The University of Sydney’s Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering welcomed today’s release of Infrastructure NSW’s State Infrastructure Strategy.
Warren Centre Board Chairman, Chris Vonwiller said, “This is a significant milestone for our State – we now have a serious and practical approach to delivering an infrastructure program for NSW. The Strategy contains an important set of recommendations which the Government must address in the 20 year time frame suggested.
“The recommendations are worthy of further review as well as action but they do beg two questions – what will be the decision making framework for prioritising and funding the projects and where will we find the engineers to build such a massive program?”
Using its extensive networks in academia, industry and government, The Warren Centre is already addressing both these questions through two separate projects – “Urban Reform” and “Education and Future Wealth Creation in Australia”. The Warren Centre has a unique collaborative approach which is non partisan, not for profit and non-advocacy.
“We promote change by building the bridge between the issue and solutions through applied thinking and practical engineering expertise”.
“It is no secret that Australia is running short of engineers. We are producing less than half of the engineers we need. We rank near the bottom of the OECD’s list of engineering graduates per head of population. Skilled migration is not a long term solution,” said Mr Vonwiller.
The root cause of the shortage is the declining study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM subjects) at schools and the waning interest in pursuing technology focused careers right across the country. The problem can be traced back to the need for increased numbers of teachers capable of inspiring students in the STEM subjects in the middle school years.
“All Australian governments, including the NSW Government will need to address this issue as part of its integrated approach to infrastructure delivery over the next 20 years.” Mr Vonwiller said.
The Warren Centre has been critical of the state’s decision making framework for delivering infrastructure and our Urban Reform Project aims to reform those decision making processes. The aim is a system that can successfully deliver resilient infrastructure – it’s about making good decisions first time around. The project is a collaboration of independent experts in the fields of planning, architecture, engineering, policy, sustainability and finance, and we expect to publish interim findings this month.
“We will be testing the Government’s response to Infrastructure NSW’s recommendations against our draft framework and publishing our results,” Mr Vonwiller confirmed.
For further information and interviews, please contact Dr Nick Cerneaz, Executive Director, The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering (0431 491 421).