Australian Department of Transport wins AIPM Project of the Year


Department of Transport named Project of the Year at the Project Management Achievement Awards 2013 for the Esperance Cleanup and Recovery Project

131017-pmwj16-2013-project-achievement-IMAGE16 October 2013 – Perth, Western Australia – The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) has announced that during the Project Management Achievement Awards night on 15 October 2013, the Department of Transport took out the top award – Project of the Year for the Esperance Cleanup and Recovery Project Australia in WA. They also won in the Regional category. The project’s purpose was to address the environmental contamination that posed a significant health risk to the Esperance community and has since been removed after the project was implemented. Many residents who moved away because of the contamination have now returned.

Leading Australian businesses, government and organisations across various sectors and industry are celebrating today after a highly successful night at the Australian Institute of Project Management’s – Project Management Achievement Awards 2013 in Perth, WA. The National PMAA Winners were announced during the Gala Dinner at AIPM’s National Conference, on 15 October 2013 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“The calibre of entries into this years’ awards was extremely high and demonstrates the growth and maturity of project management across the industry,” said Margie O’ Tarpey, CEO of AIPM. “As an Institution for project management, AIPM is proud to profile project management excellence and the improvement of processes and practices it brings to the industry” she said.

Dr Steve Milner, AIPM’s incoming National President said, “Project Management is responsible for some of our most successful and triumphant changes around the country.  The 2013 Australian Project Management Achievement Awards recognises and celebrates excellence in project management, whether it is though individual effort, small teams, or large and complex organisations.”

Steve added, “AIPM leads the way in the development of worldwide competency standards and certification, and these awards demonstrate that accredited project managers and directors are delivering successful projects on a consistent basis. This is a challenging economy and creating competitive advantage through effective project management is instrumental for organisational success in the current environment.”

“As Secretariat and Member of the Asia-Pacific Federation of Project Management (APFPM), winners from these awards are now eligible to compete internationally at the APFPM Awards in New Delhi on 2 December 2013.”

At the recent IPMA Project Excellence Award 2013 at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia on 8 October, the South Australian Water Corporation, a Gold Corporate Member of AIPM took out the Gold Awards for the Adelaide Desalination Project.

“This top APMA award is about project excellence; it is not only the recognition of the huge number of people who have contributed in all sorts of different ways to this world class megaproject in Australia, but it is about how the project was shaped and closed in order to deliver long term outcomes for the benefit of SA for the future. I would like to congratulate the entire ADP team who have worked so diligently to produce outstanding results for the project!” said Dr Steve Milner.

“The ECRP’s success at the AIPM awards flowed from outstanding project management of the project and our Total Quality Management (TQM) approach,” says WA Department of Transport Project Director Wayne Winchester. “This approach was adopted in recognition of the dual need to provide not only high quality deliverables but also a high quality project management framework which allowed the core processes to be strategically designed, developed, aligned and implemented.”

The Esperance Cleanup and Recovery Project employed hundreds of local people, providing training, skills and transferrable qualifications that increased their future employment opportunities. The project invested in local trained personnel and efficiency increased as the project progressed, bringing the cost of quality back under control. Adhering to the government’s ‘buy-local’ policy, the project injected approximately 80 per cent of the budget, or $20 million, back into the community.

Project Manager Matthew Devenish from the Department of Transport won Project Manager of the Year for his role in the Esperance Cleanup and Recovery Project, competing against high calibre opponents including several individuals from organisations such as John Holland, Department of Transport and NSW Public Works.

Other individual awards included Program/Project Director of the Year, with Brendan Bilston taking out this top individual award for his part in the QLD Reconstruction Authority Project and the development of the Defence Communications Facilities.

Team Member of the Year went to Matthew Ford for his role in the National Training Areas and Ranges Improvement Program (NTARIP).


AIPM would like to congratulate the award winners and encourages submissions for the 2014 Project Management Achievement Awards.


CONSTRUCTION / ENGINEERING < $100,000,000 – Organisation: Aurecon and Blue Care; Project: Azure Blue Redcliffe Project

CONSTRUCTION / ENGINEERING > $100000000 – Organisation: SA Water / Waterlink SA; Project: North South Interconnection System (NSIS) Project

DEFENCE / AEROSPACE – Organisation: Airservices Australia; Project: Paraburdoo Secondary Surveillance Radar Project

ICT / TELECOMMUNICATIONS – Organisation: Telstra Corporation & Qantas Airways; Project: Qantas Domestic Network & Voice Program

ORGANISATIONAL / CHANGE MANAGEMENT – Organisation: CBH Group; Project: One CBH Project

DEVELOPMENTAL – Organisation: Pacific National; Project: Greta Train Support Facility Project

REGIONAL – Organisation: Western Australian Department of Transport; Project: Esperance Clean-up and Recovery Project

COMMUNITY SERVICE AND/OR DEVELOPMENT – Organisation: City of Ryde; Project: Livvi’s Place Inclusive Playground Project

SUSTAINABLE – Organisation: Water Corporation; Project: Groundwater Replenishment Trial Project


The Australian Institute of Project Management established the Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAA) program to recognise, honour and promote achievements in programs and project management. There are two areas of achievement – management of projects and individual achievements in project management.

Over the months of August and September 2013, the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) announced the Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAA) winners for each State and Territory. Winners of all project and individual categories from each Chapter were elevated as finalists to the National PMAA.  For more information please contact Lee Edmondson, Communications Manager on [email protected] or (02) 8288 8700.


CONSTRUCTION / ENGINEERING < $100,000,000 – Organisation: Aurecon and Blue Care; Project: Azure Blue Redcliffe

Commencing in 2008, Azure Blue Redcliffe involved the construction of a retirement campus that offered three accommodation options: 122 independent-living apartments, in-home care services and a residential aged care facility with 96 high-care beds. To create a sense of community and promote active lifestyles, the development included subtropical landscaped grounds, a swimming pool, hair salon, BBQ facilities, gymnasium, cafe, function and meeting rooms.

“By providing independent living and aged care on the one campus, residents have the opportunity to age in one place as their needs change,” says Aurecon Senior Project Manager Lavinia Buckley. “This is also important in providing for couples where a spouse has differing care requirements.”

Blue Care underwent organisational change during the project and reassessed it several times. It was on hold for three months while Blue Care established greater confidence in the sales rates and pricing for the product. Despite this, Aurecon used a project delivery framework that delivered the project on time and under the $73.8m budget.

CONSTRUCTION / ENGINEERING > $10,0000,000 – Organisation: SA Water; Project: North South Interconnection System (NSIS) Project

The $403m upgrade of Adelaide’s water supply system transformed how the water network functions and operates. The NSIS links Adelaide’s water sources to deliver a single supply network, combining new and existing infrastructure and integrating bulk water transfer into the same water distribution network that delivers to homes and businesses across an entire city.

The project team faced several challenges during the largest upgrade ever undertaken in Adelaide. It required the construction of four new pipes totalling 32km, three new pump stations in residentially zoned areas and five new valve stations and upgrades to 120 existing water network sites. A key role of the team was to manage stakeholder expectations of the disruption that would ensue.

As well as developing new innovative practices for infrastructure projects and urban design, SA Water overcame cost and time constraints, as well as the need to manage risk and focus on safety, to deliver the project on time and on budget.

DEFENCE / AEROSPACE – Organisation: Airservices Australia; Project: Paraburdoo Secondary Surveillance Radar Project

Airservices Air Traffic Control (ATC) is responsible for managing safe and efficient air traffic operations for over 80 million passengers every year, using some of the world’s most technologically advanced equipment to meet the demands of future aviation growth.

In 2009, Western Australia saw unprecedented growth in iron ore mining, creating the need for a substantial increase in surveillance coverage to manage the increased air traffic, particularly in the Pilbara region. As a result of the mining boom, there has been a significant increase in air traffic, which is strongly manifested within the “Iron Triangle” – the area that encompasses the towns of Newman, Boolgeeda and Paraburdoo in the Pilbara region.

It was identified that existing non-radar services in the Pilbara region would not be able to manage traffic growth and complexity without additional risk mitigation on the form of surveillance, and that a temporary radar at Paraburdoo would be an effective mid-term mitigation. A key objective was to ensure stakeholder support for the radar by making information on its benefits and environmental footprint available.

Paraburdoo was the first installation of this type of radar technology in Australia, it would, in turn, serve as an example for the future installations of the same technology, particularly within ERRP.

ICT / TELECOMMUNICATIONS – Organisation: Telstra Corporation & Qantas Airways; Project: Qantas Domestic Network & Voice

The Qantas Domestic Network & Voice (DNV) program was a two-year information and communication technology program that included 37 projects, as well as engaging more than 100 virtual staff and seven other Qantas service partners. Telstra had already worked with Qantas for 15 years providing network and voice services, and the enhanced DNV was part of a renewed eight-year service agreement.

The project included two major programs of work — transition and transformation — with a combined budget of $45m. Five critical milestones were outlined for the project, which was scheduled for completion by 28 April 2013. Telstra appointed a Qantas DNV Program Director who reported to the Joint Executive Steering Committee, along with the Qantas Program Executive. Both organisations also appointed heads of the transition and transformation programs and, given its complexity, separate contact centre program managers.

During the first six months of the project when both programs were running, the transformation program experienced delays. The project team effectively remedied this by holding a ‘lessons learnt’ workshop with stakeholders from Telstra and Qantas. Overall management of the project then improved markedly and impacts caused by the delay recovered.  Of the 143 project milestones defined and baselined, 71 per cent were delivered on time, including all on the program critical path. Fifteen per cent were delivered early.

ORGANISATIONAL / CHANGE MANAGEMENT – Organisation: CBH Group; Project: One CBH Project

The CBH Group is a grower-owned cooperative with operations extending along the grain value chain from storage, handling and transport to marketing, shipping and processing. Launched in 2010, the aim of the One CBH Project was to change the Group’s work culture and encourage them to work together as a team.

The three-year cultural transformation program was built on three key objectives: improve CBH’s ability to respond to threats and opportunities, drive integration and alignment along the supply chain, and develop a constructive one-team culture. The Project was separated into six streams that covered performance and reward, people management systems, skills and behaviours, organisational structures and symbols, internal and external brand alignment, and organisational change management. Because of the long timeframe and large number of people it impacted, and the behavioural change required, the One CBH Project was complex and required robust governance, strong communication and regular measurement of results.

At the start of the Project in 2010, the Human Synergistics Organisation Culture Inventory (OCI) was used to outline the culture of CBH. The OCI was repeated again in 2013 and provided evidence of overall cultural change and improvement in constructive behaviours. Overall benefits included improved employee productivity and retention, reduced duplication and waste, and enhanced agility.

DEVELOPMENTAL – Organisation: Pacific National; Project: Greta Train Support Facility

The Greta Train Support Facility was constructed to meet expanding operational needs in the Hunter Valley. The construction of the Facility began in 2011 and included five new 2000m train tracks, a provisioning shed, wagon maintenance facilities and ancillary facilities that included 900,000 litres of fuel storage.

The project faced roadblocks in the form of adverse weather conditions and hard rock, which impacted negatively on the budget. However, tactical modifications to the project team structure and communication strategies allowed the team to recover from the setbacks. Heritage and environmental factors also had to be carefully managed by the project team to ensure maximum buildability and minimum impact to schedule. Client representatives were also consulted to identify potential risks and hazards, with the aim of eliminating them while staying on budget.

The brief given by Pacific National was for a train support facility that delivered functionality to support the new way of maintaining trains. To ensure the team implemented the most innovative design possible, the project team visited several operating train support facilities to learn what worked best and what they would do differently if they had the chance.

As a result of the successful completion of the project, operational efficiencies have been significantly improved to the extent that Pacific National will need fewer trains in the future to haul the same amount of freight, which will save the business over $50m for each train where no purchase is now required.

The project injected $100m into the Hunter Valley economy and created 550 full-time jobs during the construction period, with 30 new local jobs at the operational facility.

REGIONAL – Organisation: Western Australian Department of Transport; Project: Esperance Clean-up and Recovery

The Esperance Clean-up and Recovery project was launched in 2008 by the Western Australian Government to clean up lead contamination in Esperance town. The contamination was the result of bulk handling of lead carbonate at the Esperance Port between July 2005 and March 2007. The contamination had impacts upon the health of the community, natural environment, rainwater supplies, home-grown food and local seafood. Many locals moved away from the town in fear of their health, and news of the contamination heavily affected local tourism.

The project involved the clean-up of 1775 homes and businesses, as well as the implementation of a sentinel-monitoring system to ensure no recontamination occurred. The project incorporated a trial clean-up of 35 homes on which a subsequent 10 ‘rolling’ stages of clean-up were modelled.

Because of the variation in the level of contamination between premises, the project team faced great difficulty costing and scheduling the project. Considerable time was also devoted to managing an often emotional and volatile community who were pushing for the project to be completed ahead of schedule. Despite these challenges, the project satisfied all its objectives on time and within its $25.7m budget, including injecting $20m back into the Esperance community. This project also won National Project of the Year.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AND/OR DEVELOPMENT – Organisation: City of Ryde; Project: Livvi’s Place Inclusive Playground

The Livvi’s Place project saw the construction of a playground that caters to people with a range of physical, intellectual and emotional abilities. The playground features traditional play equipment as well as purpose-built play and landscape elements that offer opportunities for inclusion across all age groups.

“The primary objective was to allow for participation, inclusion, accessibility and an overall equity and dignity to people with a disability by providing facilities that allow for fun activities with a sense of belonging,” says project team member Jeff Kerr.

When selecting the site, existing infrastructure was taken into account, as was the site’s accessibility, layout and the direct line of sight from drop-off zone to playground entrance. The surrounding neighbourhood was also taken into consideration in terms of being located away from main roads but near transport and access routes.

The project was funded by donations and delivered through the use of volunteer services. The project experienced delays due to the discovery of 150 tonnes of asbestos contaminated soil. Several other factors contributed to the project’s complexity, including the instability of the project environment, the use of new approaches, legal/social implications, the strategic importance of the project to stakeholders and the lack of stakeholder cohesion. The project was completed in February 2013 and the official opening ceremony was attended by 1500 people.

SUSTAINABLE – Organisation: Water Corporation; Project: Groundwater Replenishment Trial Project

The Groundwater Replenishment Trial Project began in 2007 and was the first of its kind to be carried out in Australia. The Project was completed at the end of December 2012 and cost $6.5m.

The concept behind the Project was that an advanced water treatment process be used to satisfy the growing demand for water in Perth, WA. Groundwater replenishment puts treated wastewater through further treatment processes and then recharges it deep into confined aquifers to be stored for later use.

The scope of the project included the design, construction and operation of the Advanced Water Recycling Plant (AWRP) and adjacent visitor centre, development of a regulatory framework with the relevant government agencies, ongoing monitoring of water quality and the groundwater environment, compliance with health and environmental guidelines, and extensive community and stakeholder engagement.

The Project was driven by three key objectives: to engage the community and promote discussion and support for groundwater replenishment, to establish a regulatory framework, and to confirm the technical and economic feasibility. The trial project proved a success, with plans to complete the first stage of a full-scale replenishment scheme for Perth by 2016.


PROGRAM/PROJECT DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR – Name: Brendan Bilston; Project: Defence Communications Facilities

The project began in 2007 and Brendan Bilston was brought on as Project Director in 2009 after a failed planning phase. A review of the original plan determined that the project brief and risk profile for the delivery mechanism were inappropriate, and that risk apportionment needed to shift. Bilston was responsible for project restrategisation, establishment of a new design process, development of a hybrid contact form and oversight of the project’s delivery.

On top of planning setbacks, the project presented unique project management challenges. It was classified at ‘Top Secret’ level and it offered limited points of comparison because the facilities are among a handful of their kind in the world.

Brendan employed an innovative approach to the project’s design, procurement and delivery methods that included the development of a commercial fast-track design process that reduced Defence’s five stages down to two. Bilston described this as a risky strategy that required the support of a completely new contract form and termination of an existing contract. This was the very first Managing Contractor Contract the Commonwealth had ever dissolved and the largest.

Bilston describes leadership as “the ability to inspire people to do things that they ordinarily wouldn’t”. Having delivered a restrategised project to requirements, on time and within budget, he has certainly met his own standards.

PROJECT MANAGER OF THE YEAR – Name: Matthew Devenish; Project: Esperance Clean-up and Recovery Project

Matthew Devenish was project manager on the Esperance Clean-up and Recovery Project from 2009 to 2012. The project involved the decontamination of Esperance, which was contaminated as a result of bulk handling of lead carbonate at the Esperance port.

Because of the impact the contamination had on the health of the community and natural environment, the project required careful management of an emotionally charged community and stakeholder group. The clean-up was also of a type and scale without precedent in Australia, with each of the 1700 premises affected to a different degree. This added a considerable level of complexity to the project as it made it difficult to determine the scope and cost of the overall clean-up.

Devenish overcame these complexities by approaching the project systematically, starting with a trial clean-up of 35 homes that set the precedent for a subsequent 10 rolling stages of clean-up. By breaking down the clean-up, knowledge gained at each stage could be embraced and applied to the following stages, providing the team with valuable insights for tackling premises on a larger scale across town.

Overall the project delivered triple bottom line benefits of a restored environment, sustainable economic stimulus and improved quality of life in Esperance, all within budget.

PROJECT TEAM MEMBER OF THE YEAR – Name: Matthew Ford; Project: National Training Areas and Ranges Improvement Program (NTARIP)

Sinclair Knight Merz’s Matthew Ford has been awarded this year’s Project Team Member of the Year Award for his leadership on the National Training Areas and Ranges Improvement Program (NTARIP). The project was launched to address ongoing issues on Defence’s training areas and ranges, and was achieved by making changes to the ongoing maintenance program. This included the upgrade of administration facilities, electrical infrastructure supply, fencing and signage, new shelters and structures, a water treatment plant, road upgrade and UXO/EO waste removal.

When it was identified that work was behind schedule and costs were anticipated to go over budget, Ford implemented a contingency plan that saw changes to the structure of the design team and allowed greater progress to be achieved within shorter timeframes.

Ford’s management of the procurement process is also noteworthy; he made 28 approaches to market within five months to award 12 head contractors and four specialist UXO and EO clearance contractors, in consultation with 12 Defence groups and 20 other stakeholder groups.

“Matt’s project and program efforts show maturity beyond what we would have expected from someone with his experience,” says Defence Director Regional Risk and Reform Marcus Jeffery.

Formed in 1976 as the Project Managers’ Forum, AIPM has been instrumental in progressing the profession of project management in Australia over the past 35 years.  AIPM’s role is to improve the knowledge, skills and competence of project team members, project managers and project directors.  AIPM’s vision is to be recognized by business, industry, and government as the key promoter, developer, and leader in project management professionalism.  The Chief Executive Officer of AIPM is Margie O’Tarpey.  The President of AIPM for 2014 is Steve Milner.  AIPM is the Australian national member of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  More about AIPM can be found at www.aipm.com.au.

Source: AIPM