From May 2020 to the present the pandemic has continued to cause concern in the Eastern States of Australia but Queensland has managed to tide over relatively well - compared to the southern states.

Swift action to impose short lockdowns and an improved vaccination program has helped the state to suppress the infection spread also helped by good compliance displayed by the Queensland public.

Our Chapter has also stayed in step with these developments and exercised vigilance undertaking constant review of our forecast activity with the health and wellbeing of our members foremost in mind.

We have been compelled to switch our planned physical events to online and postpone social events as explained in more detail elsewhere.

Noteworthy events/activity of the Chapter during the 2nd / 3rd Quarters this year were:

  • 11th  CPD event- Webinar presented by Prof Tapan Saha – Solar energy 18/08/21
  • Publishing and circulation of this second Newsletter for 2021- in August
  • Participating in the 2nd Overseas and Provincial Chapter meeting with Colombo- June
  • Discussions with the Queensland Resources Council [QRC] to plan a CPD event that would provide insight into the “Mining Industry of Queensland”
  • Joint follow-up of the Mutual Recognition Agreement [MRA] decision with other Australian Chapters and Colombo
  • Conduct of monthly meetings of the Management Committee uninterrupted
  • Succession planning related to the transitioning of the MC at the October AGM
  • Responding to a 14-day Lockdown of Greater Brisbane/Gold Coast in July/August
Winning of the 2032 Olympics hosting bid by Queensland in July was also a major economic landmark for the state – the likely impact of which is explained in detail in an article below.

At the beginning of 2021 we speculated an year of recovery with optimism– but the way the virus has mutated and posed new challenges points to a new normal whose probable dates and nature seem yet unknown.

The virus has now begun to threaten regional areas of Qld too – with sporadic outbreaks in the north & central industrial regions of the state that the government has been swift to control.

Investor confidence – and therefore jobs growth- is very much reliant on how well the pandemic is controlled to bring about an acceptable safe level of operations. The targeted assistance that the Federal Government has offered in case of prolonged lockdowns is a welcome relief.

I also wish to draw the special attention of the General Membership herein to the upcoming AGM in October and the need for giving some forethought to electing an efficient and diverse Management Committee to take us forward to 2022 withering the challenges that lie ahead.

I wish you a safe and healthy spring season.    

Eng. Asoka Tittagala
President – IESL QLD Chapter

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Only Limit To Our Realization Of Tomorrow Will Be Our Doubts Of Today   - Franklin D. Roosevelt




Chapter formalities and activities have been maintained during the 2nd & 3rd Quarters of 2021 as much as was permitted by the ever-changing health regulatory environment. Monthly management committee meetings were conducted uninterrupted from May to August recording good attendance. The membership of the Chapter has grown at a moderate pace.

The Office of Fair Trading has approved the amendments to the Chapter's rules of the constitution on 20 May 2021, that were passed as a resolution at the Special General Meeting held in April 2021. These new amendments provide more opportunities for IESL members to nominate themselves to the key positions such as - President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Management Committee. A new membership category (Graduate Member) is introduced for graduate engineers to join the Chapter to expand the member base.

Sewmini Jayatilake has joined the Chapter as an Associate Member and  now appointed as a member of the Management Committee. Since the Chairperson of Social Sub Committee, Abdul Ziyath was on leave from May to July 2021, the Immediate Past President, Jayantha Wickramatunge was appointed as A/Chairperson of that Sub Committee. Sewmini Jayatilake was appointed as a member to the Social Sub Committee. The number of Resident Members has been reduced by one due to the passing away of late Semba Jayaratne in May 2021. As at the end of July 2021, the Chapter had a total membership of 75 (H/Fellow 1, Fellow 2, Member 24, Associate Member 16, Resident Member 31, Graduate Member 1).

The extension to the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that was jointly prepared and proposed by the Chapters of NSW, WA & Qld in March 2021, was not supported by IESL, Colombo in May 2021. All the Australian Chapters have provided a joint response to this decision and a reply from Colombo is awaited.

The fourth Annual General Meeting of the Chapter is planned to be held on 31 October 2021 at  Brisbane City Council (BCC)'s library meeting room in Mount Ommaney via in person and video conferencing, subject to the conditions of BCC and guidelines in Covid safe plan.
I wish the incoming new MC a smooth transition into office and success for their endeavours in 2022 to take the Chapter forward

Eng. Nimal Pushpakumara
Secretary - IESL Qld Chapter

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The True Test Of Leadership Is How Well You Function In A Crisis  - Brian Tracy




3a) Membership Subcommittee

IESL QLD chapter now has a membership category for the Graduate Engineers. This category came into effect with the latest amendments to our constitutional rules.  The new Rule 6.2.7 says “In order to become a Graduate Engineer, the applicant should hold an engineering degree from an Australian University, or an engineering degree recognized under the Washington Accord”.

The chapter expects many engineering graduates of Sri Lankan origin who have completed their engineering degrees in Australia, Sri Lanka, or any other country to join as long as they are permanently living in Queensland.

This will open doors to many graduates from the national Universities to become chapter members. One of the distinct opportunities of becoming a chapter member is that one could always have access to a group of senior engineering professionals from the same cultural fit to get help and guidance in career development. It is also one of the main missions of the chapter to assist and guide its members to find employment. Our first Graduate member Sudam Wanigatunga joined the chapter on 29 June 2021. We warmly welcome Sudam to the chapter and invite him to avail of the opportunities available.

We also invite more graduates to join and work with us to fulfil your engineering career aspirations. This can be achieved by participation in various CPD events, Newsletters and networking opportunities.

We also congratulate our Chapter member Eng Mrs G C Padmasiri on her admission to the class of Honorary Life Member of IESL (HLM-1120) this year

Following is an illustration of our member categories to date. If you are interested to join and engage with the chapter activities, please contact us through

Eng. Jagath Wanigasekera
Chair - Membership Sub Committee 

3b) Technical Subcommittee - May to August 2021

Some of the Covid-19 restrictions that have been in place this year have limited the technical activities organised by the technical subcommittee.
Our 11th Continuous Professional Development activity was also conducted as an online presentation and hosted on 18th August 2021. A summary  of the presentation is given below.

Presentation on “Insights into solar power generation and recent solar technology breakthroughs at University of Queensland.”

The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) Queensland Chapter successfully hosted    its 11th  Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Activity on Wednesday 18th August 2021.

The presentation on the above topic was made live online by Professor Tapan Saha who is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at University Queensland and Leader of UQ Solar and Industry 4.0 UQ Energy Test Lab.

The seminar gave insight into solar power generation by introducing challenges and opportunities of Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) integration to the grid and Solar Technology Breakthrough at UQ. Overview of the University of Queensland solar research and large-scale PV grid integration examples were highlighted in this presentation.

The event attended by more than 50 participants from around Australia and overseas, including Sri Lanka, ended with a lively Q & A session.

The Management Committee of the Chapter takes this opportunity to thank Professor Tapan Saha for his excellent presentation, everyone who attended the event and 4EB Sri Lankan Radio Group for media coverage.

Dr. Chanaka Abayasingha
Chair – Technical Subcommittee


3c) ICT Subcommittee
In this quarter, ICT subcommittee helped the technical subcommittee to conduct another virtual CPD event recently. It was conducted successfully, with over fifty participants from multiple countries in attendance.

The ICT subcommittee continues to support the editorial board, with the production and circulation of Chapter newsletters.

An update to the database of  newsletter recipients  was carried out to make sure all registered with us are receiving the newsletter.  

ICT Subcommittee has not planned any changes to current ICT platforms, but we are working on improving the current processes which would in turn result in a higher quality service and fast turnaround to all members that require our support.

Eng. Thushara Weerakkody
Chair - ICT Subcommittee

3d) Social Subcommittee
An Interim Social Subcommittee was appointed at the Management Committee meeting held on 25 July 2021.

The following members were elected to the Sub Committee to  undertake initial planning works
  • Dr Abdul Ziyath
  • Eng. Jayantha Wickramatunga
  • Eng. Sewmini Jayatilake
  • Eng. Asoka Tittagala (Ex-Officio)
The Interim Committee has now planned a BBQ as a social & fundraising event for this year.

This is intended to be a networking event for the current members as well as a membership drive for non-members to join the Chapter
The details are as follows:

Venue:             Rocks Riverside Park – Seventeen Miles Rock
Address:          531 Seventeen Mile Rocks Road, Seventeen Mile Rocks, Qld 4073
Date:               10 October 2021 – Sunday
Time:               10.00am to 2.00pm

More information will be made available through4EB  radio channels closer to the event.

This event will be conducted in strict compliance with the Covid 19 rules and regulations prevailing at the time.
All engineers, associates and well-wishers who are members and non-members willing to participate are very welcome with their family members to this networking event in support of the Chapter

Eng. Jayantha Wickramtunga
Interim Chair for Social Sub Committee

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None of us is as smart as all of us - Ken Blanchard




The Queensland State Budget was presented in parliament in June 2021. 

All Australian states have faced the challenge this year of balancing their books and yet presenting growth plans for the state economies in the face of the still evolving threat of the pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to devastate families and cripple national economies worldwide with death and infection rates rising daily Queensland’s outstanding health response to the pandemic and more than $14.2 billion in support initiatives have seen our economy rebound strongly.

During the 20/21 period the domestic economy of Qld – has grown faster than the rest of Australia.

It is encouraging to note that the Qld state budget continues to provide funding unabated for growth and employment generation in the sectors that our membership is predominantly employed in.
Among the salient features of the state govt’s investment plans are :

  • a $52.2 billion, 4-year capital works program that will continue to create employment with an estimated 46,500 jobs supported by infrastructure projects   
  • A new $2 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund that will be established to expand on the previous $500 million Renewable Energy Fund
  • Queensland’s publicly owned clean energy generator, Clean Co, announcing plans to build, own, and operate the $250 million 102.6MW Karara Wind Farm in the Darling Downs
  • $350 million Industry Partnership Program providing small and medium enterprises and research institutions in Queensland with tailored support that strengthens local supply chains to create and sustain jobs. This program will support maturing industries to adapt to new technologies, assist rapidly growing sectors and emerging industries

As a major export revenue generator for Australia the Northwest Minerals Province of Qld  is one of the world’s richest mineral producing areas containing copper, lead and zinc as well as major silver and phosphate deposits and strong rare earth potential.

The Northwest Mineral Province of Queensland and the Proportional Representation of Minerals Yield
Significant infrastructure development plans are also afoot to incentivise major investors to participate in the growth of this region

Northwest Minerals Province – Strategic Blueprint

This region will receive more focused attention in our future CPD events and Newsletters
We can be hopeful of seeing these investments translating into firm projects pipelines in the near future resulting in multi-disciplinary engineering job generation.


The Qld state budget was presented in June – a month ahead of the 2032 Olympic Hosting bid being awarded to Qld in July. In the light of this major announcement the infrastructure plans for Southeast Queensland as presented in the June budget are likely to undergo a major review. Article (5) below would throw more light on these aspects

The Management Committee – Queensland Chapter

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“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller


It was indeed an exhilarating occasion to celebrate when the International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced its decision on 20th July 2021 to award this hosting opportunity to Queensland.

Despite the gloom of the current global pandemic this kindles hopes of a strong and steady economic growth for the state in the years to come.

Parallels can be drawn with Australia’s successful bid for the 2000 Sydney Olympics which was awarded in 1993 in the midst of a global recession.

This is encouraging news to the engineering fraternity of Queensland too on account of its significant potential of job generation on the infrastructure and logistics fronts. The recently proven record of successfully hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast) and the proposed new model of staging the 2032 games from three connected regions in Southeast Queensland (SEQ) helped Queensland to outshine competing bids from six other countries.

In the Olympics hosting journey of Australia, Melbourne and Sydney hosted Olympics in 1956 and 2000, respectively. This 2032 award is a well-deserved third opportunity acknowledging the proven capability of Australia to host major international sporting events of a global scale.

In the wake of the excitement and celebrations across the country, there prevails the need for well-planned infrastructure for the Olympic Games 2032. While robust sporting infrastructure already exists in Brisbane, there would be gaps that need to be closed with upgrades or new developments. These developments will consist of preparation of venues, Olympic villages for athletes, establishing safe and comfortable mobility connecting the key areas and providing infrastructure focusing on the tourists are of high concern

Hosting of Olympics is not only about the successful completion of games, but also about the economic and social benefits that accrues to the country and the lasting legacy of state-of-the-art infrastructure that future generations will inherit.

Please read on for more details on Southeast Queensland’s evolving strategic plans to take on the formidable challenges that lie ahead on the journey to a successful 2032 Olympics…

Eng Sewmini Jayatilake
PMP Urbanists - Brisbane

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It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up – Vince Lombardi


This book brings to fruition many hours of hard work and research done by these authors whose efforts are greatly recognised and acknowledged. The success of the book is derived from the collaborative efforts of its authors and their collective knowledge and experience gained over many years of practice and research in geotechnical engineering. The high standard of technical information provided will benefit many in this special area of study and work

Dr Jayantha Ameratunga, the main author of the book, graduated in 1976 as a civil engineer from the University of Peradeniya and later obtained his Master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from AIT (Asian Institute of Technology), Bangkok. After working at CECB (Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau), he received a scholarship to do further studies in the Monash University where he gained his doctorate in geotechnical engineering.

He is a fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and Sri Lanka.

Jayantha has had a varied professional career, beginning in Sri Lanka but mostly in Australia when he migrated in 1989. In Sri Lanka, he worked with CDE (Ceylon Development Engineering) at the Bowatenna Power project site, later joining CECB in the design office. After his PhD, he worked at NBRO (National Building Research Organisation).  In late 1989 he migrated to Australia and joined Coffey Geosciences, one of the leading geotechnical companies in Australia. Currently he is a Technical Executive at WSP. He has worked on several major projects across Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and the New Zealand.  Several of his projects have won annual industry recognition awards.

.Jayantha’s co-author, Dr Sivakugan, is well known in the geotechnical fraternity.  He has been the Head of Civil Engineering at James Cook University and is the author of several books on soil mechanics and foundation engineering. It is worthy to note that several of the chapter contributions in the book are from experienced Sri Lankan engineers currently working in Australia.

The book provides an in-depth analysis of geotechnical engineering principles related to soft soil engineering and ground improvement. It is intended to serve as a textbook for undergraduates, a practical reference for researchers, academics and professional engineers. Please read on for further details.

Eng Derrick Fernando
Principal Engineer
Transport and Main Roads Department


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The more you know more you come to know how little you know – Aristotle



In this issue we wish to feature the story of a unique Sri Lankan and a prominent Queenslander and we salute him for the extraordinary courage, motivation and resilience he has displayed in the face of adversity that has led him to be honoured and awarded the QLD Australian of the year title  for 2021. 

Meeting with an unfortunate motor accident in 2010 that made him a quadriplegic leading to an extremely challenging path to rehabilitation and recovery, he persisted with resolute determination, strength and courage to successfully surmount the odds that were stacked against him.

Being a lawyer and a tertiary student in Medicine at the time of the accident, he never gave up these persuasions and ventured on to continue with his studies while recovering under the care of an exceptionally devoted mother and an equally committed medical and allied health staff.

With the gracious understanding of the academic staff in permitting him to continue with his studies, he finally realized his dream of becoming a practicing Doctor of Medicine in 2016. He is the second quadriplegic doctor who has been allowed to practice within the Australian medical system. His unique story and the remarkable journey to success against adversity was also featured on the Australian Story ABC TV in December 2020.
Dr. Palipana’s story of courage and determination is also of special significance to us as engineers being from a discipline that places a high emphasis on risk management, hazard control and safety. On behalf of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka Queensland Chapter we wish him success in all his future endeavours.

Please read on for the details of his unique journey

The Editorial Board
Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka Queensland Chapter

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore - William Faulkner


Semba Jayaratne from Townsville Queensland passed away peacefully on 22 May 2021, after battling a prolonged illness.

He was a civil engineer and graduated from the University of Sri Lanka in 1973. He held a master's degree in Geotechnical Engineering from AIT (Thailand). He was also a Charted Professional Engineer in Australia, Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland and a Certified Practicing Project Director in Australia. Since graduating, he worked for several organisations both in Sri Lanka and overseas, including Australia. One of his last appointments was with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) where he held the position of Construction Manager.

Semba was a well-regarded engineer, efficient, practical, knowledgeable, and helpful. He received numerous achievement awards during his tenure in TMR for his contribution to the development of workplace management and construction practices. While acknowledging his loyalty and dedication to his profession, his human qualities of humility, sincerity, friendship and helpfulness made him an endearing person. He was trustworthy and dependable. He considered work as a sacred duty that required to be fulfilled with a sense of commitment and loyalty.

I have known Semba for over 19 years. He was my friend, my advisor, my closest work-colleague and confidant. Although we were living far from each other, we used to meet and contact each other often to discuss issues that interested us both, mainly related to work and health. 

He was a sports-loving person and never missed a major sports event in Queensland. He loved helping people, especially newcomers from Sri Lanka and he was a very active member of the Townsville Sri Lankan community. He was a mentor and a coach for most of the engineers who started in far west and north Queensland.

My last conversation with him was about five months before he passed away and I will never forget the last words he spoke to me. He was in good spirits at the time, but I realised he was in pain and that he was realising the ultimate truth of our lives. He lived in the present and accepted that everyone is destined for old age and decline. Growing in maturity, is the acceptance of this realty. He never took refuge in illusions. 

Semba was a devoted father and husband. The pride of his life was his children and grandchildren. He fulfilled his responsibilities to his family, kept his promises to his religion and his commitments to his friends, society and indeed to the Sri Lankan community.

I mourn the passing of a friend and above all a humble human being who knew how to love and respect another human being. I feel his loss but the example he left behind is the legacy that many will strive to follow in serving fellow human beings with humility, commitment and reverence.

Eng. Gamini Siriwardana
Construction Manager – RoadTek

Editor’s Note:
Herewith is a link to the Burdekin River Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update that Semba provided for our 2018 Newsletter – as the Construction Manager of the project
 A three-month memorial was held in remembrance of Semba at the SriLankarama Buddhist Temple in Brisbane on 22/08/21

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There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth - Leo Tolstoy


Queensland, similar to other states of Australia had hopes of seeing an end to the Covid Pandemic after recovery from the initial Covid waves last year. However recent impacts with the different variants have kept us in suspense so far this year too. Nevertheless Queensland is still a secured precinct compared to most of the states in Australia. Inward migration to Queensland from other states for employment is on the increase.

Population growth in the state will also result in the generation of more opportunities for engineers with prospects of brighter times ahead. On the downside however the current Covid pandemic has negatively impacted small and medium scale businesses and industries owing to uncertainties.

Engineering organisations have become active more than ever in building relationships through communications. Webinars organised by Engineering organisations and affiliated chapters has shown a marked growth during Covid resulting in more exposure of engineering disciplines. Engineers have successfully proved resilience and skills in overcoming difficulties during the pandemic.

Queensland gained prominence as a significant destination on the world map for the next decade with the declaration of Brisbane as the Olympic host city of 2032 Olympic games. In engineers’ perspectives this announcement will generate numerous avenues and opportunities for a leapfrog in all engineering disciplines.

Queensland state government together with federal government will strive forward to make all infrastructure ready for the Olympic games. Southeast Queensland would benefit from multidiscipline engineering projects getting on the ground in the coming decade. To name a few, transport infrastructure projects such as Cross River Rail projects, building projects to shelter Olympic games participants and spectators participating from all over the world, IT and telecommunications projects to enhance connectivity and speed to broadcast real time happenings of events, expansion of facilities in the airports, augmentation of services sectors to ensure uninterrupted services such as power and water,  beautification of Brisbane city and other cities recognised as Olympic venues could be considered as some major projects in the pipe line.

All these projects will open significant opportunities for engineers and other employees engaged in multiple sectors especially in the construction industry and other ancillary services in the coming decade resulting the application of world class and state-of-the-art techniques.

This is the need of the hour for all authorities, educations institutions including universities and engineering organisations to review the potential surge of demands for different engineering disciplines and take actions to make engineers ready to accommodate this challenge.

We are also keeping abreast of the pandemic impacts and the ever-increasing challenges confronting Sri Lanka currently and are concerned. IESL QLD Chapter wishes our fellow Engineers in Sri Lanka and all Sri Lankans a safe and quick recovery from these hard times.

Eng. Gajaba Panditha
Editor - IESL QLD Chapter

Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is insanity – Albert Einstein


As a vital sector (accountable for 12% of the Qld economy) the current status and future direction of the Mining sector in Qld is of significant importance to our membership to understand and to weigh the prospects of a mining career and the pathways available to younger members.

To this end we have initiated discussions with the Queensland Resources Council [QRC] aiming to promote awareness of this sector among our readership and possibly to conduct some CPD events later this year

Please read below for the details of campaigns already launched by QRC and Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy [QMEA] to encourage upcoming generations of engineers to consider careers in the mining sector:

QRC social media Campaign on Mining Engineering

QMEA Facebook Page

You may also recall that we have also profiled the mining regions of Central & North Qld in several of our past issues of chapter Newsletters.
An insightful interview with the senior management of QRC is also being planned to be conducted as our next CPD webinar – the details of which would be published soon.

IESL Qld members are requested to share the information on these campaigns with their networks targeting potential beneficiaries

Technical Subcommittee

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You can't go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending - C.S. Lewis

IESL Qld Website

IESL Website

IESL Qld LinkedIn Page

IESL Qld Facebook Page

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It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice” - John Templeton

Our Queensland Chapter mission statement is to connect with, educate, empower and enhance the skills of our members and fellow engineers to develop and deliver solutions to real world challenges nurtured by our unique Queensland experience while upholding the overarching objectives and values of the IESL. However, we believe that we would only be at our best if we were to also learn from you, the reader. Therefore, our pursuit of excellence requires your assistance.

Please feel free to follow the link below to get in touch with us and provide your valuable feedback and advice. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you.

IESL Feedback Form

Thank you

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“Believe you can and you are halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt
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