What infrastructure do we value?

Posted February 10, 2014 kmcgovern

There has been much discussion about how to fund infrastructure development. At the same time, approvals to mine for coal seam gas may lead to a degradation of our water sources.

Over the last twenty years we have learnt to cost the services provided by government. We have left the value of what government does to be determined by the political process.

If funding infrastructure is the only problem governments face, then the solution is as readily available today as it has been over the last century.

But funding the capital construction alone is no longer the main challenge facing governments. In Australia infrastructure is spread among all three levels of government: federal, state and local. While the federal government oversees the priorities for infrastructure development, the state and local governments have the responsibility to maintain and operate the infrastructure.

Local governments are now, more than ever, able to cost the services they provide to residents and visitors. And local governments know what they value. But is it the same as what the federal government thinks can be funded?

While we can cost services, how can we determine exactly what we value?

EAROPH Australia, at the “Practical Skills in Sustainability” Forum will address this, and other questions, in Canberra on 15th March, 2014.