Fanning the flames of social licence risk

Taming the flames that present a social licence risk to infrastructure

In Australia and other nations, governments and industry partners are investing heavily in vital infrastructure. Such investment is, in part, to restore confidence and growth into economies battered by COVID-19. Restoring the economy and reducing debt also demands that every dollar is spent wisely. But many infrastructure proponents are fanning rather than taming the flames of stakeholder opposition. Through their own actions to build and...

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Considering climate costs

Let’s be frank about climate costs

Within the cut and thrust of the federal election campaign, there’s been a lot of debate about the costs of tackling climate change. Unfortunately, the focus on costs diverts people’s attention from the real issues and leaves them feeling anxious and uncertain – perhaps by design. A little clear thinking offers an approach that’s more constructive. Governments should reveal their investment logic Government investment in...

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Engineer tackling climate change

Engineering a change in climate

Australians have much to lose from inaction on climate change. But there’s also much to gain by acting. A shortage of practical solutions that are scalable, affordable and easy to embrace is an impediment. This is where engineers can play a transformative role if the challenge is approached in a clever, collaborative and contemporary way. Here is a brief whitepaper that explains why and how...

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Public value account for infrastructure

Bringing infrastructure investment to account

Is infrastructure spending creating sustainable public value? How can we tell? Perhaps public value accounts are a timely and valuable lever to enhance the calibre of public debate, project investment decisions and support for better public sector practices. “Do we need ribbon-cutting infrastructure for jobs and growth?” It’s the question the Grattan Institute’s Hugh Batrouney asked recently [1], arguing that “we shouldn’t be fooled into...

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Smart people, smart cities

Enabling smart cities with smart citizens

Australia is facing into some big challenges – and opportunities – in modernising its public infrastructure and education systems. Features of ‘smart cities’ sit in the solution set to both issues. Yet the realisation of sustainable and smart cities has been painfully slow. What can be done to accelerate change? A good friend and colleague, David Singleton, has asked me “How can smart cities best...

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Finkel energy review

Implementing Finkel’s energy switch

On 9th June, the Australian Government released the ‘Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market’, known as the Finkel Review. It was an urgent, substantial and ultimately well-received contribution to sustaining Australia’s prosperity. The question is: has the Review addressed the root cause of our energy crisis, and if its recommendations are implemented will they be sufficient? Last week, engineer Dr...

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Engineering practical energy

Engineering a politically-practical energy plan

Practical engineering solutions may be the key to transcending the political gridlock that confounds the energy-climate crisis. Several days ago, Matthew Warren, chief executive of the Australian Energy Council, warned “We now risk rolling into a second decade of energy policy uncertainty. This could be catastrophic for the cost and reliability of energy in Australia… yet there is no respite in sight” [1]. It’s a...

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Public infrastructure investment choices

Public infrastructure: who’s creating great investment options?

The focus on making better infrastructure investment choices begs the question: who’s offering great investment options? While customers and markets have a role to play in achieving better infrastructure performance, they’re not the whole solution. Governments must also be more specific about public infrastructure outcomes they want to buy. It’s time the infrastructure community collaborated to perform better in generating sustainable public value. Who’s providing...

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Engineers challenged by fourth industrial revolution

Fourth industrial revolution challenges engineering executives

An upcoming executive conference promises to shed powerful insights into current, under-played challenges of the fourth industrial revolution for engineering executives and company directors. What follows is a small component of the under-pinning research and analysis that informs the conference dialogue. In the early 1990s I was a researcher, exploring the engineering and institutional processes required to cultivate sustainable cities. One aspect of my research...

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Intentional design unlocks innovation

Intentional design unlocks valuable innovation for engineers

Engineers are enjoying a renewed policy focus on STEM skills, innovation and their role in meeting societal needs. But they’re also butting up against real, current impediments to progress – many of their own making. In the search for practical, cost-effective and bankable solutions, intentional design is offering a lucrative, achievable approach. The fundamental drivers for infrastructure development (like population growth) underpin a positive investment outlook....

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