A report released by Professionals Australia and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Victoria (IPWEA Vic) today highlights that local governments urgently need support from the Victorian Government to deliver and maintain critical infrastructure for communities. The joint-paper calls for urgent reforms to end inefficient infrastructure investment, resulting in poor outcomes for both taxpayers and ratepayers. “There is currently massive waste in public sector infrastructure projects every year,” said Chris Walton, CEO of Professionals Australia. “Improving engineering capability and capacity in the public sector is critical so the state government can deliver major infrastructure projects, and to provide best-value investment in local community assets.
“The 2015 Deloitte Access Economics report found an average cost blowout for public infrastructure projects of between 6.5 percent and 12.7 percent. With a local government infrastructure spend of $2 billion annually this translates to a potential waste of between $130 million to $254 million every year – this is simply unsustainable.
“The state government needs to support innovation and efficiencies through engineering leadership to help reduce this waste. This includes registering engineers to ensure they are appropriately skilled and qualified to best protect the community.
“It’s the role of government to effectively manage community assets. We need to stop the decline in engineering capacity and the de-professionalisation of the public sector,” said Mr Walton.
David Hallett, CEO of the IPWEA Victoria said local and state governments need to work collaboratively to optimise infrastructure outcomes including local government being better informed purchasers, increasing engineering capacity and developing best practice infrastructure planning, procurement and maintenance management skills.
“Local governments deliver essential public works infrastructure at the community level. State government support is needed to foster best practice and encourage co-operative contracting and regional infrastructure corporations.
“Revenue and capacity constraints combine to place enormous pressure on maintenance programs and local governments must be supported to develop long-term financial plans, and asset maintenance strategies and policies.
“Preventative maintenance is the key to ensuring best value for ratepayers and taxpayers,” said Mr Hallett. The report ‘Building Victoria Together. Improving the Infrastructure Delivery Capacity of Local Government’
outlines five strategies to reduce waste, improve engineering capacity and better support local government
- Improve pipeline planning of projects,
- Improve procurement processes to reduce waste,
- Effective management of assets,
- Support on-going innovation and efficiency through engineering leadership, and
- Build a sustainable workforce.
The report will be launched at the IPWEA Vic Conference, Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street on Wednesday 20 April.
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