2017: The Year in Review

December 13, 2017

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a close and 2018 is almost here. As part of our end of year wrap up, here are some of the highlights that we would like to share with you.

In February R2A together with the Victorian Bar had the pleasure of presenting Cambridge Reader in Law and former British MP, Professor David Howarth for a special session, co-chaired by the Victorian Bar and Engineers Australia, exploring his latest book, Law as Engineering.

Professor Howarth’s essential point in his book is that these days most lawyers don’t litigate. Rather, they design social constructs such as contracts, companies, treaties and wills to facilitate their clients’ wishes. This is similar to how engineers design physical constructs to satisfy their clients’ desires.

David’s event sparked useful and interesting discussions between the engineering and legal professions.

Gaye's role on the Powerline Bushfire Safety Committee continued this year. Gaye’s role is to provide risk management and best practice advice.

We were privileged to work with many clients throughout the year. Here are a few of the interesting projects completed during the year.


Bicycle Access Management Review. Earlier this year R2A assisted Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) with the development, testing and implementation of a risk assessment methodology for bicycle access management. Following a series of information-gathering tasks, R2A developed a proposed SFAIRP[1] decision-making process for bicycle access management on state-controlled roads. TMR is currently preparing a supporting policy for state-wide implementation.

Asset Risk Management Framework Review. R2A completed a review to develop an asset safety risk management framework consistent with the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS) 2012, the TasNetworks Risk Management Framework (2015) and the TasNetworks Asset Management Plan (2015) whilst simultaneously taking into account the requirements of Tasmania’s electricity safety regulator (the Department of Justice) and the national electricity economic regulator (the AER).

Gold Coast Desalination Plant Access Review. R2A undertook a commission to conduct a safety due diligence review of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant access arrangements to the high-pressure areas whilst the plant is producing water.

State Emergency Risk Assessment Review. This project was undertaken to confirm the appropriateness of the State’s priority emergency risks, the controls in place and their effectiveness as well as and if required revise the risk characterisation in line with the updated National Emergency Risk Assessment Guidelines (NERAG) 2014.

Rail Project Business Case Reviews. R2A completed a number of business case reviews were this year for PTV and Trasport for Victoria, including the Safer Country Crossings and DDA Access Improvements Programs.

Plant and Equipment Review. R2A were engaged by DEDJTR to review its plant and equipment safety management systems at 8 key Department research farms. This provided a basis for a larger Department program to enhance its safe and efficient management of physical assets.

Fire Loss Risk Methodology Review. The purpose of R2A’s review was to ‘test’ the proposed methodology and to provide advice as to its effectiveness or otherwise of demonstrating ‘as far as practicable’ in the management of bushfire risk, particularly with regard to the question of disproportionality.

The Grimes Review

On 19 January 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change announced an independent review of Victoria’s Electricity Network Safety Framework, to be chaired by Dr Paul Grimes. On 5 May 2017, the Minister announced an expansion to the Review’s Terms of Reference to include Victoria’s gas network safety framework. R2A provided submissions for both gas and electrical safety, and met with Dr Grimes twice.

Pleasingly, from R2A’s perspective, the recommendation in the interim report stated that the decision-making criteria for safety should be consistent with that of the 2004 OHS act, that is, a precautionary approach that uses the SFAIRP principle rather than an ALARP principle using target levels of risk.

In coming to this view Dr Grimes comments favourably on the R2A understanding of issues involved.

The final report is expected to be released early next year.


Earlier this year Tim presented at the Fire Australia Conference in Sydney on The Legal Context to QRA. Whilst Gaye presented her paper on How safe is safe enough? Effective Safety Frameworks at EECon in Melbourne. Richard also presented to two groups of marine pilots on pilotage safety due diligence at SmartShip.

We have availability for similar opportunities next year. Drop us a line if you have an event coming up.


Richard and Tim continued to write for Sourceable this year:


From an education perspective, Richard delivered numerous public and in-house courses on Engineering Due Diligence as well as continuing to deliver the Swinburne post-graduate unit Introduction to Risk & Due Diligence with Gaye and Tim both presenting guest lectures.

The 2-day joint R2A/EEA engineering due diligence workshop was again successful this year and will continue in 2018. This workshop is aimed at aspiring directors and senior managers. Further details and 2018 dates can be found at https://www.r2a.com.au/education/eea-workshop/.

[1] “So far as is reasonably practicable”, as required by the 2011 Work Health and Safety Act.

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