Enhancing the quality of life for all Queensland communities

Leigh Cunningham

Chief Executive Officer

Leigh Cunningham is a lawyer with a career as a senior executive for a number of public companies in Australia and global companies headquartered in Singapore where she lived for 12 years. 

Leigh has 27 years’ experience as the most senior executive for NFPs and membership organisations including as the CEO for the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators, Australia and concurrently as the Secretary-General for the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. In 1999, she moved from Melbourne to Sydney for the role of Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Project Management. She left Australia for Singapore for a position as the Director, Finance & Operations for an Asia-wide business unit of PwC. And subsequently, the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Association of Independent Authors and a Grants Assessor for the National Arts Council of Singapore.

Leigh has three master’s degrees in law, commerce and an MBA where she graduated ‘Top Student’. She is also the author of four multi award-winning books.

CEO's Report
December 2021

Our sincere thanks to the professionals who devoted their time, energy, enthusiasm and expertise to the development of the Temporary Traffic Management Toolkit and for the commitment of Toowoomba Regional Council and Townsville City Council. IPWEAQ technical solutions are widely adopted and leading-edge, and our reputation and standing was forged on the contributions of councils and Working Group members – solutions developed by industry for industry. Thank you all from all of us.

And as we forge a leading path, we’re sure to keep in mind the people who set this in motion almost 50 years ago – the founders of the Local Government Engineers’ Association of Queensland (LGEAQ). This month we were delighted to welcome IPWEAQ’s sixth president, Derek Stringfellow (1982-1984) and his family for a visit to our facilities in Eagle Farm and in particular, the Stringfellow training room named in Derek’s honour.

Derek shared his life as a public works engineer with our team in what were very different times. Dereck’s two criteria for a successful career: (1) be an informed, knowledgeable and innovative practitioner and continue to be informed about new advances and improvements for your discipline. (2) establish a happy, active, family environment where children observe kindness, are well educated, and encouraged to pursue any career they choose. Derek paid tribute to his late wife Eunice and the role she played supporting him and their family during his career.

In January, we launched the Every Community Needs an Engineer campaign with a calendar featuring 14 exceptional public works projects. The 2022 calendar is now available featuring another 13 projects delivered across the state and territory including a Northern Territory project on the cover to welcome our colleagues to the IPWEAQ community following the establishment of the NT Branch in May. Printed calendars will be available at all regional conferences – it’s better than the Firefighters calendar. You can also view and download from our website

And please also download the Excellence Awards Commemorative book featuring 67 projects delivered for Queensland communities. This, and the calendar, is a source of inspiration for any civil engineering student ready to get started on their public works career.

We have 5,789 bridges across Queensland – green bridges, timber bridges, state-controlled bridges, arches, trusses, cables and an upside-down Harbour bridge. The longest bridge links Brisbane to Redcliffe at 2.7kms, and the oldest is the Dickabram Bridge constructed in 1885 over the Mary River near Gympie. If you’re also keen on bridges, I look forward to seeing you at the Bridge Management Symposium in Brisbane, 22-23 February 2022. The two-day program starts with our resident global expert on above-ground structures, Dr Neal Lake who will discuss what’s at the very core of bridge asset management and how to understand the impact of decisions on useful life.

Before we get to bridges though, please join us for the first event of 2022, the President’s Breakfast. This is an opportunity for us to thank our Partners, sponsors and exhibitors for their contributions to our successes before we embark on many more.

There’s a lot more under development including asset management and project management certifications and digital badging, and as David Thompson, our Industry Engagement Manager outlines on page X, a new Survey Standard for our sector.

Last month we made a submission to the state government’s proposed local government sustainability framework highlighting that it is critical that engineers make engineering decisions including asset management decision. We anticipate having the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning at the Asset Management Symposium in Brisbane, 20-21 May to present to delegates on the framework.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us for the Annual Conference for what was another exceptional event because our community is especially engaged and connected – photos/evidence available in the Knowledge Centre. 

From all of the team at IPWEAQ including our team members at qldwater, please have the best Christmas and New Year and be ready to engage and connect with us in the new year.

Leigh Cunningham
Chief Executive Officer