Engineers want long-term infrastructure plan

28/01/2009 - 22:00

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CONSULTING engineers have joined the Western Australian business community in calling on the state government to implement a long-term strategic infrastructure plan.

Engineers want long-term infrastructure plan

CONSULTING engineers have joined the Western Australian business community in calling on the state government to implement a long-term strategic infrastructure plan.

The majority of the 10-member group of engineers at the forum felt that an infrastructure plan was vital for the future success and prosperity of the state.

GHD business group manager transportation Ashley Wright said while he understood the reasons behind the government's capital works audit, he believes the it should be doing more.

"I think it's a great opportunity, at the very least, for some of the strategic planning that needs to be done for the state in terms of ports, infrastructure, transport, major airport links," Mr Wright told the forum.

"Now is the time to do some planning and be ready when we come out of this cycle to know what we're going to do in the future."

Association of Consulting Engineers Australia national president and Parsons Brinkerhoff regional director, Paul Reed is of the same opinion.

"I think that [strategic planning] then creates expectations from the community about where the ports are going to be, where the airports are going to be in broad terms. And this solves a lot of this approvals process [issue] because you've already got a pre-existing expectation that things are going to move forward," Mr Reed said.

"The lack of planning is a fatal flaw we've slipped into over time, driven by short election cycles and the immediacy of the political process these days."

Wood and Grieve Engineers director Matt Davis thinks the government should go even further.

"What about a grand vision. Should we be having a decent size town in the north west somewhere that allows us to then seriously think about some downstream processing of the stuff we ship off shore?" Mr Davis said.

The previous state government received a 20-year plan for managing Western Australia's infrastructure in June last year.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief executive James Pearson has called on the state government to immediately release the State Infrastructure Strategy, which has been under development for the the past three years.

A spokesperson for the state government said it would be making a number of decisions on infrastructure projects this month with more detail to follow in the May state budget.

In terms of the projects that may involve joint Commonwealth funding, that process is going on.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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