Strategic Infrastructure for Queensland's Growth (SIQG)
Department of State Development - 2000  

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- A Brief Outline -

Foreword - Governments have long involvement in infrastructure. Traditionally planners have dealt with individual elements separately. And the focus has been on 'hard' infrastructure. But now 'soft' infrastructure for research and innovation is as important as 'hard' infrastructure. Also more infrastructure is provided in partnership with the private sector. The State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) offers a unique approach which considers all classes of infrastructure - and the need for integration. SIQG is the beginning of a process which starts by considering future economic development opportunities, and considers what is needed to make them happen. It the takes a 'big picture' view of issues related to infrastructure. Input is solicited.

Infrastructure - Key to Future Success: Infrastructure is cornerstone of economy. Government's approach to infrastructure encourages: business expansion; effective business inputs; assisting firms establish, mature, innovate internationalise; leading-edge business practices; major investment; and regional development. Paper focuses on infrastructure linked to economy. Key directions are: strategic and coordinated approach to infrastructure; systematic investment in 'hard' and 'soft' areas; competitive telecommunications; integrated transport; water to support opportunities; competitive energy supplies; and preservation of strategic land. The strategic directions paper will be followed by: resolution of state issues (through a CEO's Committee which reports to a Cabinet Committee) and development of regional infrastructure strategies. SIPs will be prepared annually.

Part A Strategic Infrastructure for Queensland's Growth

Introduction: Infrastructure has been the key to Queensland's economic development. More than ever we are now exposed to international competition - requiring continued environment for existing industries to grow, value-adding to natural resources and creation of new industries. SIP will provide the infrastructure context to business decisions, and underpin the next stage of Queensland's evolution to a Smart State. Queensland Governments have long appreciated the value of coordinated approach to infrastructure planning - a tradition which SIP will continue. The plan will be an iterative process, and will not directly deal with social infrastructure. The Plan is being developed in the context of many other policies and strategies (which are listed on p5). Sustainable development is a foundation of the SIP - requiring that environmental considerations be integrated into decision making processes. Natural disasters (which infrastructure can guard against) is a key sustainability issue for Queensland. Requirements of Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment will be reflected in SIP.

Infrastructure and Development: Concept of soft / hard and economic / social infrastructure distinctions suggested in a 1999 paper has been expanded to include innovation and technology infrastructure. [a diagram on p10 illustrates relationship between various infrastructure classes]. Infrastructure in Queensland is provided by (a) state government through budget where: spending is at a peak; changes such as National Competition Policy and deregulation have changed processes; and the task is more difficult because of: high costs of servicing sparse regions; heavy demands of SE corner; and remoteness from markets; small state population; special requirements of major projects (b) GOCs (c) private utilities (d) local governments - whose overall role is greater in Queensland than elsewhere (e) other companies. Queensland's growth has been amongst fastest in Australia. This has involved strong domestic consumption, business and public investment, a diversified industrial structure and a strong small business sector. Forecasters expect strong growth to continue. Factors in the future economy will include: e-commerce; greater need for innovation; dealing with falling commodity prices; need for international markets by firms in all sectors; greater consumer selectiveness; and rapid services growth. Results have not been uniform across the state - the result of differences in natural resources; labour availability; skills and infrastructure. Recent growth of disparities reflect: poor commodity prices; effect of globalization; variations in regional population growth; and effect of technological changes. The structure of a regions as determined by natural factors can be influenced by: technological change; improved human capital; major infrastructure investment; new discoveries; and policy interventions. Infrastructure impacts on an economy in various ways. It provides inputs which affect business efficiency. It can have a catalytic effect on the economy - which justifies an 'active' approach to infrastructure by government. Strategic investments in telecommunications infrastructure have been constructive in several countries - and in other areas in Queensland (eg Fairbairn Dam) where investment has enabled other development opportunities. This requires careful assessment of feasibility of related developments. Water, electricity, gas, rail and road infrastructure was 'strategic' 10-20 years ago - where communication, research and transport is now most critical. Infrastructure is needed in all regions to allow complex commercial interactions. Beyond basic services government's main traditional contribution has involved development of large infrastructure networks or large items focussed on new mining, processing or agricultural opportunities. Such services (especially water) have often been heavily subsidised. Whether this can have a catalytic effect on a region depends on whether the region can utilise that infrastructure to capture opportunities. It is harder to be sure of this in sparsely settled region. Some such investments (eg Fairbairn Dam) have been very successful - noting the growth of Emerald. But commitments under the Council of Australian Governments now require changes in such practices. Rules requiring demonstrated commercial viability of infrastructure will disadvantage rural areas - so decision making should focus on broader benefits that may be generated. In even more remote areas, infrastructure does not yet support economic development. Various programs are being undertaken to address these concerns (see p23). Infrastructure needs to be developed to take account of natural hazards. Government still has a strong role to play in providing infrastructure. Often infrastructure will be determined by market forces - but sometimes more is required. Sometimes government can exert influence by providing information to the marketplace. Critical decisions about infrastructure include how it should be funded; and its timing. Particular arguments support governments direct involvement in development of innovation and technology infrastructure - because the market tend to under-provide this. Well targeted interventions can facilitate emergence of knowledge-based industries. Private participation has increased in recent years. Given limits to public funds it is desirable to find better ways to provide and deliver public sector works. Private initiative can ofter find better value-for-money ways of infrastructure delivery. Public Private Partnerships is a procurement process that actively encourages private sector involvement. This is not privatisation. Many governments elsewhere have made use of this approach. DSD's Private Sector Infrastructure Taskforce is leading a program to encourage greater private sector involvement.

Methodology: Parameters for the SIP include: an economic orientation; a long term focus; and an iterative process. Principles include: orientation to sustainable economic opportunities; orientation to economic (not just financial) gains; merits need to be judged in performance terms; considering all options; individual proposals need to be assessed against overall plan, and government's financial position; and complementarity to government's planning process. The process for defining the paper was described (pp28-29).

Beyond the Strategic Directions Paper The three part SIP process will be repeated over a four year cycle. Procedures are suggested for (a) resolution of state wide issues (b) development of regional infrastructure strategies (c) evaluation and prioritisation of regional initiatives (c) separate arrangements for infrastructure for major projects (d) relationship with parallel system-wide planning processes of other Queensland Government agencies (e) requirement for all stakeholders to be committed for SIP to succeed.

Part B - State Infrastructure Analysis

Introduction to the State Analysis: Analysis deals separately with water (Ch 5); Transport (Ch 7); Strategic Land (Ch 8); Telecommunications (Ch 9); innovation and technology infrastructure (Ch 10); and energy (Ch 11).

Part C - Regional Infrastructure Analysis

Introduction to the Regional Analysis: Queensland is a large diverse state. Categorisation of regions used by Department of State Development was adopted to allow consistency with other DSD analyses, and allow the Department to implement the Plan. Each regional analysis includes (a) regional overview; (b) region's comparative advantages and industrial structure (based on statistical analyses, study of existing profiles, and consultation); (c) major future opportunities (based on market conditions affecting existing industries, and application of general state vision to each region); (d) major infrastructure challenges facing the region (e) relationship between infrastructure environment in region and its strategic opportunities. Finally this paper outlines possible infrastructure responses for each region (from planning documents, intentions of infrastructure providers and stakeholder suggestions). Methods used for preparing the regional analyses were outlined (p145-146).

Part D - Possible Regional Infrastructure Responses: lists possible projects by regions