Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 2 Contents 38 futurebuilding Volume 3 Number 2
develop and commercialise new technologies and
get them out into the marketplace.
Infrastructure development is an equally high
priority, and the Government of Canada is now
developing a National Infrastructure Plan.
The plan will address the requirements at
the federal level as well as at the provincial and
local levels, and the government has initiated a
comprehensive consultative process, engaging public
and private sector leaders right across the country.
It's the rst time this comprehensive approach
has been taken, and it will pay dividends because
it's building a national, coordinated infrastructure
Also, the government is pursuing international
trade arrangements with selected countries to
strengthen economic and commercial ties with
key partners, which in turn will enable Canadian
companies to become more active and successful
globally. Concluding a fair trade agreement with the
European Union is one of the highest priorities.
Finally, there's a focus on talent development.
Canada, like many countries, is not able to sustain
its population levels through the normal process, so
we are very actively looking to attract talent from
around the world -- the government has revised its
immigration policies and programs to make it easier
to attract talent.
MB: Canada has a similar federation to ours -- are
you seeing a cooperative federalism?
MR: There's a healthy dynamic between our
Federal Government and the provinces and territories
that make up the country. Each of these jurisdictions
is confronting exactly the same set of issues, and this
has fostered greater collaborative efforts to address
them and has prompted a constructive dialogue with
the Federal Government.
That mechanism works well. The challenge is to
ensure that you have alignment in processes from
province to province, and that's an effort that's taking
If you think about the approach taken to PPPs,
Ontario and British Columbia are the most active
provinces in that domain, and while their respective
procurement models are somewhat different, they
are both recognised as rst-rate.
More generally, the various provincial
procurement agencies are committed to sharing
best practices and lessons learned, to improving
the efficiency of processes, and to continually
adapting the Canadian model to keep it at the
leading edge. This is a defining feature of the
Canadian approach to PPPs.
MB: James, we've got a lot of Australian
companies going to Canada to invest in
infrastructure projects and get involved in PPPs.
Could we look right now to Britain and learn from
experience that was similarly productive, or are
we looking at a Britain that's going through a real
change in its policy appraisals?
James Stewart: The United Kingdom is in a
double-dip recession, so the British Government
is desperate to create growth. It's worth noting
that it is a federal system, rather than a state and
It has tried many things over the last 18 months.
The interesting thing is that it keeps returning --
sometimes reluctantly in my view -- to infrastructure
as the fuel for economic growth.
The real challenge for the British Government
at the moment is to recognise that the world has
changed, and that traditional methods of delivering
infrastructure are no longer necessarily applicable.
One of the advantages the United Kingdom has
is that something like 65 per cent of infrastructure
is delivered through the private sector as the result
of the privatisation program, and is paid for by
The advantage is that all of that 65 per cent of
infrastructure is off the government's balance sheet,
because it's delivered by regulated industry and paid
for by the consumer.
The government is recognising that the existing
regulatory structures are not necessarily t for purpose
The real challenge for the
British Government at the
moment is to recognise that
the world has changed and
that traditional methods of
delivering infrastructure are no
longer necessarily applicable
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