The Association of Professional Engineers Australia (APEA) would like to congratulate the Victorian ALP on its victory in last weekend’s election.
For the next four years, we can expect further investment in infrastructure namely hospitals, road and rail e.g. Frankston Hospital, the North East Link and an Airport Rail Link to mention but a few. Record spending in infrastructure projects will require greater investment in qualified and skilled engineers to plan, design and implement these projects safely and on-time.
Just over a month ago, the Engineers Registration Bill could not be debated in Victorian Parliament in the last sitting before the election, despite having numbers in the Victorian Legislative Council. A re-elected Labor Government has pledged to re-introduce registration legislation in the first 100 days.
One of the six solutions suggested in the Engineering A Better Future Campaign is for governments to require registration of professional engineers.
In a joint September 3 letter to The Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips, registration:
- Ensures community safety: “If electrical works were carried out at your home, the electrician undertaking the work would be licensed. However, the engineers who designed the power system on which the house relies for power would have no such mandatory checks and balances. This is both ridiculous and risky.”
- Is supported by the industry: “There is widespread support including from The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Instituted Chemical Engineers, Institute of Public Works Australia, Victorian Civil Construction Industry Alliance, Deans of Engineering Faculties and many more.”
- Mitigates financial risk: “While estimates vary, research by Deloitte for the Australian Constructor’s Association estimated the average cost blow-out at 6.5% across all projects and 12.6% for projects over $1 billion. By underpinning competence and currency, registration helps ensure those designing and scoping major projects are suitably qualified to scope, design and build projects to budget and timeframe.”
- Monitors skilled migration: “data shows that nearly 5,000 temporary migrants entered with no check of qualifications. It is estimated over 3,380 permanent and temporary migrant engineers came to Victoria in one year. New engineers that enter the workforce under temporary skilled migration visas require absolutely no testing of their skill or qualifications.”
In their first four years, the Victorian Labor Government have delivered several key initiatives for engineers including:
- The Major Projects Skills Guarantee in January 2016 to support cadetships that give young engineers a start
- A Chief Engineer in February 2018
- An independent Infrastructure Victoria to prioritise the state’s record public infrastructure spend and;
- Passed legislation to register engineers in the Lower House.
Qualified and skilled engineers are required to scope, design and deliver on the various projects aroudn the nation. The re-election of the Victorian Labor Government and the pledges of the NSW and ACT Labor parties is a step in the right direction to lift the standing of the profession and make engineers central to the decisions of government and business.
APEA would once again like to congratulate the Victorian ALP on their re-election and I personally look forward to working with them to affect the change needed to increase the awareness of the vital importance of the engineering profession.
Chris Walton, CEO, Association of Professional Engineers Australia.