Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 2 Contents 24 futurebuilding Volume 3 Number 2
nancial failure of some projects, they delivered the
infrastructure, even though the private sector lost out.
Patronage forecasting is the nub of the issue,
and once again we welcome the initiatives of the
various governments in terms of trying to bring
that debate out more. The numbers have been
poor in the past, and, looking forward, more
accurate forecasting is possible.
We say that because it's the learned experience,
and we say that because empirically, if you have
a look at the numbers for a number of the roads,
you can see that the forecasting error in the short
term has been significant, but that the gap has
closed materially over time, particularly over the
The longer-term forecasting has been okay, but it's
not going to be perfect, and not all the projects will
respond the same way. But hopefully these numbers
give the con dence that the long-term forecasts are
getting more accurate.
The key point is that deals are still getting done in
that space. There are more than $15 billion worth of
transactions happening. Small deals are happening
in Australia, like the hospital car park elements,
but overseas, larger deals are similarly getting done
across a range of sectors.
A quote from former Treasury Secretary, Dr Ken
Henry, in my view, is a useful illustration of where
we're at as an industry.
Henry said: 'Australia does not have the
infrastructure -- that's obvious -- for another 14 million
people... We don't even have the mechanisms for
thinking about what sorts of infrastructure we're
going to need.'
While it's clear that we don't have suf cient
infrastructure now or going forward, it was interesting
to me that Ken went further and stated that we don't
have the mechanisms for thinking about those
solutions going forward. The reality is that we do
have those mechanisms, and there has been a lot
of work done by governments on that in terms of
Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure NSW, Projects
Queensland and other initiatives in other states.
But clearly we need to do a better job of getting
out there and selling that message and engaging
Looking at the innovation in the United Kingdom,
the momentum and the political will that's been built
up in Canada, and the deals we're seeing in other
markets, there is a real experience that these things
can happen, and I'm hopeful that we can contribute
to unlocking that backlog going forward.
Head of Infrastructure, Utilities and
Renewables, Australia and New
Zealand, Macquarie Capital Limited
Jim joined Macquarie Group Limited in
1994, and has over 18 years' experience across
a range of sectors in Australia, New Zealand,
Asia, North America and Europe.
In the infrastructure and PPP sector, Jim has
led over $100 billion worth of transactions,
including transport infrastructure, energy and
utilities, and social infrastructure assets.
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