When Malcom Turnbull outlined his vision for 30-minute cities earlier this year, the notion that all metropolitan residents should be able to commute to and from their place of work within half an hour was clearly laid out.
Equally clear was the extent of opportunity this presents for engineers, whose expertise will be critical not just in terms of delivering upon individual projects but also in up-front stages of planning how our cities and infrastructure will work going forward.
That’s not the only challenge. Courtesy of an upturn in taxpayer funded investment, the sector has also been charged with responsibility for delivering what Australian Construction Industry Forum suggests will be more than $133 billion worth of road, rail, port, airport, harbour and bridge works over the five years to 2020/21 across public and private sectors as major road and rail projects transform cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Engineers also have the opportunity to contribute to debates about how innovative funding mechanisms such as road pricing and value capture might be applied to infrastructure projects as well as how emerging technologies such as ride sharing and autonomous vehicles can be leveraged to make road systems safer and more efficient.
Change is also happening in other areas. In the energy sector, for example, significant developments underway include the transition toward clean energy sources, the move toward sustainable cities and smart grids and the ongoing need to drive greater levels of sector productivity. In defence, meanwhile, engineers have a pivotal role in terms of delivery of infrastructure which will support the vision outlined in the Federal Government’s white paper released in February.
In the midst of this, more than 1,000 leading professionals from across the sector are set to gather together and gain insights about important opportunities and challenges facing the profession at a landmark event to be put on later this year.
Set to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre over a three-day period spanning November 23-25, the Australian Engineering Conference 2016 hosted by Engineers Australia will bring together leaders and senior practitioners from across the country as well as many of those who are looking to move into senior roles over the next decade.
Featuring more than 50 presenters from Australia and around the world, the conference will deliver important knowledge about local and international developments across three core streams of transport, energy and defence. A fourth area of presentations will look at overarching management and leadership themes which overlay each of these streams.
Topics covered across each of the core streams range from big picture issues down to specific project strategies. In the defence stream, for example, Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky will talk about some of the ways in which Australia can develop a more innovative sector for defence engineering whilst Royal Australian Airforce Group Captain Guy Adams will look at critical issues relating to regulation and research of unmanned surveillance drones and Marko Misko from Clayton Utz along with Bob Baird and Jolanta Skawinski from the Department of Defence will deliver a timely discussion on how engineers can engage with contractors to deliver better project outcomes.
With more than 1,000 delegates expected to join, opportunities at an individual level to build networks and interact with peers from different disciplines across the profession will be substantial.
In addition, insights gained will help individuals to identify opportunities not only in terms of their own career progression but also with respect to ideas and solutions which could be applied on their current projects. This, in turn, will enable them to position themselves as an indispensable member of project teams.
For practices and firms, insights which principals and staff will gain and which can be applied to projects will help to strengthen the position of the practice as trusted advisors within the marketplace as well as to identify new areas of opportunity and upcoming projects.
Networking opportunities will provide a chance to form new partnerships and vehicles for collaboration.
Practices will also be able to further develop the abilities of staff whom they consider to be promising future leaders.
From a number of respects, the conference has been planned to deliver maximum possible value with speakers being chosen by invitation only.
Topics for presentation were selected following extensive consultation not only with members of the profession but also with other stakeholders such as regulators and government agencies.
In addition, Engineering Education Australia’s General Manger, Alexandra Sparvell, notes that the conference has been specifically tailored to engineers and will present topics which span across disciplines in a holistic manner. “Engineering Education Australia is very proud to be the education partner for AusEngCon in 2016, to support Engineers Australia’s flagship conference.”
“There are a lot of conferences around the place that are dealing with specific issues,” she said, referring to critical developments in the areas mentioned above.
“But no conference is looking at all of it and no conference is pitching it directly at engineers.”
“This conference is directly tailored to a group of people who are key to all of those areas being successful and (who are) critical to the country’s continued success.”
“This is the only conference that brings that together.”
She encourages those thinking about attending and/or registering delegates to download a copy of the business case from the conference website and to talk with their managers and teams about who should be sent along.
The conference will be held over three days at the Brisbane Convention Centre from November 23rd to 25th.
Details can be found on the website at www.ausengcon.com.au. A copy of the business case can also be downloaded from this address.
To register, click here.