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Past Project in Detail

Austral Bricks - stormwater management plan


Representatives from QUT, Austral Bricks and CEED acknowledge CEED's 300th project   Dr Richard Brown (QUT), John Braga (Austral) and Monardo Giani (QUT student).   One of the stormwater catchment areas at the Rochedale site.  

AUSTRAL CLAY BRICKS (CEED’s 300th project!)

Project duration: 2nd semester, 2003

Student: Monardo Giani, QUT Master of Engineering Management


The Austral Brick Company was established in 1953 (as part of Southern Electric Authority). Back then, Brickworks Rochedale produced around 2 million bricks annually and employed around 15 people.

In 1999, after major equipment upgrades over the years (increasing capacity to around 120 million bricks per year), the company acquired the Pioneer Brick Manufacturing facility at Riverview, west of Brisbane. This gave the company an additional capacity of 40 million bricks per year.

Austral Bricks Queensland is a major part of the Austral Brick Company Group, which comprises 6 brickyards and 1 tile company, employing more than 500 people. The company have 2 manufacturing sites in Queensland, one at Rochedale and one at Riverview, as several sites around Brisbane/Ipswich where they mine their own clay.

The Rochedale plant has been recently issued with strict limits for sediment pollutants in stormwater runoff and the mine site has several areas of concern that they want to investigate, to ensure that they comply with Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines.

John Braga, Operations Manager at Austral Bricks was keen to offer this project to a student through the CEED Program, as it offers a good training opportunity and a cost-effective way of getting a result.


To develop a stormwater management plan for the Rochedale mine site that ensures the business complies with its environmental obligations in relation to stormwater management. In order to achieve this objective, Monardo must:

· Design and develop a stormwater management plan for the mine site

· Design and develop improvement strategies for rectification works

· Develop documentation for ongoing maintenance programs.

Monardo has identified the risks associated with his project. They include:

· Weather – the rain season over summer can bring heavy downfalls, which can hamper efforts if the project is delayed. Therefore, Monardo is working hard to finish the major project steps dealing with heavy rain, before the rain season is expected to commence

· Location of raw materials – Austral’s production depends on the clay mined from the Rochedale site. Staff and contractors are constantly seeking raw materials from different locations on the site and that will expose more land, making it difficult to implement strategies such as creating more water catchment ponds, change the topographic shape of the site. To overcome this, Monardo plans to liaise closely with Austral staff and contractors, so that raw materials are sourced in a way that does not conflict with environmental obligations

· Neighbours – good relationships need to be maintained with neighbours and they need to be kept up to date regarding the steps that Austral want to implement and any concerns are addressed, so that the plan will have a positive impact on the surrounding environment including the Bulimba Creek

· Contractors – as there are contractors working on site and also involved in excavating raw materials, it is very important to communicate with them about the environmental problem at hand and why changes are important, so that they work in co-operation with Austral and the Stormwater Management Plan, whilst maintaining the smooth running of their operations.


The perceived value of this project for Austral Bricks is that they will be complying with the environmental rules and regulations, with an effective management plan in place that will assist them to carry out maintenance programs in a more efficient way. According to John Braga of Austral Bricks, the plan will also “demonstrate the company’s commitment to protecting and preserving the environment”. The plan will have a positive impact on the community, as it will help protect the Bulimba Creek by reducing the amount of sediment/pollution going into it.

Monardo is due to complete his project in November 2003.


To acknowledge this milestone, a group of stakeholders were invited to attend the Rochedale site on 5 August 2003, in order to learn more about Monardo’s project. John Braga, Operations Manager at Austral Bricks, conducted the tour. Other attendees were: John Zhu (Technical Manager, Austral), Jens Krogh (???? Austral), Colin Melvin (Chairman of CEED Committee), Dr Richard Brown (QUT supervisor of project), Monardo Giani (QUT Master of Engineering Management student), Graham Willett (CEED Program Co-ordinator) and Deidre Marczynski (CEED Marketing & Administration Manager). The fascinating site tour encompassed some of Austral’s stormwater catchment areas relevant to Monardo’s study as well as the manufacturing plant. The tour was followed by morning tea, provided by CEED, in appreciation of Austral Brick’s participation in the CEED Program and to celebrate its 300th project.

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