IPMA International Project Management Association
4 November 2016 / 8:48

Projects and project management in Australia

The country portrayed in this blogpost is often called “Downunder”, as it is – from a European or a Northern perspective – a very southern land. This is also the meaning of its name, Australia, in Latin language “Terra Australis”,  the Southern Land. It is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. Australia was long before the European influence inhabited by indigenous Australians. Dutch explorers discovered the island during the 17th Century, more than a hundred years later Great Britain claimed it for the Empire and started first settlements at the East Coast. Nowadays, Australia is the world´s six-largest country by total area, has the world’s 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income. It generates its income from various sources, including but not limited to mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. During the second half of the 20th century, the Australian trade shifted significantly away from Europe and Northern America to Japan, China and other East Asian markets. On the one hand there is substantial export to China of iron ore, wool, and other raw materials. On the other hand more than 120,000 Chinese students study in Australian schools and universities. Thus, China plays an increasingly important role for Australia: it is the largest purchaser of Australian debt and a Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia (2015) will strengthen that relationship in future.


Projects are performed in various sectors and areas of Australia. Firstly, the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS) outlines the many construction projects all over the country. Infrastructure Australia updates the national Infrastructure Priority List regularly, providing a pipeline of infrastructure projects to guide the long-term investment decisions of the public and private sectors. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)  highlights many projects in order to make the country more independent from energy imports. Currently, more than 200 projects are in the pipeline, covering such diverse sources like solar, hydro, wind, geothermal and ocean energy. Many projects and programmes are performed to develop the public administration and to improve the defense capabilities of the Australian Defense Forces, e.g. a large contract for the renewal of the submarine fleet was signed with a French contractor. In the mining industry massive CapEx projects are performed in order to increase the competitiveness.

The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) is the peak body for project management in Australia and a member of IPMA. This week AIPM celebrates its 40th Anniversary and covers major industries, such as construction, ICT, professional and scientific services, energy and public administration. More than 3.000 of the 9.000 AIPM members are certified and participated in one of the 61 AIPM-endorsed trainings conducted by accredited training providers. AIPM has chapters based in states and territories across Australia and reaching out to the Asian-Pacific Region through an alliance with the Asian-Pacific Federation of Project Management (APFPM). The first Inaugural Regional Conference of AIPM together with IPMA and APFPM attracted more than 600 project management experts to come to Sydney and exchange experiences; a great success and experience. The National Award Gala highlighted great project achievements, for individuals, projects and organisations. Next year´s National Conference will be conducted in Melbourne.


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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.