The International Public Works Conference was held in Adelaide this month by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA). The awards celebrate councils, engineering and consulting firms accomplishments, and overall excellence in public works that supported communities in Australia, New Zealand and neighbouring islands.

The Sunshine Coast Airport won the Best Public Works Project over $5 million in Australasia.

It was the third major award for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project after winning the John Holland Group’s Australian Project of the Year in 2021 and the prestigious Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Award for Best Contract in Australia which was awarded in April.

This is in addition to the Best Queensland Project over $10 million and Queensland Project of the Year in 2021 at the IPWEAQ awards and Construction Contractors Federation 2021`Award for the Best Project in Queensland over $75 million.

Sunshine Coast Council Economic Development Portfolio Councillor, Jason O’Pray, said the award was an enormous achievement for the airport project.

“Winning the IPWEA Best Public Works Project over $5 million in Australasia is tremendous recognition for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project, which has beaten other major infrastructure projects from all around Australia to win this award,” Mr O’Pray said. 

“This was the largest single infrastructure project Sunshine Coast Council has ever undertaken.

“It included construction of the 2.45 km runway and accompanying taxiways and was completed on time and on budget in 2020.

“The project represents the first time a local government in Queensland has delivered a new international standard aviation facility in its own right.

“With international borders opening up following the COVID pandemic, we are looking forward to reaping the benefits of this new runway and the opportunities for new global travellers to arrive at, and depart from, the Sunshine Coast.

“It is fantastic recognition for what is a landmark project in the history of the Sunshine Coast and it highlights the professionalism with which it was managed and constructed.

“Council entered into a landmark funding arrangement to provide the significant funds necessary for a project of this magnitude without ratepayers having to foot the bill.

“By 2040, the new runway will have contributed $4.1 billion to Gross Regional Product and created 2230 new full-time jobs for our local workforce.”

IPWEA Awards judge Phil Burton said the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion was an innovative project for a local government.

“The commercial approach to funding this project was innovative and of great benefit to locals,” Mr Burton said. 

 “[The project delivered] clear advantages to the travel industry and the local economy, great efficiencies for local trade and significant benefits for local suppliers during construction.

 “The project had a clear eye on the operational plan for the asset well before it was built ensuring it would deliver on its objectives.”

 Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project Director, Ross Ullman, said the project’s sixth major award was a remarkable achievement.

“This is tremendous recognition for council, the project team and the contractor, especially when you consider the amount of planning and hard work that went into the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project,” Mr Ullman said.

“There was approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of sand transported to the Sunshine Coast by a dredge vessel just to form the foundation of the new runway.

“In addition to this, more than 400,000 tonnes of fine crushed rock and 64,000 tonnes of asphalt was placed on the runway, along with 409 lights which are powered by more than 50 kilometres of electrical cabling.” 

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