The message from the public sector engineering peak body to its members is get ready to get busy.
Council engineers will be the front line of federal government investment in public works designed as a response to the COVID-19 crisis said Director Professional Services, Institute of Public Works Engineering Queensland (IPWEAQ), Craig Moss.
The readiness call was supported by a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to mayors and councillors requesting details of infrastructure projects that could be brought forward to start construction within three to six months.
On 6 March Mr McCormack wrote, ‘Fast-tracking the delivery of critical road projects across Australia is key to driving jobs, strengthening the economy and getting people home sooner and safer.’
Re-sheeting and sealing roads, filling potholes and refurbishing railway stations were labour-intensive and better options over major projects which would take some time to bring on line, the IPWEAQ’s Craig Moss said.
The expected increase in the broader public works program would lead to capacity and capability challenges, said Mr Moss.
“Having experienced the problems created in response to the Global Financial Crisis in 2007/08, we must learn from this experience to maximise the benefits to our communities” he said.
“Our sector must have a workforce with the requisite knowledge and skills in place if we are to respond appropriately to the increase in construction and maintenance activities.
“Research shows high-performing organisations in Australia and overseas share several attributes concerning learning and development.”
“If an organisation can develop and implement these strategies, it will assist in meeting the capability challenges we can expect in the medium term.
The IPWEAQ was positioning its service in response to the anticipated increase in demand, said Mr Moss.
“We have been working hard to provide a range of learning and development activities that can be easily accessed at a time and place that is suitable to each individual,” he said