The secret to Melbourne’s future

AECOM’s Blue Book event heard from Australia’s big thinkers.

Originally published on AECOM’s Australia & New Zealand website 9th July 2013. Re-published with permission.

AECOM’s Blue Book event at Melbourne’s RMIT Swanston Academic Building hosted some of Australia’s biggest thinkers late last month, as AECOM welcomed clients and industry partners to its 2013 Blue Book event.

Centred around the question of whether “collaboration is the secret to success”, the event saw a formidable panel discuss questions of leadership, technology and sustainability, as well as provide their views on Melbourne’s future.

Scott Bosckay, Chief Executive Officer at Sustainable Melbourne Fund, singled out the breakdown of traditional boundaries within corporations as a key driver of collaborative behaviour, while The Age’s Editor in Chief, Andrew Holden, said collaboration wasn’t the problem.

“A website getting 42,000 hits – fantastic – but I can get 400,000 on what Kim Kardashian’s going to call her first child,” he explained.

“So your problem isn’t collaboration, your problem’s engagement. This is about change management. If you have a real crisis you have real engagement. When you look at Melbourne I don’t think what we’ve done is articulate what the crisis is. I don’t think that Melbourne gets what the problem is, because they’re not out there in the outer suburbs and they don’t understand what the problem’s going to be terms of disastrous infrastructure out at the end and why the middle is actually the problem.”

“We haven’t articulated and got people engaged yet about why we need to sort out the problem.”

Professor Ron Wakefield, Head of School, School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University, singled out technology, citing Australia’s failure to leverage new modes of project delivery as contributing to the Blue Book finding that Australia’s buildings construction market is seen as the world’s most adversarial.

“Australia isn’t taking that technology up in a strong way,” he said. “I think that’s part of the adversarial approach. Everyone in the Australian environment is worried about – if they put their intellectual property into a shared facility – how are they going to protect that intellectual property?”

“You’d have great difficulty finding an architect in Melbourne who will allow you to have their building information model and use it freely as a facility owner, or let a contractor collaborate in how a building information model might be constructed; they are the big challenges for us and the industry.”

What do you think? AECOM’s Blue Book, now in its 15th year, lifts the lid on Australian, New Zealand and global trends for the buildings, infrastructure and construction markets. Go to for more information and to download your copy.


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