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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2140 ..


Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (5.49): I thank the member for Brindabella for the motion she has moved in the Assembly and for the opportunity to talk on this issue. I also note the mutual interest our parties have shown on the issue. I am pleased that yesterday’s budget officially created the role of the chief engineer for the ACT. In noting that, I will move the amendments circulated in my name. They will bring this motion to currency after that budget announcement. I seek leave to move the amendments circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR GENTLEMAN: I move:

(1) Omit paragraph (1)(c), substitute:

“(c) the Government has been engaging with key stakeholders on the establishment and appointment of a Chief Engineer; and”.

(2) Omit paragraph (2), substitute:

“(2) further notes:

(a) the 2018-19 Budget establishes the role of a Chief Engineer for the ACT to improve the quality and efficiency of ACT Government infrastructure delivery; and

(b) the Government will shortly make an announcement about the appointment of a Chief Engineer.”.

This new position in the ACT public service will meet the needs of a growing and evolving city. The establishment of the position recognises the important role that engineers engage in at all stages of project development—from conceptualisation through to planning, regulation, construction, asset management and operation.

Canberra has a strong engineering heritage, with investments in significant infrastructure dating back to the foundation of the nation’s capital in 1913. Early work included establishing roads, suburbs, water supplies and other key infrastructure. Significant investment in infrastructure continues, with an estimated $2.8 billion of government investment over the next four years, including the city’s largest project, the transformative Canberra light rail network. The establishment of a chief engineer is thus timely and welcome.

Engineering turns science and technology into something tangible and useful to society by taking a concept to delivery. Engineering is a key driver of innovation and prosperity. There is a role here for government and for the private sector. A clear question for any government is: how can engineering best contribute to decisions of government and community more broadly? The creation of this new role of chief engineer will go part-way to addressing these broader urban issues and support decision-making in government related to infrastructure and engineering.

As we heard during the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election, the Chief Minister committed to appoint a chief engineer for the ACT who would provide strategic oversight for projects and deliver an enduring workforce plan. I was subsequently asked to take responsibility for this important role.


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