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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2137 ..


Chief Engineer—proposed appointment

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.39): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the vital roles that engineers play at all stages of project development, including conceptualisation, planning, approval, construction, testing, acceptance and maintenance;

(b) both the Liberal and Labor parties committed to the establishment of a Chief Engineer during the 2016 election;

(c) despite a commitment in the 2017-18 Budget, the ACT is still without a Chief Engineer; and

(2) calls on the Government to appoint a Chief Engineer for the ACT.

I rise to speak to this motion today and what I think is a very important matter for the ACT. It is not one of those flashy, shiny, moveable parts issues that people get all excited about; what it does is ensure integrity and scrutiny of projects in the ACT. It is not going to get anyone's face on the front cover of the Canberra Times tomorrow morning. Potentially, that is why nothing has been done by the government in this regard. They have not appeared to progress the matter, whereas they are happy to go to the opening of an envelope anywhere else throughout the ACT. But despite their unwillingness to progress this matter and even talk about the matter, I want to bring this forward today.

During the 2016 election the Liberals promised the implementation of a chief engineer, in fact, and an engineer's panel. The Labor Party joined the Liberals in promising that implementation. That was 18 months or so ago. Almost exactly a year ago—12 months ago—on 4 June 2017 the Chief Minister put out a press release which stated:

The ACT Government will introduce a position of Chief Engineer to lead the territory's engineering and infrastructure projects.

We had the announcement of the promise during the election. Twelve months ago we had a media release about introducing the position. Twelve months down the track, where are we? What do we have? I will tell you what we have. We have nothing, zip, nada, absolutely nothing in this space.

Let us remember, though, that this media release from the Chief Minister only came out after Engineers Australia came out saying that this was a forgotten election promise and the ACT government was not advancing the cause. We had a promise, a media release in response to someone else raising the issue, and still we have nothing. That is why I brought the motion today calling on the government to progress their promise and their announcements. For the past 12 months all they have been able to do is put out a press release on it.


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