Regional Development Minister Simon Crean paid homage to one of the world’s most complex and impressive hydro-electric schemes at the launch of ‘The Spirit of SMEC – Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation’ book at Parliament House in Canberra, on 29 November 2012.
Launching the book with SMEC Chairman, Peter Busbridge, and The Spirit of SMEC author, Ron Ringer, Mr Crean quoted former Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who described the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme “as a plan for the whole nation.” Mr Crean said the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme was an example of Australian ingenuity and creativity at its best. Mr Crean went on to describe the Project as “an iconic Australian project, the Scheme is not only our largest renewable energy generator, it has informed our nation’s identity as one of prosperity, innovation and development”, referring to the Scheme as “a local project that had a national and international impact.”
Mr Crean said that The Spirit of SMEC book “chronicles the life of SMEC from its work on the Scheme to its philanthropic initiatives and commitment to social responsibility”. The Spirit of SMEC is an Australian story that explores the life and times of the people who have made SMEC what it is today – a highly successful and respected consulting engineering company. Seen through the eyes of SMEC’s multicultural heritage, the book is more than a history of events or the study of SMEC’s many engineering achievements, it portrays the pioneering spirit of SMEC and its people and the Company’s origins in the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme.
Referring to SMEC as a Company that has exported its engineering and consulting expertise all over the world, Mr Crean described SMEC as “a leader in its field”. At the heart of SMEC’s early work were major water and hydropower projects in South East Asia including Khao Laem (Thailand), Batang Ai (Malaysia), Pergau (Malaysia) and the Shoalhaven Scheme (Australia). Having established a reputation for the delivery of high-quality projects in South East Asia, SMEC moved north into India, north Asia and the People’s Republic of China and delivered major projects including Lubuge in China. SMEC was an early pioneer of concrete and steel bridge projects throughout Indonesia, road building across Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan and extensive irrigation works in the Philippines.
Mr Crean commented that “I’ve worked with SMEC throughout my political career, most notably when I oversaw its privatisation in 1993, as Minister for Primary Industries and Energy.” SMEC has flourished since it was privatised and today has over 5,000 people working in over 70 offices throughout Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America. SMEC continues to deliver its trademark projects in dams and hydropower, roads and bridges, although SMEC now has a more diversified business with mining, rail and urban development (amongst others).
To purchase a copy of The Spirit of SMEC book, click here. Current and former employees please contact Frances Stewart, +61 2 9925 5513, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All net proceeds from sales are donated to the SMEC Foundation (www.smecfoundation.org).