There is a consensus among government agencies, infrastructure groups, consultants and industry that Australia’s growing infrastructure funding demand urgently needs to be addressed. A growing infrastructure funding gap and inefficient infrastructure investment has caused massive economic loss, and has often resulted in poor value outcomes for taxpayer dollars and community needs not being met. This paper highlights the importance of an informed public sector to the delivery of infrastructure projects. Improved engineering capability and capacity in the public sector - particularly within local government - can assist the State Government in delivering community infrastructure projects and policy initiatives, while at the same time providing best-value investment in local community assets.
Local government is critical in delivering and maintaining community assets and services. State Government policies already seek to encourage local government to carry out these roles efficiently, and to also generate jobs for local communities. However, the way in which local governments manage their infrastructure investment needs to become more effective if this efficiency is to be realised.
Local government has a long history of delivering and maintaining this infrastructure and the services it supports, but will struggle to continue to do so if the current trend of engineering de-skilling continues. Local governments need support to build their position as informed purchasers, minimise risk of infrastructure failure, increase their engineering capacity, deliver optimal whole of life outcomes for the community and to develop best-practice infrastructure planning, procurement and maintenance management skills. The strategies and actions outlined in this report will assist in achieving the State Government’s policies of creating jobs, delivering more projects, reducing waste, improving capability and reducing risk and liability, while also improving infrastructure delivery.