Australia to celebrate the best engineering projects of 2023

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
9 Min Read

Engineers Australia’s Excellence Awards program has unveiled its prestigious “Project of the Year” award divisional winners, in celebration of Australia’s engineering expertise and innovation. 

The recipients and their projects will now progress to the annual Engineers Australia National Awards in November to battle for the coveted Sir William Hudson Award, Australia’s highest honour for any new engineering project.  

First established more than 100 years ago, the esteemed award program honours projects and their teams for groundbreaking infrastructure and transformative technologies as they demonstrate the teamwork, innovation and technical excellence, which drive the Australian engineering industry forward.

The Engineer’s Australia national awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday, 29 November. The winning team receives a trophy alongside digital badges to use on social media and in email signatures.  

Here is a summary of Australia’s top technological feats for 2023 as Build-it shines a spotlight on these divisional winners and national finalists.

Newcastle Project of the Year
Project: Biological Leachate Remediation
Team: ENV Solutions (ENV)

In the aftermath of devastating floods that damaged Lismore’s sewage plant and landfill, the NSW Public Works team collaborated with ENV Solutions to address the 20 million litres of polluted water left behind.

A novel approach called Biological Leachate Remediation was constructed to treat the pollution aftermath, effectively eliminating harmful contaminants such as metal and chemicals from the water without harming the environment.

The successful and cost-effective approach has drawn the attention of Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), assessing the technology’s applicability for future water cleansing tasks nationwide.  

Queensland Project of the Year
Project: Heritage Lanes at 80 Ann Street
Project team: AECOM

This exceptional Queensland project, Heritage Lanes, encompasses a harmonious blend of heritage, sustainability, and community well-being to define a new gold standard in Australia’s building industry. 

The project pays homage to the site’s history, retaining elements of the original Brisbane Markets from 1906, inside a sustainable and community-centred space. 

Its achievement of the prestigious 6-Star Green Star Buildings v1 certification from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is an Australian first and reflects the construction team’s commitment to environmental excellence. 

It features an all-electric, renewable power supply, EV vehicle charging, maximised community accessible spaces, a bush tucker garden and beehives.

The project is also rehabilitating eight hectares in Queensland’s Little Liverpool Range to restore cleared farmland to its pre-development biodiversity equivalent to the project’s gross building area.

Richard Barrett, Chief Executive for Australia and New Zealand at AECOM, said he was proud to construct one of Australia’s most sustainable buildings.

“We are proud to see Heritage Lanes attain a world-class 6-Star Green Star Buildings certification and to have played an important role in delivering this groundbreaking project that sets the benchmark for sustainable infrastructure,” he said.

“Through our Sustainable Legacies strategy, we are committed to helping our clients deliver projects that leave a positive, lasting legacy for our planet.”

Tasmanian Project of the Year
Project: Bruny Island Submarine Cable Replacement
Project team: Shaw Contracting

The Bruny Island submarine cable connects Dennes Point at Bruny Island to the primary power grid at Tasmanian town Tinderbox.  

Due to the proximity of a marine reserve, the work was a complex project and identified technical challenges with getting the cable ashore. 

However, Shaw Contracting combined technical expertise with environmental sensitivity to deliver critical community assistance.

“The Engineers Australia Excellence Awards are not just about celebrating the best of engineering. They remind us of engineers’ consistent impact on our daily lives, said Jan Irvine, Engineers Australia GM NT and SA.

“These awards provide a platform to highlight their groundbreaking work and advocate for the engineering profession, laying a foundation and inspiration for those coming after them. We are not just applauding their achievements, but also setting a standard and vision for the future of engineering.”

Northern Project of the Year
Project: Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Project
Project Team: EDL 

The Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Project is a hybrid renewable power station demonstrating admirable community and cultural engagement in its design, construction and operation. 

An innovative and sustainable primary power system maximises solar battery use coupled with diesel backup generators for no solar power availability.  

The project is estimated to save 1.7 million litres of diesel fuel and exemplifies low-cost solutions in the challenge to bring reliable, affordable and secure power to isolated communities.

Sydney Project of the Year
Project: Central Station Metro Works
Project Team: Aurecon

Sydney’s central station transport hub has been expertly redeveloped, re-imagined and recreated thanks to a novel top-down construction approach demonstrating efficient project management in a live rail environment.

The challenge of building the design below an existing and busy live station required innovative and unconventional approaches. The project received a six-star design review rating and has been applauded for its sustainability, economic and social impact. 

Engineers Australia’s general manager for Sydney, Jamie Burrage, said the project showcased at the Excellence Awards would inspire the next generation of Engineers.

“They bring attention to the everyday contributions of engineers in our lives,” he said.

“Those celebrated exhibit outstanding leadership and commitment to the community and the environment.”

Western Australian Project of the Year
Project:  at Murdoch University
Project Team: Aurecon

At the centre of Murdoch University’s Perth campus, Boola Katitjin transforms the student and staff experience by offering new, digitally enabled teaching and learning spaces in an environmentally friendly environment.

WA’s first mass engineers timber building follows biophilic design principles, connecting students to nature via expansive views over the Beeliar wetlands and the breezeways which provide natural ventilation.

The project has received global admiration for its efforts to advance the sustainable, renewable, and circular approaches that the construction industry requires to assist economies in reaching their net zero by 2050 carbon target.

Victorian Project of the Year
Project: Development of the Apple Harvesting Robot
Project Team: Monash University

The Monash Apple Retrieving System’s (MARS) development offers solutions to Australia’s fruit-picking industry’s labour shortage problems.

It provides a dependable solution that minimises manual labour dependency and occupational health and safety hazards. The apple harvesting robot could revolutionise the orchard industry entirely with the potential compatibility to be used for other fruits.

The robot couples ‘soft grip technology with a “vision” system to ensure precise apple detection and the picking of ripe fruit.

South Australian Project of the Year
Project: Adelaide Festival Plaza Redevelopment
Project team: Mott MacDonald

Australia’s first capital city multi-purpose arts centre and the home of South Australia’s performing arts, was built in the 1970s and has undergone a redevelopment incorporating a new dynamic and functional design.

Its pioneering reconstruction has reduced concrete weight and carbon emissions.

This project is a subtle yet stellar display of engineering brilliance, gracefully emphasising accessibility, social inclusion, and visual appeal.

ACT Project of the Year
Project: Australian National University Research School of Physics facility
Project team: TTW (ACT) Pty Ltd

ANU’s new Research School of Physics facility is a pioneering learning centre that sets unprecedented standards in Australia.

The project boasts clean rooms, advanced vibration controls, and isolation features and will be home to research in quantum physics, photonics, and nanotechnology.

The building is an Australian first, meeting the VC-F vibration standard on a suspended slab construction.

Beyond the research capabilities, the facility is architecturally striking, maximising natural light and stunning views while upholding high environmental standards. 

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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.