NSW engineers conference and field days

The 8th Annual Conference and Engineers Field Days '99 was staged by the Institute of Municipal Engineers Australia (IMEA) - NSW Division from 2-8 May. Using the theme 'Twenty Twenty Vision', the Conference sessions, over the first three days, were followed by the Field Days with over 400 indoor and outdoor exhibitors.

In excess of 10,000 people passed through the gates over the three days of what is now the largest civil engineering expo in the Southern hemisphere.

In officially opening the Conference, NSW Governor, Gordon Samuels AC, said that Local Government engineers' contribution to the efficiency and smooth running of our communities deserves recognition. He said events such as this play a major role in keeping professionals at the cutting edge, providing skills critical to the survival of modern society.

Olympic rower and member of the bronze medal winning coxless four at Atlanta, Bo Hansen, addressed delegates about translating a vision or goal into reality. Now striving for gold at the Sydney Olympics, he said the key to achieving excellence in whatever we do is having a clear vision of where we are going, overcoming obstacles and most importantly team work.

"A manager is like a coach," Bo Hansen said. "Managers must have the ability to inspire confidence, to help staff have a positive outlook on their work. "Focus on the goal of becoming a great team. In a team situation, if everyone does not have the same vision you will flounder."

Federal President and then NSW President of IMEA, Chris Watson, said that over the past few years, IMEA at the national level has had a vision to build a strong, viable organisation. This entails ongoing professional advocacy and continually growing the business.

"The challenge has been to get all State Divisions to sign up to the creation of a broader organisation," he said. "This has now been achieved and a new constitution has been adopted by all States. "The new structure provides wider membership open to anyone with an interest in public works, including those working in other spheres of government and the private sector.

"The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) will be officially launched at the International Congress on Local Government Engineering and Public Works to be staged in Sydney from 22-26 August." He said the 90% approval by members in a recent postal vote is a great result.

Speaking at the first Local Government function since his appointment as Minister for Local Government following the re election of the Carr Government, Harry Woods, said he is looking forward to working with Local Government on the State Government's vision for regional NSW.

"This will include a comprehensive policy statement on the role of Local Government and where we want it to get in the next five to ten years," the Minister said. He said that Local Government has a key role to play in fostering economic growth and ensuring public funds are spent in an appropriate way to stimulate growth and development.

"This means prioritising resources to get the best benefit, a regional approach to resource sharing, quality and innovation all contributing to the growth that will play a key role in the future of our communities," Harry Woods concluded.