Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents Turchini laments gumption defcit in Australia's infrastructure battle
'Rather than delivering a piece of
infrastructure that could provide enormous
productivity gains, not to mention
environmental benefts, we got the Adelaide
to Darwin railway -- the outback equivalent
of the Sydney monorail,' Turchini later wrote
in an opinion piece.
The recent churn of politicians at Federal
and state levels doesn't give Turchini much
reason for optimism. During his time at
Baulderstone alone, he's seen three prime
ministers and four New South Wales
premiers. Turchini worries that rail unions
may stymie much-needed transport reforms
and projects for New South Wales opposition
leader, Barry O'Farrell, should he win the
election next year.
‘He’s going to fnd it diffcult to take on
the unions,' Turchini says.
Some of the country's biggest projects,
including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and
the Snowy Mountain scheme, seem to have
been born out of crisis.
With even the most obvious projects,
like a dual carriageway on the Pacifc
Highway, still unfnished decades after their
initial promises, Australia needs to break out
of that pattern with forward planning and a
beefed-up Infrastructure Australia, Turchini
says, adding that policy-makers don’t have to
look any further than neighbouring countries
in the Asia Pacifc region for inspiration.
'We don't have the champions we need
in government to drive this sort of agenda.
Why does it take a crisis to get things going
in this country?' Turchini asks.
'Decades ago, when I was travelling in
Hong Kong or Singapore, I was picked up
at the airport in rickshaws; now they have
infrastructure that will blow your mind.
'The lack of political will in this
country is the single biggest risk facing the
infrastructure sector today.'
Even so, governments haven't been
uniformly bad. Queensland Premier Anna
Bligh, and Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell
Newman, stand out for special mention,
according to Turchini, for moving fast to
accommodate booming populations in the
state's southeast, along with the work of the
Victorian State Government.
But what does it take to get that vision
into other states?
'We have almost every mineral known
to man in this country. We should have,
in my view, the best infrastructure in the
world,' says Turchini.
'It's a disgrace.'
Baulderstone's parent, Valemus,
announced Turchini's retirement last
September. Turchini says he'll spend more
time at his farm in the Hunter Valley, and
on some of his hobbies, which include
F1 motor racing. He'll be succeeded by
Ian Luck, who, as the company's general
manager -- southern region, oversees
operations in Victoria.
After Valemus chose to shelve the initial
public offering (IPO) early this year, Turchini
decided to leave in order to give the new
managing director time to get to know the
company should the foat effort be revived.
Turchini credits determination and
persistence for his success, saying that
they can outweigh formal education and
'People who succeed in this business
are those who never, never give up,' Turchini
'You're always going to have obstacles
and negativity. The ones who don't pay
attention to it are the ones who succeed.' n
succeed in this
those who never,
never give up...
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