National Congress Update Wednesday, 23 July 2014

National Congress is the peak representative body of Engineers Australia some 50 delegates representing the various groups of Engineers Australia such as Divisions, Colleges, Special Interest Groups, and Technical Societies. In brief, National Congress is tasked with electing the National Council (national board of Engineers Australia), to provide counsel to Council, is a custodian of the By-Laws, and provides input into the governance, regulations, strategic plan, and policy development of the institution.   

On behalf of the Qld representatives, I would like to provide an update to members in the following key outcomes from the National Congress held in Nov 2013 and May 2014.

1. Council – Congress Arrangements

Last year significant changes were made to the way Congress meetings were conducted, with obvious benefits. One of the changes included the development and implementation of protocols for the submission of topics for papers to be discussed.

2. Reform of Engineers Australia Governance Structure

The Congress Governance Committee provided a detailed report to Congress on the preferred principles to establish a contemporary governance framework which is consistent with the size and scope of the operations of Engineers Australia. This included a proposed professional board structure and a significantly smaller Congress. A consultation program with discussion on the principles of this reform will follow with all divisions, college boards and learned society groups. This is expected to result in a suitable implementation plan which may require a change to our by-laws in achieving these reforms.

3. Discussion of specific issues raised by Congress delegates

A number of papers were presented by Congress delegates for discussion in Nov 2013 and May 2014. The outcomes have important implications for members and for the profession. The Council will now take steps aimed at:

  • Improving industry engagement with academia
  • Updating our own Sustainability Charter and enabling our Colleges to develop guidelines on sustainable practice in their various disciplines
  • Updating our climate change policy
  • Establishing a new College of management and engineering practice
  • Establishing a position on the Nuclear Energy debate in Australia
  • Invest in training and further education to address the Engineering skills shortage

4. College of Management and Engineering Practice

The Chair of the National CELM Board, Dr Bronwyn Evans, presented a proposal from the CELM Board for the establishment of a new College of management and engineering practice. The proposal was supported by Congress. The CELM Board will now undertake a consultation program with all divisions, college boards and other learned society groups. It is expected that a full proposal will be presented to Council in August 2014.

5. Discussion of Vision Statement and Strategic Priorities

Congress provided feedback on the proposed EA vision statement and the draft strategic priorities. On 2 December 2013, Council met and reviewed the feedback they received on the draft vision statement, and agreed that our draft vision statement is:

“Engineers Australia is the trusted voice of the profession. We are the global home for engineering professionals renowned as leaders in shaping a sustainable world.”

6. Election of Council for 2014

There were unprecedented levels of interest among congress delegates to fill positions on Council for 2014. There were two candidates for the position of National Deputy President and eight candidates to fill four vacancies on Council. Congratulations to:

  • David Cruickshanks-Boyd who was elected as National Deputy President

           and to the following who were elected national Councillors:

  • John McIntosh (Victoria Division)
  • Alexandra Meldrum (Sydney Division)
  • Barry Finlay (Newcastle Division).
  • Greg Walters (SA Division)

7. General Regulations 2013 and Transition Arrangements

Council passed the new General Regulations 2013 on 7 November 2013. These have been disseminated to the respective divisions, colleges, and groups. There is a transitional period to bed down the new regulations as there will be impacts on operating functions of divisions, colleges, and groups.

The Qld representatives would welcome input and feedback from members in respect to Congress business; communication via the Qld Division Office -  [email protected]

Dr Steven Goh

Congress delegate for Engineers Australia Queensland