IP30 panel investigates the infrastructure governance opportunity

The Warren Centre’s second IP30 Infrastructure Delivery Innovation Series Panel took place on Tuesday, 16 June. It continued the journey of identifying the critical issues and opportunities for industry and government to bring transformational change and lasting improvement to infrastructure delivery.

The panel, moderated by The Warren Centre’s Alex Harrington, featured:

Mark Smith outlined the scale and structure of TfNSW and how the Asset Standards Authority is looking beyond standards to whole of life assurance. Mark explained that while asset management and optimisation is not easy, the operating model and a consistent accountability by all parties across the asset lifecycle is key.

With assurance at the centre of the value proposition, TfNSW is deploying a number of assurance techniques under its obligations as an asset owner. The role of Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) model was outlined which provides a distinct improvement in the accountability relationship between owner and service provider.

Garry Bowditch introduced his talk on infrastructure productivity by challenging the concept of productivity in relation to that icon of Sydney infrastructure: the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He demonstrated that total net capital stock in relation to GDP ratio has declined in Australia and OECD but asked the question – is really this a problem? While transport and utilities investment is growing strongly it is not matched by output. The pressure for increasing investment remains with congestion on Sydney roads for example exceeding 10 hours per day in many cases.

From an infrastructure cost and efficiency consideration, the scale of change was demonstrated by the the fivefold increase in cost to deliver the identical second Gateway Bridge in Brisbane from 1986 to 2010. The keys to improvement? Better priority setting, better incentives and better governance.

Suresh Cuganesan approached infrastructure productivity from the people perspective. He elaborated on how leadership was critical for doing the right projects and the right things for success of major capital investments. He elaborated on three critical challenges – building understanding and advocacy about project outcomes, driving project success through effective decision-making, and getting the right project governance in place. Ultimately though, the challenge was about… leadership.

This panel follows April’s inaugural IP30 session, which looked at how technology can address the infrastructure delivery challenge. Find out more about April’s session and download presentations.

The IP30 Infrastructure Delivery Innovation Series will continue throughout 2015, with more sessions to address the most important challenges facing Australia’s infrastructure. The next panel sessions are scheduled for:

  • 21 July
  • 1 September
  • 20 October

Learn more about the IP30 project

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