Victoria

Victoria's infrastructure needs improvement: Engineers Australia

THE ENGINEERS Australia 2010 Victorian Infrastructure Report Card was released on Wednesday, with the report indicating progress in some areas of Victoria's infrastructure over the past 5 years, but overall finds that the majority of infrastructure has not improved, or has gone backwards.

The 2010 report card reviewed infrastructure categories across energy, telecommunications, transport and water and assigned ratings within the scales of A – F (with A meaning very good and F inadequate).

Of the categories reviewed in the 2010 report, two get variations of a 'B' rating (good), 11 get variations of the 'C' rating (needing major changes), and 1 gets a 'D' (needing critical changes), said the report by Engineers Australia, which has 90,000 members and is a forum for the advancement of engineering.

'B' ratings were given to Airports (B) and Wastewater (B minus). The 'C' ratings cover Roads Overall (C plus), National Roads (C plus), State Roads (C plus) and Local Roads (C minus); Ports (C plus); Irrigation (C minus); Stormwater (C minus); Potable Water (C); Gas (C); Electricity (C minus) and Telecommunications (C). Rail was rated as a 'D'.

The report shows that marginal improvements have been made in the areas of National and State Roads, Ports and Irrigation. The ratings for Local Roads, Stormwater and Gas have remained the same, and Rail, Potable Water, Wastewater and Electricity have worsened. The categories of Victoria's Airports and Telecommunications have been rated for the first time.

Engineers Australia's infrastructure report card committee spokesperson, Professor John Wilson, said that while the report card takes account of large infrastructure projects that have been initiated in Victoria over the last five years, many critical aspects of Victoria's infrastructure remain barely adequate for current needs, let alone future needs.

"Our review of Victoria's infrastructure concludes that funding commitments are largely inadequate to support the substantial costs of renewal and replacement given ongoing population growth and the future challenges of climate change," Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson also said that there "is inadequate investment of time in the planning, consultation and preparation for delivery to ensure projects are-ready-to go," and that "current planning and political processes create a short term focus in an area where a very long term focus is required."

The report card recommendations include the establishment of a new body to advise the Victorian Government on strategic infrastructure planning.

More information available from Engineers Australia <http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/>.

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