Yesterday’s South Australian budget represents a lost opportunity to invest in the engineering professionals South Australia will need to deliver better infrastructure.
“The Government announced a major roads infrastructure package, yet it is cutting engineers from its own ranks. We cannot deliver critical large-scale road construction projects without experienced infrastructure professionals,” said Professionals Australia’s South Australian Director Sarah Andrews.
“Some of the most experienced engineers in South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure have been made redundant. Without that expertise projects will be poorly scoped and there will not be proper oversight of external contractors.
“Investing in roads infrastructure, while at the same time downsizing the Department’s professional engineering and construction capacity is risky.
“Professionals Australia would like to see a new Office of the Chief Engineer inside the South Australian Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure to address inefficiencies and oversee project delivery.
“Retaining engineering expertise within government departments saves the taxpayer. Where governments lack the necessary internal engineering and technical expertise for procurement we see wasted productivity.
“Delivering road infrastructure on time, on budget demands expertise. Already we see projects consistently going over budget. Unless we have departmental engineers monitoring procurement and project delivery we will see corners cut on road infrastructure.
“Professionals Australia welcomes the immediate commitment to inject an additional $165 million into road infrastructure over the forward estimates.
“We also support the Government’s intention to create jobs and increase certainty for contracted construction engineers.
“The experience and knowledge of the engineers engaged directly by the Government is essential at each stage of project delivery. South Australian tax payers end up out of pocket when infrastructure costs blow out. This lost productivity is avoidable if the Government invests in its professionals,” said Ms Andrews.
Visit http://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/advocacy/campaigns/better-infrastructure/ for more information about Professionals Australia’s campaign for Better Infrastructure.
Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004