27 Jul 2017

AIPM CEO speaks at AFR Infrastructure Summit

Industry News, Infrastructure

Some of the biggest voices in Australian infrastructure took to the stage at the 2017 AFR Infrastructure Summit at the Sofitel Wentworth recently, where issues surrounding Australia’s infrastructure boom were discussed and debated.

As a part of the summit, AIPM CEO, Ms Yvonne Butler, took part in a panel discussion representing the profession of project management alongside John Callaghan (Aurecon’s Global Director of Major Projects), Kerry Schott (Chair, Transgrid) and James Morgan-Payler (Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright). The discussion, Chaired by the AFR’s Mark Ludlow, discussed the topic of “Partnership as an attitude” and covered topics including collaborative contracts, tensions within PPP structures, alliances vs corporate pressures and coherent and transparent planning to ensure delivery of projects on time.

Ms Butler spoke openly about the upcoming project management skills shortage, as the unprecedented rise in infrastructure projects has now brought with it a demand for qualified project managers that she believes we are not yet in a place to deliver. “At this point in time there is simply not enough qualified project managers in Australia to deliver these multi-billion dollar projects to the quality or standard required”, Ms Butler said as a part of the discussion.

“We either need to invest in improved training or something is going to have to give, that being the quality or the importation of qualified foreign labour” she went on to say.

Elsewhere at the conference, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP (Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Shadow Minister for Tourism), The Hon Darren Chester MP (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport), The Hon Angus Taylor MP (Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation), The Hon Paul Fletcher MP (Minster for Urban Infrastructure), Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO (Chief Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission) and others discussed the importance of making high-quality decision-making a habit when it comes to infrastructure investment in Australia. Also of note was the discussion around the federal government's controversial creation of its own in-house investment bank, the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, to organise future financing deals.

Whilst politicians went tit-for-tat when it came to recent infrastructure decisions and results, Ms Butler attempted to keep the eyes of the Australian infrastructure world firmly on the future, reminding all in sundry of the importance of ensuring we are best placed to successfully deliver the projects that will shape the next version of our cities’ skylines.