An update from the Toowoomba Regional Committee - December 2020

An update from the Toowoomba Regional Committee.
News Image

With the limitations that have been in place due to COVID-19 since early March, until just recently the group has had very little opportunity or freedom to get involved in anything. As soon as restrictions began to lift, we wasted no time in getting a few runs on the board. This year involvement has mostly revolved around student engagement.
 
Three of the Toowoomba Group of Engineers Australia are formally involved with the CSIRO STEM program – Gail Kirkpatrick, Ricker Feril and Norm Purcival. I (Norm) have been assigned to Dalby State High School, where I recently spent a day talking to students in their Maths classes and looking at the work they are doing.
 
The things that struck me were that there is a change in how maths is being taught in that it now places a greater emphasis on integrating mathematical problem solving with written reporting. The students are expected to state the problem or parameters in writing, do the mathematical operations and then write a little about the answer or findings to demonstrate their understanding. This applies from the junior grades right through.
 
I was also impressed with one student who used Minecraft (gaming software) as a CAD tool to design a bridge.
The questions that were asked were predominantly around “will we really need to use maths when we go to work?”. Since my job has always been math heavy, I may have been biased but I was able to assure them that their time at school wasn’t being wasted. Since I work in the area of Waste Management now, they also asked very insightful questions about what is really being done in the areas of waste recycling and carbon footprint management. Hopefully I was able to reassure them that action is in fact taking place, even though it will take time to manifest.
 
It was an enjoyable experience and I was extended an invitation to come back next year.
 

Thank you to the 2020 Committee

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 2020 committee for their continued efforts:

 

Co Chair

 

Ricker

 

Feril

 

MIEAust

Member

 

Peter

 

Reynolds

 

MIEAust CPEng NER

Member

 

Amy Annalisa

 

Bernier

 

GradIEAust

Member

   

Simon

   

Weier

   

MIEAust

Member

 

Glenn

 

Springall

 

MIEAust CPEng NER

Member

 

Daniel

 

Morris

 

GradIEAust

Member

 

Michael

 

Hobson

 

GradIEAust

Member

 

Rama

 

Rayala

 

GradIEAust

Member

 

Waqar

 

Butt

 

MIEAust CPEng

Member

 

Bruce

 

Ollason

 

MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Member

 

Ashleigh

 

Braden

 

MIEAust

Member

 

Alex

 

Guinane

 

 

Member

 

Sheikh

 

Alam

 

FIEAust CPEng APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Member

 

Md Mainul

 

Islam

 

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Secretary

 

Scott

 

Hanson

 

MIEAust CPEng

 

Local Project Updates

The big news of course if ARTC’s Inland Rail project which has been coming for a long time. The best source of info for that is their website and they have a Facebook page. The Inland Rail Program will drive employment when it hits the ground next year through the duration of the program and beyond. There have also been several solar farm projects west and south of Toowoomba.

Conversely, the time taken to grant the New Acland mine at Oakey permission to expand to stage three has been less positive for the region. If stage three was to be approved, it would include a new coal washing plant and a new rail loop which seeks to eliminate the stockpiles of coal which reside next to the highway at Jondaryan. So far, many jobs have been lost and the mine is at risk of closure, especially under the pressure of low coal prices. As the main employer in Oakey and Jondaryan, this will be detrimental to the local economy. Read more here

A positive outcome has been that Toowoomba Regional Council and State Regional Development have established locations for “incubator” cells to support new SME business development in Oakey, utilising council workshops and offices made vacant by the move to the new Charlton Principal depot. This is supported by a range of funding from various sources for new business establishment and development. The Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) is also active in networking new business entries with the established community.

Council (where I work) has been busy. Council is Toowoomba region’s largest employer of engineers. While the capital budgets were challenged by revenue reductions due to COVID, the federal government has provided $50M of COVID recovery money to be used on capital works and spent within the region. Other councils like Western Downs regional Council, have received similar stimulus funding. 

Projects that are currently going on or just finished include:

  • The new Council workshops, stores and offices at Charlton Principal Depot. It is a state-of-the-art facility that accommodates 500 staff and cost $67M.
  • Kleinton Waste management facility.This facility is modelled on the award-winning Greater Toowoomba Waste Management Facility at Wellcamp and will be in operation before Christmas. The total project cost is near $20M, which includes rehabilitation of the old landfill site. Council plan to roll out two more similar but smaller scale waste management facilities next year at Yarraman and Millmerran and one the year after at Greenmount. There is also a program of rehabilitation of old landfills being progressively rolled out.
  • Landfill gas recovery from Toowoomba Waste Management Centre landfill.
  • More projects that I am not personally delivering can be found here

Wagners have announced a motorsports park to be built at the southern end of Wellcamp airport with $40M committed by the Queensland Government toward the $175M cost.  

Toowoomba and the Darling Downs is the place to be at the moment. The dynamic leadership teams are active in SEQ and the Darling Downs, influencing at all levels of government, lobbying for and winning opportunities for growth and continued prosperity which provides plenty of work for engineers.

It is important as members of EA that we take opportunities to support our fellows in the profession to make engineering a career with above-average security of employment. This includes helping to match individuals to work opportunities as well as promoting the benefits of becoming chartered and taking advantage of the CPD and networking opportunities available.

As a Chartered Engineering Associate and Associate Fellow of EA, I cannot over-emphasise the value that those post-nominals continue to be to me. I encourage all members to strive to obtain chartered recognition at their appropriate level of qualification and to become registered on the NER. It may seem hard at first glance, but it is worth it.  As a greater proportion of engineers become chartered, it will help to enhance the status of our profession and help protect those of us who have made the effort from the vicissitudes of life.

 

Member Recognition

We would like to recognise those who have recently become Chartered Members: 

  • Andrew Wright, AMIEAust CEngA NER  IntETn(Aus)

  • James O'Dea, MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

  • Michael Fairbanks-Smith, MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

  • Piumika Ariyadasa, MIEAust CPEng  APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

  • Nicholas Delany, MIEAust CPEng NER

  • Alex Wen, MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

  • Adam Davies, AMIEAust CEngA NER  IntETn(Aus)

 

Local CPD

We recently held our Annual Dinner at Toowoomba City Golf Club.  Our presentations were from local members who have also both been recognised with other organisations for their achievements this year. Zoe Eather, 2020 Women in Technology Awards Rising Star in Technology, Kym Murphy, 2019 IPWEAQ Women in Engineering and John Carr | Project Manager, North Star to NSW/QLD Border (NS2B).

It was also a chance to make some presentations to local members those who attended on the night.

Piumika Aruma 

   

MIEAust CPEng APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus) 

   

Chartered 

Paul Muir 

 

MIEAust CPEng NER 

 

Chartered 

Alex Wen 

 

MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus) 

 

Chartered 

 

Kym Murphy  

   

FIEAust 

   

Fellow & EngExec 

John Carr

 

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

 

Fellow

 

Check out photos of our night here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmSuDg7V

If you have a topic to present on or want to get more involved in the local engineering professional community, please get in contact with us. The committee meets regularly and always welcomes new members - please email [email protected] and we will be in contact with you.

 

Have a Merry Christmas, I hope you have the chance for a break and I wish you a prosperous New Year.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Norm Purcival

AFIEAust CEngA NER

Co-Chair,

Toowoomba Regional Committee

      

Ricker Feril

MIEAust

Co-Chair,

Toowoomba Regional Committee