Photo by Shane McLendon on Unsplash

The whole world knows Western Australia is tied to mining and even though the peak has passed, the sector still represents a 36 per cent share of the state’s GDP and employs more than 130,000 people.

A new report from Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre says this is not a great base for security of the state going forward; it needs to diversify (like most of us).

In greenhouse gas emissions alone WA is the only state that’s adding to the load. Total emissions are up by 12 per cent in the past five years, with mining responsible for 40 per cent of those.

The risk from lack of diversity could be jobs, the report says. Traditional mining jobs are “susceptible not only to changes in international markets, but also to increasing automation and remote operations technology in mining, as the industry switches investment from non-dwelling construction to machinery and equipment, and as natural gas projects transition into their production phase.”

Hmmm, we’ve heard that story before.

But there’s good news. More diversification especially focused on sustainable industries, such as a building and retrofitting green buildings, renewable power generation and lithium mining and processing, could create 55,000 additional jobs, including 49,000 in regional WA.

Going down this path could also boost the state’s economy by an estimated $16 billion.

“The development of smarter buildings, more efficient industries and better use of resources will help to reduce energy use and WA’s greenhouse footprint, while also saving households money,” report co-author and Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Research Fellow Dr Silvia Salazar said.

“Our report estimates that simple measures such as double glazing, integrated window shading, and decreasing air leakage can save households $681 per year in energy bills, or around $34,000 over 50 years.”

Job and business movements

Singapore-based Surbana Jurong, an urban and infrastructure design consultancy, has acquired sustainable design firm Atelier Ten.

The partnership will bolster the Singaporean-headquartered business with 300 sustainable design experts working in UK, US, Australia and Singapore.

Notable projects by Atelier Ten include Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, Google’s London headquarters and the Royal National Theatre in London.  

NSW Circular, the NSW government’s government-funded body dedicated to accelerating the circular economy in the state, has hired Dr Kar Mei Tang as its chief circular economist. 

It won’t be Dr Mei Tang first high level position in the state government. She was formerly executive director, circular economy with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the NSW Environment Protection Authority, and director, economic policy with the NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet.

She’s also worked at SMARTS (now a division of Nasdaq OMX) and the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre, and also been the head of policy and research with the Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association.

thinkstep-anz has two new recruits: Nicole Sullivan, the senior manager for Green Star Solutions at the Green Building Council of Australia, and UK-based James Goddin, who has worked alongside the Ellen Macarthur Foundation to develop the Material Circularity Indicator methodology that aims to quantify the circular economy.

Brad Schultz has left VAE in Brisbane to join Buildings Alive as head of customer engagement.

A mechanical engineer by training, Mr Schultz’s role at Buildings Alive involves leading the Business Development & Services team to secure new clients and maintain relationships with existing clients of the building performance company.

He’s also done volunteer work for Beyond Zero Emissions as a presenter for the Zero Carbon Australia plan, a fully costed and modelled plan to move Australia to zero carbon emissions within ten years using only commercially available technologies.

Before VAE, he worked at Honeywell for eight and a half years.

Arup has announced Mayurie Gunatilaka has been appointed to head its New Zealand business.

Ms Gunatilaka’s background is in NZ regional and central government and MWH Global (now part of STANTEC) including as ANZ General Manager Urban Planning and Environmental Services.

At Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) she led teams responsible for long-term strategic transport planning and the national spatial and urban development programs for land transport.

Chair of Arup’s Australasia Region, Peter Chamley said, “Mayurie shares Arup’s vision and passion for creating sustainable solutions for our clients and communities. She joins us at an exciting time – we are working on several significant projects such as Auckland’s Central Interceptor and City Rail Link.”

Ms Gunatilaka said: “The pandemic has shaken us all deeply, and mindful of the impacts of climate change, we need to look at living, working, playing and travelling differently. 

“Arup is in New Zealand with a focus on sustainable development to do things differently and better.”

Interim leader Elizabeth Halsted will continue as a key business leader in NZ and Tommy Parker has moved to the role of Arup’s Australasia Consulting Leader.

In no surprise to anyone Beyond Zero Emissions’ Heidi Lee has made the switch from chief operations officer to chief executive officer. Lee who was a star moderator at our Flick the Switch event has been with this ambitious organisation since 2010.

Her backgrounds included DesignInc Architects. The role fills the vacancy made by the departure of Chris Arnott.

Global engineering consultancy Hatch acquired urban planning firm RobertsDay in September, which has prompted several internal job movements across the NSW, Victoria, WA and Queensland studios.

Sydney-based Ayeh Haji and Tom Payne have got new roles, with Payne promoted to senior urban and place planner and Haji to senior urban designer.

Justin Borgueta has been promoted to senior urban designer in the Melbourne studio, as has Emma van der Linden in the Perth and Alex Remmelt in the Brisbane studio.

Our pick of the jobs

Flee to trendy Hobart and work for small infrastructure sustainability Perspektiv as a sustainability consultant.

School Infrastructure NSW is on the hunt for a sustainability officer to improve the sustainability performance of school building and infrastructure.

Consider yourself a fashionista? Melbourne based apparel design, manufacturing and distribution company Designworks is looking for a CSR Ethical Sourcing Manager to help it source ethical fabrics and the like.

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