IPWEA warns of increasing knowledge gaps in its Infrastructure Australia audit submission

By intouch posted 25 days ago

  

IPWEA Australasia has responded to the Infrastructure Australia audit that was published in August as a summary of challenges and opportunities facing communities nationwide over the next 15 years.

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Compiled by IPWEA’s asset management specialist team, the submission focuses on the Audit’s cross-sectoral chapter: ‘Industry efficiency, capacity and capability’.

In summary, IPWEA submits that:

  • Sustainable outcomes for entities providing services from infrastructure means being able to manage likely developments and unexpected shocks in the future without needing to introduce substantial and economically significant, or socially destabilising, income or expenditure adjustments. Decisions made by governments must ensure the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs;
  • Governments at all levels need to implement an Asset Management Strategy that shows service level, cost and risk trade-offs and provide advice to decision-makers on what is affordable; and
  • The expected outcome from credible asset management and long-term financial planning should be financially sustainable entities that can clearly communicate both affordable and aspirational service levels for their communities.

“Until we have confidence and competence in the supporting data and systems, skills and evaluative techniques, all asset and financial management data can be indicative at best and potentially misleading,” said IPWEA Australasia President, Mat Greskie.

“Although significant progress has been made in implementing management systems, it is apparent an ongoing process of monitoring and continuous improvement across all sectors on a consistent evidence-based approach is needed.”

As the report’s spokesperson, Greskie has reported to IA that, based on significant interaction with IPWEA members and stakeholders, many asset intensive organisations have increasing ‘information and knowledge gaps’ in their overall infrastructure planning processes.

“Given the long-life nature of infrastructure, it is crucial to demonstrate effective management of these assets and that current and future management processes provide for the true lifecycle costs to be accurately captured, evaluated, and reported on a uniform basis,” he said.

To realise the benefits of applying sound asset management principles, IPWEA proposed to IA that the Australian Government:

  1. Implements and maintains a credible, consistent and scalable Asset Management Framework across all levels of government;
  2. Promotes the benefits of applying sound asset management principles;
  3. Audits long-term asset management and financial plans so they are aligned, credible, reliable, up-to-date and compliant with best practice.

“Experience has shown that with the right legislative framework, supportive guidance and follow up, significant improvement in the performance and management of infrastructure is possible and that additional investment may not, in all instances be required,” said Greskie.

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