Hello, and welcome!
This blog is intended as a step forward in sharing my professional ideas and frameworks on issues that are important to the way business, public policymakers and the community can work together.
My experiences have been shaped from being involved in Australian public policy, international diplomacy and most recently infrastructure. While I may touch a number of areas, most of my comments will be anchored to an infrastructure theme, particularly planning, selecting, prioritising and funding of infrastructure.
Infrastructure is the life blood of modern societies. Yet we use it, benefit from it and our cities and economies are shaped by the decisions of those that went before us. Too often however, we fail to maintain our public assets and fall well short of the mark on long term planning capabilities. This acts as a brake on our society’s development.
We have a responsibility to make wise decisions. To do that we need to ask wise questions like what sort of cities and regions we want to live in, and how we can shape them so they are better places for the next generation. Most of us are beneficiaries of very sound decisions taken well before we were born. For example, as a resident of Sydney, Australia the decision to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge in early 1900s has given Sydney an enormous intergeneration gift that has helped to underwrite its outstanding liveability and success on any global comparison. Sydney’s place in the world would have surprised even Bradfield and other early visionaries. All of whom had very high expectations for the future success of the city.
Intergenerational responsibility and infrastructure decision making go hand in hand, because these assets and networks of transport, energy, telecommunications, water and waste together with the schools, hospitals and parklands impact directly on our current and future quality of life and economic prosperity.
However, there is a very real risk that if society today breaks the long line of intergeneration philanthropy we have experienced with too many short sighted decisions, then we risk losing this gift forever!
Its very important to remember that infrastructure is much more than just an engineering artefact, its an agent of change that drives the economic and social fabric of our societies. I am looking forward to sharing with you my perspectives about the ‘bigger’ issues confronting our society.
We must do better in all aspects of infrastructure decision making. A good starting point is committing to a proper home for recording our nation’s institutional memory, that captures the lessons from past projects, and their successes. I also hope to create a network of people from many professions and walks of life that want to understand, critique and share their learning in this journey.
My next blog will be focussed on Asset Recycling. That is selling public assets to fund infrastructure; it is of particular interest as governments in Australia are grappling with how to fund infrastructure in a very tight and self imposed debt constrained environment.
I hope you will join me in taking a step forward to contributing to a more informed and responsible infrastructure debate.