Australia warned of catastrophic project failures unless more engineers found

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Engineers Australia has warned Australia’s biggest engineering projects are at risk of failure unless urgent action is taken.

Australia’s peak body of engineering professionals has called for an additional 60,000 new graduates within the next decade to meet the demand targets of current national projects.

Failure to reach these industry recruitment ambitions could have a detrimental effect on more than just the nation’s infrastructure pipeline.

According to Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew, the skills shortage poses a serious threat to the success of the AUKUS national security partnership and Australia’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

“Australia’s engineering sector is at a tipping point, and without urgent action projects such as AUKUS, the infrastructure pipeline and reaching net zero by 2050 will not be achieved,” she said.

“Engineers Australia is calling on the Government to adopt the target of producing 60,000 additional engineering graduates by 2033.”

“This will help cater to our nation’s engineering needs and ensure that Australia continues to thrive in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.”

The AUKUS partnership military alliance between Australia, the U.K. and the United States will include several large-scale engineering projects, such as constructing eight nuclear-powered submarines and developing hypersonic missiles and defence systems.

The Federal government announced $128.5 million in funding earlier this month to provide an additional 4,000 university places to help supercharge the AUKUS workforce.

Engineers Australia applauds investment

Ms Madew praised the Government for its commitment to addressing the engineering sector’s skills shortage. Still, she said more intervention was urgently needed to meet the demands of the ever-growing sector.

“The recognition of the vital role engineers will play in AUKUS is not only a testament to the importance of engineering in safeguarding Australia’s national security but also a commitment to ensuring our nation remains at the forefront of technological advancements,” Ms Madew said.

“AUKUS is one our nation’s biggest engineering endeavours since the Snowy Hydro project, and the profession will be a critical voice in regulation and oversight, as well as the operation and maintenance will be required to support this program”.

“This investment highlights the government’s understanding and appreciation of that fact. We remain committed to working alongside policymakers to ensure Australia’s engineering potential is fully realised.”

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.