Engineers Australia hails Budget 2024 for embracing energy transition, skills dev’t

Image credit: Engineers Australia

Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew has responded to the 2024 Federal Budget with cautious optimism, viewing it as a potential roadmap for a more intelligent and environmentally friendly Australia.

The budget, unveiled by the government, outlines an ambitious plan focusing on skills, innovation, sovereign capability, and the global energy transition – a direction that Madew finds encouraging.

In a news release by the organisation, Madew said she believes that engineers will play a crucial role in advancing this agenda, addressing financial, workforce, environmental, and global challenges.

“Unleashing the engineering workforce right across industry, boosting engineering skills in government, and investing in more engineering research and development are the keys to creating the innovation and value-add that the government is seeking,” Madew noted.

She particularly welcomes the “Future Made in Australia” framework, considering it a generational plan to strategically and economically confront the energy transition.

“Engineers Australia supports Federal Budget funding announcements to accelerate the transition to net zero through support for solar, hydrogen, critical minerals, and batteries.”

Madew further explained, “By establishing a robust regulatory and policy framework, and by securing necessary funding for research, development, and commercialisation, we can fully unlock and leverage hydrogen’s vast potential within Australia’s economy.”

While acknowledging initiatives like the Commonwealth Prac Payment, which supports students during practical placements, Madew advocates for extending this support to engineering students to effectively address the shortage of engineers.

She stresses the necessity of upskilling the workforce to navigate the energy transition, bolster manufacturing, and strengthen digital capabilities to maintain global competitiveness.

Regarding sustainability, Madew underscores the need for enhanced engineering innovation to expedite the shift towards a sustainable economy.

She urges governments to commit to long-term infrastructure planning to ensure economic prosperity, emphasizing the importance of best-practice governance and delivery.

In the defence sector, Madew said she supports strategic investments aligned with the priorities outlined in the 2024 National Defence Strategy.

“Engineers play a pivotal role in embedding robust defence measures to safeguard national security. For the success of Australia’s Defence Force and to deliver on AUKUS, it is crucial we have the engineers we need and consistently integrate the engineering perspective throughout project lifecycles,” she emphasised.