This article was originally published by Kimberley Le Lievre in the Canberra Times on June 3rd, 2017. Click here for the original.
Major infrastructure projects like light rail will soon be overseen by the territory’s first chief engineer.
No specific funds have been allocated for the position in the upcoming ACT Budget, with a government spokesman saying it would be “absorbed within current government resources”.
The territory’s chief engineer will be tasked to provide strategic oversight for current and future engineering and infrastructure projects.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr made a commitment during last year’s election campaign to appoint someone to the position.
“As our city grows and we continue to deliver major infrastructure projects like our city wide light rail network, we need high level engineering advice to government and an army of world class engineers in the private sector,” Mr Barr said.
“Complementing the beginning of the City Renewal Authority and the Suburban Land Agency on July 1 – as well as the transformative effect of Canberra’s light rail network, the city’s largest engineering project – the establishment of a chief engineer position will ensure Canberra continues to develop as a vibrant, modern city.”
The role will fall under the minister for planning and land management’s portfolio, currently held by Mick Gentleman, and will be filled in the next financial year.
“Minister Gentleman will carry out the substantive work of determining the most appropriate scope, location, funding and appointment mechanism for a chief engineer of the ACT,” the chief minister said.
Mr Barr said the relevant peak bodies will be involved in discussions with the directorate on the creation of the role.
“Where possible, the role and functions of the chief engineer will harmonise with arrangements already in place in other jurisdictions.”