A chief engineer has been appointed by the ACT government, fulfilling a pledge made before the 2016 election.
Adrian Piani - currently the Canberra area manager for AECOM - has been appointed as the territory's first permanent chief engineer and is due to start in June.
He will provide strategic advice on key projects, including stage 2 of the light rail network, upgrades at Canberra Hospital and the capital works program in ACT schools.
Professionals Australia have welcomed the announcement but said it remained concerned the role has been designed too narrow and lacking independence to fully future proof ACT's infrastructure.
Minister for planning Mick Gentleman said Mr Piani would support the government to implement its $2.8 billion infrastructure pipeline to meet the city's growing needs.
"Mr Piani has extensive experience in the ACT, working on a range of infrastructure projects and initiatives and will bring a fresh strategic perspective to the role," he said.
"The appointment of a chief engineer is part of the government's commitment to ensuring an innovative and skilled engineering workforce in the ACT, as well as having strategic infrastructure planning and processes in place for the future of Canberra."
Mr Piani said he was honoured to be appointed and hoped to use his significant private sector experience to improve public-private partnerships.
"I'm really looking forward to the ability to collaborate across the sector," he said.
"Our quality of life in Canberra is predicated on the infrastructure we have."
Professionals Australia ACT director Dale Beasley said the announcement marked a new direction for ACT's infrastructure with engineering advice now at the centre of decision making.
But he was concerned the current design of the chief engineer role was too narrow and lacked independence.
He said the association led the calls for a chief engineer in recent years.
"The whole point of this initiative is to protect the community against engineering missteps that affect safety, cost blow outs and other project outcomes," he said.
"It's is part of a wider suite of reforms that includes the introduction of engineer registration which is now on the cusp of being legislated in Victoria, which already has its chief engineer in place.
"If executed well, a chief engineer, together with engineer registration will help us to future proof the ACT's infrastructure and tackle our engineering challenges.
"We also have questions unanswered about whether the role will be sufficiently resourced with staff and budget to ensure the ACT government is an informed purchaser.
"We also eagerly await the government's release of its election commitment to consult ahead of the adoption of an engineer registration scheme."
The executive position has a salary about $263,000.