Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents While Sydney's physical and urban
layout make transport infrastructure
harder to roll out, governments across
Australia deserve criticism, King says, for
failing to introduce adequate integrated
mass rail and metro services that compare
well with Asian centres.
'The biggest disappointment for me is
the inability of successive governments
to implement a proper train network;
particularly New South Wales.
'There is no solid mass transit system
that caters to the mood of the general
public like in Hong Kong. There's nothing
rocket science about it -- it just takes
money and commitment.'
Still, governments will struggle to
supply the country's needed infrastructure
themselves. Some projects have received
criticism in recent years, and public-
private partnerships are still the most cost-
effective way to deliver much-needed
infrastructure, King says.
'The tide comes and goes. It's a bit
like the weather and political leadership.
At the end of the day, infrastructure is
needed, and government doesn't have all
the capabilities to implement it all.
'Over the longer term, governments
have to come to a sensible mix. There has
got to be a redressing of the balance in the
risk/reward model that will happen over
time,' King says.
That rebalancing, though, will arrive
on someone else's watch. King will retire
in the new year and stay on as a consultant
King's career got its start at the
company's bauxite mining joint venture in
the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory, in
1969, where he met and befriended Geoff
Dixon, Qantas' former chief executive
By 1977, King was appointed managing
director of Leighton Contractors. After
taking over as Leighton's CEO ten years
later, King pulled the company out of the
United States and expanded through the
Middle East and Asia.
King counts the company's former
managing director, Stewart Wallis, and
former chairman, Tim Besley, as mentors.
King refers to his long-time friend, and
former deputy chief executive and
CFO, Dieter Adamsas, as his 'brother in
The pair still regularly meet.
'I went hunting with him last week
and I didn't shoot him,' King jokes.
King says his ambition after he steps
down is to ski one million vertical feet
with his heli-skiing tour company in the
Canadian Rockies. Other than his sporting
goals, though, King won't say where he's
headed. Whichever course he takes, he
says, he won't be looking back.
'Be optimistic. Look forward,' King
says, recounting the best advice he's ever
'You can't change the past -- continue
your journey.' n
The end of King's reign
Be optimistic. Look forward...
You can't change the past -- continue
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