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In a recently released whitepaper, the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) called on all levels of government to commit to asset management education programs to ensure long-term effectiveness of infrastructure.

The whitepaper, Best Practice Asset Management of Essential Public Infrastructure discusses the key challenges faced in the infrastructure sector, including severe skill shortages, lack of ‘best practice’ cohesion, lack of auditing and understanding of asset management professionals.

IPWEA called for an immediate addressing of the education issue in this sector, alongside five other recommendations targeted towards all three levels of government, with each playing a vital role in maintaining the integrity and quality of the profession.

The failure to properly plan and manage assets can cost taxpayers significantly; the 2021 National State of the Assets (NSoA) report estimated the replacement cost of local government assets (excluding land and plant equipment) was in the order of $533 billion.

IPWEA’s whitepaper details the role the asset management profession plays in the design, management and lifecycle of infrastructure the community takes for granted such as bridges, roads, lighting, sewage, parks and more.

IPWEA President, Myles Lind, said the continued development of the asset management profession is vital to ensure taxpayers see strong returns from their infrastructure.

“Infrastructure such as water supplies, roads, sanitation, and public buildings are by far the largest investment and most complex assets that communities own,” Mr Lind said.

“IPWEA recognises that continuously seeking to help grow and maintain infrastructure asset management capability can deliver greater employment opportunities, improve sustainability, build resilient communities and deliver stronger returns on investment.”

IPWEA CEO, David Jenkins, believes associations have a critical role in addressing the challenges facing their industry.

“There have been numerous discussions around the skill shortage and the severe implications for the community, however, we needed a solution,” Mr Jenkins said

“That is why we developed the Asset Management Pathway, allowing us to introduce the profession to more people, and skill-up those already working in the area, to directly solve the challenges facing the industry.”

IPWEA’s whitepaper highlights how Australia has limited its return on investments by failing to adequately respond to the shortage of asset managers, and not investing in their professional development. 

Read the Best Practice Asset Management of Essential Public Infrastructure whitepaper here.

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