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40 Under 40, 2017: Narelle Underwood

This entry is part 24 of 41 in the series 40 Under 40, 2017



THERE HAVE BEEN 25 SURVEYOR GENERALS OF NEW SOUTH WALES ([NSW] the most populous state of Australia) since 1787. The 25th is Narelle Underwood. Narelle has had an eventful decade in surveying in both the private and public sectors. After serving for six years as a candidate surveyor with a private firm, Narelle joined the NSW Roads and Maritime Services as a graduate surveyor and earned the professional status of registered land surveyor. Narelle has since earned postings of increasing responsibility in both surveying and spatial data capture and management. Her appointment as the first female surveyor general of NSW, a posting that falls under the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, was effective October 2016.

Narelle has been a tireless supporter of the surveying profession, especially in promotion and outreach among young surveyors. Her list of awards includes being the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards Young Professional of the Year, the NSW Surveyor General’s International Fellowship and NSW Young Professional of the Year, and numerous academic honors and civil/surveying competition prizes. Narelle earned her BS in engineering, surveying & spatial information systems from the University of NSW.

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40 Under 40, 2017: Narelle Underwood” Comments

  1. Ms. Underwood was appointed with limited experience at a time of massive change in the state of NSW. This includes privatization of the Titles Office.

    The SG position is the pre-eminent surveying position in government. I am wondering how Ms. Underwood with only a handful of years (6) since registration would hold up in court as the expert authority on land surveying and cadastral boundaries. The lawyers would have a field day with this under-equipped person who really needs to go through internship at the SG’s office before taking on the job.

    She obviously has a very high opinion of her experience. No normal, humble and realistic professional would have even applied unless they really had the experience.

    Bad call NSW.

    • Manny

      Hello Adam

      Would it be possible to have a chat with in regard of your comment as I think NSW LTO is heading for disaster as I have had first hand experience with Narelle, I am astounded in her lack of knowledge, expertise, experience and this shows in her investigative and people skills. She cherry picks the Act and regulation.

  2. Agreed.

    I guess all will be revealed over the coming months/years regarding Underwood’s intentions.

    The state now faces many challenges to its very reliable systems of land registration and cadastral surveying.

    SG Underwood falls under the Executive Director of Spatial Services – Bruce Thompson. The head (Secretary) of the parent department (Dept of Finance, Services and Innovation) is Martin Hoffman. Hoffman has a demonstrably reckless public record for decision making and advice – evidenced by the loss of 4 lives in a post-2008 stimulus package for home ceiling insulation. Hoffman advised that training wasn’t important. Hoffman is completely a digital economy and privatize everything bureaucrat. He is strongly pushing for the sale of the state Titles Office. Almost 200 years of secure titling about to be put a risk to fund a sports stadium.

    Now Thompson, who lost his job in the neighboring state of Victoria, has a demonstrated disdain for surveyors. He is an empire builder who knows more than anyone else.

    So Hoffman and Thompson ensured they appointed a very join SG who with only a few years of experience will simply follow Thompson and Hoffman.

    Already Underwood has been heard to comment that she will reform the state’s regulatory arrangements for surveyors.

    So the state is in the hands of three jackasses with a set agenda.

    So it is worse than a bad call, it is a looming disaster.

  3. I am a surveyor, but not from downunder, and I don’t know have local knowledge of the case. A quick bit of browsing does seem to corroborate what the other commentators are saying.

    It does look a bit weird for someone with such little experience to be appointed unless something was afoot. Further it seems to be an oversell of Underwood, who is someone obviously so new to the profession.

    So it does strike one as being somewhat dodgy and an agenda is being played out.

    Commiserations to fellow surveyors.

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