Can Australia keep up with its infrastructure needs?

A major failure in infrastructure cost Italy a lot of damages when Genoa’s Morandi Bridge collapsed in mid 2018 – which is reported to be the 10th bridge collapse in Italy. Australia is headed the same way with aging bridges facing little to no infrastructure control.

Dr Colin Caprani, Bridge Engineer and Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Monash University, said, “More ‘end-of-life failures’ such as that in Genoa could happen in Australia as the age profile of bridges increases and the growing infrastructure backlog worsens.”

Dr Caprani told government news that Australia needs to implement the SHM (structural health monitoring) of aging bridges to make sure that an event like Genoa is not replicated in Australia.

Close to 70 per cent of Australian bridges are more than 50 years old, which is far beyond their design life. These bridges are on the brink of total collapse or major cracks. With the increase in population leading to increased traffic, there is more load by the day on these ageing bridges which were not built to hold the load.

“It gives you an idea of the influence of aging and increasing traffic roads, and what they’re doing to our bridges. That’s where we’re headed”, Dr Caprani said.

Australia’s Infrastructure Reform needs a wake up call

A recent boom in population has suggested that Australia needs to accommodate another 24 million people in the next 40 years. That puts pressure on the infrastructure of the country that ten years ago had about 20.3 million people.

Rapid reform is required to create an environment conducive to the delivery of this pipeline of critical projects. Australia needs a range of solutions and a steadfast commitment from both the public and private sectors to deliver on it.

To best ensure certainty in the infrastructure pipeline, market conditions need to first be attractive for investors. NAB submitted an infrastructure audit that pinpointed two key areas related to investment conditions that need significant improvement:

  1. The first area is the active creation of a large range of funding options for infrastructure projects
  2. The second is the need for more certainty over the projects that are being developed. Government policy needs to be formed on the back of a clearly agreed plan of infrastructure priorities based on transparency in the cost to benefit ratio and the delivery of the required social amenities

Learn about the key issues lurking around Australia’s infrastructure needs and how Australia can become a global leader on infrastructure at the Transforming Public Sector Asset Management Conference, taking place from 28-29 November 2018 in Melbourne.

Download the brochure to find out more.

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