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Municipal Works Australia’s 30th National Municipal Works and Engineering Conference will be held in Bendigo. Images: Municipal Works Australia.

Roads & Infrastructure Magazine speaks with Municipal Works Australia CEO Peter Ali to learn more about the association, as well as how it continues to provide for the municipal works sector.

Even before Peter Ali became the Municipal Works Australia (MWA) Chief Executive Officer, he had an invested interest in what he calls an essential sector.

“I was an Operations Manager and had been involved in the association. I’d been on the conference organising committee for around seven years and was on the board for a short period of time before I put my hand up for the role,” he says.

“It’s fantastic to be working for an association that’s truly giving back to the industry and helping people to further develop their professional development and career progression. We could see that there were some areas that were under-represented in terms of support, which is where we’re standing in.”

Established in 1936, MWA fosters excellence in providing municipal works and services by facilitating professional growth, fostering camaraderie, and organising networking events and career development programs. Its members include people providing frontline maintenance, engineering, and operational support services for councils. 

MWA is the preeminent national collaborative platform for local government employees and companies supplying products and services within the municipal works sector. It’s also a not-for-profit, member-based association established to uphold and assist individuals and organisations operating in the sector.

Municipal Works Australia CEO Peter Ali.
Municipal Works Australia CEO Peter Ali.

Ali says he can see first hand the positive impact that the association has made on those new and old throughout the sector.

“To be in a position where you can influence and support those in the industry who may need assistance is very rewarding and a real privilege,” he said. “The MWA is going through a really great growth phase at the moment. We’re offering services and programs that we’ve never offered before.”

Some of these include new leadership training and development courses. These aim to directly influence growth within each of its members.

“The feedback for these programs has been just fantastic. I think people have really appreciated that there’s something there for them to develop their specific skills. A lot of our members have a lot on their plate, which means they work in high-risk environments such as near roads, so it’s important to have that knowledge,” Ali says.

“We’re also shortly launching our new online training program for people in local government, so they can have easy access to build up their own skill sets. Both of these programs are looking really exciting.”


 

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Ali adds that these programs are centred on creating cooperation and communication not only between members, but also for the betterment of other sectors, such as the roads and construction industries.

“It’s part of our commitment to creating face-to-face interactions with our members. We’ve introduced these field days, which are rolling programs where our corporate members can partner with a council to demonstrate their services and practices with councils in that area,” he says.

“It enables people to discuss and learn about new things that are happening within the municipal works space and demonstrate and interact with each other to network and learn. These programs have been really well attended.”

Ali says on top of the development of training and leadership programs designed specifically for those in the industry, another key achievement of the MWA in recent times has been its ability to unite nationally.

“We’re now really well positioned as a national body and I’m proud of the coordination that was required to make that happen. All of our stakeholders had the best intentions, and the result has been great,” he says. “We’ve now got a cohesive board and efficient management structures. Being able to see many of our projects and programs come into place has been really rewarding.”

Municipal Works Australia continues to grow and diversify.
Municipal Works Australia continues to grow and diversify.

A key representation of this is the MWA’s upcoming 30th National Municipal Works and Engineering Conference.

The conference brings together individuals and companies working in the municipal works sector from around Australia together in Bendigo, Victoria.

This year’s conference features high-profile speakers, engineering and maintenance work experts, exhibitors, giveaways, and a networking event over two days. It features demonstrations and presentations of new product and service solutions, we well as presentations from the next generation of leaders in municipal works.

“It’s a place where we can all get together in one place and meet nationally. There’s going to be speaking programs, technical programs, informative programs. It’s got everything. It’s a very diverse event and you get to see all this and more in just one spot,” Ali says.

“The reason for the big focus on the next generation is because we and the industry are forward looking to what the future holds for the sector and the people within it. This covers things such as technology, but also our younger industry members – how they’re shaping up in the works space, how they’re progressing, and also what they’re hoping for the future.”

Ali himself says he’s “extremely optimistic and excited” for the sectors future, as well as the continued growth of the organisation.

“The association is on a major growth path, and we’ll soon be getting larger in terms of our membership. That’s great because it’ll allow us to provide more back into the industry. The bigger we are, the more that we can provide,” he says.

Technical and informative sessions will be held at the associations’ upcoming 30th National Municipal Works and Engineering Conference.
Technical and informative sessions will be held at the associations’ upcoming 30th National Municipal Works and Engineering Conference.

“We’ll be looking to face challenges head on so we can continue to best support our members while they negotiate any changes in the sector.”

And for those that aren’t already members, Ali says the first steps are simple.

“We have a free membership option and it’s great to be involved in the sector in which you work. All you have to do is visit our website and learn more. You’ve got nothing to lose,” he says. 

This article was originally published in the March edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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