The Productivity Commission’s recent report into public infrastructure has identified a series of assessment and development procedures that can be vastly improved to save governments billions.
A couple of the key findings included:
1. There is an urgent need to comprehensively overhaul processes for assessing and developing public infrastructure projects.
- There are numerous examples of poor value for money arising from inadequate project selection, potentially costing Australia billions of dollars.
- Additional spending under the status quo will simply increase the cost to users, taxpayers, the community generally, and lead to more wasteful infrastructure.
- Reliance on the notion of an infrastructure deficit, too, could encourage poor investment choices.
2. It is essential to reform governance and institutional arrangements for public infrastructure to promote better decision making in project selection, funding, financing and the delivery of services from new and existing infrastructure.
The points mentioned above are by no means the only recommended areas for evaluation, however they underpin a severe risk in current infrastructure selection practices and a mountain of room to improve. And improvement needs to happen fast.
As a recent article in Melbourne’s The Age, entitled: “Billions spent on roads in ‘hideously inefficient’ way” – Read more here!
The article describes hugely inefficient practices across the entire lifecycle of major infrastructure projects, from planning through to construction and delivery.
The article was based on a report written by Infrastructure Australia whose name is telling: “Spend more, waste more, Australia’s roads in 2014: moving beyond gambling.”
So what does this all mean? Well if by listening to key players in this space at the various infrastructure and planning bodies across the country is to give us a clue, it is surely that developing a longer term vision for infrastructure planning is the only way forward.
Better projects that complement existing infrastructure and have the ability to be scaled and deliver genuine and lasting economic and social impacts are by no means the norm but they need to be.
An event tackling these very issues with the executives at the heart of future infrastructure planning is the: “Best Practice Planning for Public Infrastructure” set down for September 24th & 25th at Sydney’s L’Aqua, Cockle Bay.
This important event will explore opportunities to improve major project selection, manage risk and maximise effectiveness of existing infrastructure. You could save billions!