The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE) will pioneer new scientific approaches to geotechnical engineering design to underpin Australia’s energy and transport infrastructure, resulting in increased productivity and sustainability of the nation’s major export industries.
The provision of physical infrastructure for energy and transport is now a central theme of governments worldwide, and is of critical importance to Australia’s future prosperity. The largest private investments in new infrastructure are being made in the energy sector. The offshore liquefied natural gas industry has seen huge recent investments, most notably with the $43 billion Gorgon project initiated in September 2009 ("In capital expenditure terms, the single largest resource project in Australia’s history", ABARE, 2009) and the $12 billion Pluto project that is due to make its first shipment in early 2011.
Over the next five years, approximately $250 billion will be spent on the provision of roads, railways, offshore oil and gas production facilities, renewable energy facilities, ports, pipelines, tunnels, and mining operations. To guide these billions of dollars of public and private investment, a new body, Infrastructure Australia, has been charged with developing an Infrastructure Priority List. As indicated in the State and National report cards prepared by Engineers Australia, our current standard of infrastructure ranks poorly across most sectors with the transport sector being seriously deficient (see www.infrastructurereportcard.org.au/).