Move paid div­i­dends

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

NOT all en­gi­neer­ing ca­reer sto­ries are about young grad­u­ates waltz­ing into high profile jobs pay­ing over $ 100K.

A case in point is Su­nil Bhalla and his fam­ily, who im­mi­grated to Aus­tralia from North Pun­jab in In­dia in 1990, un­der the skilled mi­grant visa.

When Mr Bhalla ar­rived, the Aus­tralian High Com­mis­sion had said that there was a short­age of en­gi­neers and there were many ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties. Sadly, when we ar­rived, Aus­tralia was in the mid­dle of what then Fed­eral Trea­surer Paul Keat­ing said was the re­ces­sion we had to have,’’ says Mr Bhalla.

But hav­ing made the move, Mr Bhalla, who had grad­u­ated in 1984 with a civil en­gi­neer­ing de­gree from Pun­jab’s Tha­par Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, de­cided that he would en­roll in a part- time masters of con­struc­tion man­age­ment at Swin­burne Univer­sity.

Ob­vi­ously, I was look­ing for work while study­ing and the course of­fered work place­ment and through a Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment train­ing pro­gram found a job at the shire of Bulla,’’ he says.

Af­ter a few months, a per­ma­nent va­cancy oc­curred and he suc­cess­fully ap­plied and stayed there in var­i­ous roles un­til 2001.

Six years ago, Mr Bhalla took on the role at the Surf Coast Shire and now he’s the Di­rec­tor of In­fra­struc­ture for the state’s fastest grow­ing re­gion with a bud­get of $ 25 mil­lion and 60 staff.

We are the fastest grow­ing non- ur­ban Vic­to­rian mu­nic­i­pal­ity and this brings lots of chal­lenges for the pro­vi­sion of in­fra­struc­ture such as roads, build­ings and waste man­age­ment,’’ he ex­plains.

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