineering capacity. Engineers are critical in risk management processes, and the best engineers would have identified many of the issues we’re now hearing about.
“What we’re seeing is the direct result of the State Government’s poor planning and management when it comes to major infrastructure projects, and that comes down to engineering capacity,” said Mr Walton.
“The Government no longer invests in developing and training engineering roles in the public service, and instead relies on external bodies for all major projects. This means more mistakes are being made, and problems are taking longer to be addressed.
“We’ve seen $1.2 billion spent on this project, it’s already more than 12 months behind the initial completion date, with no end date in sight,” said Mr Walton.
The APEA Better Infrastructure report outlines average waste for projects over $1 billion is 12.6 per cent, drawn from extensive industry research.
“For infrastructure projects of this size we would expect to see over $150 million wasted thanks to deskilling of engineering capacity,” Mr Walton said.
“This is a major project that is clearly being badly managed, as a result the community is suffering, and taxpayers foot the bill.
“We need the State Government to stop wasting taxpayer money and to start investing in the engineering profession so that the people of WA get the quality infrastructure they deserve.
“There just aren’t enough in-house engineers to effectively scope, design and manage projects thanks to the Government’s short sighted preference for outsourcing. Governments have a responsibility to make sure that taxpayers’ money is not needlessly wasted,” said Mr Walton.
Media contacts: Siobhan Lyttle – 0481 751 579 or Ashley Burmeister – 0401 376 636