Newman’s cuts will pay off

This article was originally published in The Australian by SMART Infrastructure Senior Research Fellow Joe Branigan. See the original here

IF the promises made in the 2014-15 Queensland budget are realised, Tim Nicholls can be proud of the turnaround in the sunshine state’s financial position compared with the big borrowing and spending Beattie-Bligh era. Continue reading

Beggar bowl politics blocks Federation’s potential

This article was originally published in The Conversation by Garry Bowditch.

Calls to lift the GST rate to placate the states financial challenges will serve to only exacerbate an already severe vertical fiscal imbalance and prolong a deeply unsatisfactory chapter in Australia’s Federation.

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The budget will be big on infrastructure, but we need more than just roads

By Garry Bowditch.

The Abbott government is preparing to give Sydney’s WestConnex road project a A$2 billion boost in this week’s federal budget, part of a broader $10 billion infrastructure package aimed at boosting productivity and private sector investment.

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High performance railway organisations

By Andrew McCusker, Director of Rail Logistics, and Dr Mark Ho.

Effective rail systems have major societal and economic impacts on Australia’s competitiveness, liveability and infrastructure resilience. There is a pressing need to enhance the rail transport system to become a viable and sustainable transport option in both cities and regional areas.

As railways are predominantly technical systems of delivery for passenger and freight services an attribute of a successful railway company is the ability to develop effective processes and clear communication to achieve high performance for customers. This is where engineers can differentiate themselves to deliver improved culture and organisational excellence. Continue reading

How to make Australian cities the next resources bonanza

By Garry Bowditch, CEO, SMART Infrastructure.

Australia must prepare now for a world in the Asian century that is nothing like what we have experienced in the past.

The engine of growth for the world economy will be driven by consequences of migration from agricultural to urban living across the Asia Pacific. Hyper dense cities exceeding 10 million people will be the norm for countries throughout Asia. The sheer intensity of these metropolises will see by 2050 over 75% of humanity living in cities but occupying only a fraction, about 4 per cent in fact, of the earth’s surface.

There is an urgency to ensure our major cities grow and prosper for everyone’s benefit. If we succeed, we will underwrite the next economic super cycle reflecting a surge in productivity and exports of high value Australian goods and services throughout Asia and the Pacific. Continue reading

Big issues for energy infrastructure

By Les Hosking, Honorary Professorial Fellow

Reliable, secure and low cost energy has been one of the cornerstones of Australia’s economic success. In an electricity and gas context, reliability means a low interruption risk, security means continuity of availability relative to demand and sustainability means meeting present needs without compromising future generations to meet their needs.

A significant, diverse supply of approximately 800 years of brown coal and 300 years of black coal, large natural and coal seam gas resources plus wind, hydro, solar and geothermal have so far contributed to Australia having very low cost commercial, industrial and residential electricity and gas prices. Continue reading