michael-king-island

iEnvironmental Australia – Supporting the Australian Business Community

michael-king-island
Michael sampling at a mine site, King Island 2005, for a Community Group project

As a young man, I didn't know what I wanted to do, from computer engineering switching over to what I thought was an outdoors focussed Environmental Science degree, and a little bit of volunteer work in ecological assessments.

But I really cut my environmental teeth in the Persian Gulf on an unplanned opportunity via a friend with no real understanding of what I would be doing - that was all during the Gulf War too. They were heady days of adventures in the desert, learning to be self-sufficient and clean up contaminated sites all while developing myself socially with a great group of British ex-pats.

I came back to Australia and learnt more in the contaminated land field, and worked tirelessly and passionately, later getting an opportunity as a young up-and-comer to start up a business and manage it in China - with the work to come from unknown sources.

Sometimes in my career, I have worked for small and medium-sized local organisations, sometimes for or seconded to multinationals, but always at the interface with the Australian business community and helping solve contaminated land problems. For a while, I was restlessly looking for the next adventure and helping with the growth of companies.

During that time, I sometimes questioned what value did contaminated land consulting actually have in reality, in Australia in particular? We as consultants get paid for our time and take away money from businesses who often want to do the minimum investigation and cleanup required (or that is all they can afford). By contrast, in China for instance, I would visit apocalyptic-like towns poisoned by contamination and levels I had never seen in Australia - the need was visibly obvious to clean up the poison. But what 'good' were we really doing in Australia?

The answer came to me later that there is a reason why we don't have that severity in Australia. It is the regulations and requirements for people like us to go and check and cleanup, and provide advice on what is required. Another reason is the requirement for clean up during the development application/approval process in Australia while the money and machinery are already there. In fact, a whole ecosystem of businesses and people's jobs in Australia have come from those regulations and approvals - which are a substantial part of keeping Australia clean.

Back in Australia, settling down and starting a family, my dream of starting my own company began to take shape. There is a pleasure that comes from taking responsibility from working for yourself and developing things consistent with all the lessons learnt and observations unique to your own journey. It was also compatible with all my wider goals of seeing the advantages of truly belonging to the local business community and supporting our families and the Australian economy.

Dial forward a decade or two, and I find myself back in Australia, now with a young family and now running my own company, iEnvironmental Australia. I am conscious more than ever of the local community of businesses and what those mean to Australian families and the economy. Our local offices employ local people, and wherever the job is located we also partner with local companies, from the bloke that holds the traffic signs, the excavator operator, through to the soil samplers and scientists we use.

During the time of COVID-19 I am more conscious than ever of the value of community and families, and helping each other, and that every dollar that stays in our communities helps. Buying Australian is not a parochial choice; it actually has a real impact and meaning to Australian families.

Our values of integrity and innovation have never meant more to us than right now as we strive to do our best for our clients and all our Australian staff and subbies as an Australian own and operated business.

 

Best wishes to all,

Michael

iEnvironmental Australia Pty Ltd

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