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SIQG (see outline) has been released by the Department of State Development (DSD).
This present paper [which has only been drafted to a very rough Working Paper standard] will suggest that SIQG will not be able to achieve its desirable goals of providing certainty about infrastructure, as a basis for others' planning.
In some respects SIQG can be likened to a university thesis. It contains a lot of ideas about the state of the world (many of which appear quite good), yet no one should seriously expect any practical results to come from the exercise. The proof of its 'academic' status is that SIQG has not started by identifying the PRACTICAL reasons why infrastructure planning is now difficult - and thus why SIQG was necessary.
In another respect SIQG publicly states the rationale for activist provision of infrastructure to try force the pace of economic change (including changing to a Smart State) which appears likely to get Queensland into the same sort of financial trouble as Victoria experienced in the 1980s under the Cain Government, because poorly executed 'activism' can not lead to economically or financially productive outcomes.
Significant Innovations through SIQG
SIQG has tried to suggest two significant innovations. Firstly it reflects an 'active' approach to the provision of infrastructure (p16), and attempts to deal in an integrated way with all types of infrastructure in all regions. Government's desire to provide leadership is a key underpinning of the methods used for preparing SIQG. Secondly it gives a new emphasis to 'soft' infrastructure, especially technology / innovation infrastructure - an emphasis which is compatible with government's 'Smart State' aspirations.
Also of significance is the (correct) view that infrastructure can (at times) have a catalytic role in regional development - when it generates benefits beyond those which may be predicted from currently identifiable demands (p17). Also consistent with this is (a) a stated desire to invest in recognition of all potential long term benefits, not with respect only to direct commercial returns and (b) recognition of the special difficulties of sparsely settled regions (p18) and thus support for special programs designed to reduce those difficulties.
Overview of Comments
Despite its ambitious goals, practical concerns about SIQG are that: :
What might be better?
For conventional 'hard' infrastructure, achieving the apparently desirable objectives identified for the State Infrastructure Plan probably requires management of Queensland's infrastructure system so that the enterprises involved can realistically plan - rather than a governmental process to pre-empt the results of such planning.
This might include attention to:
For 'smart' / 'soft' infrastructure, which Strategic Directions emphasizes, a quite different procedure and set of skills seems likely to be required.
The overall goal in either case would be to enable the organizations (public and private) which need to plan various elements of infrastructure to do so more effectively - without government having to direct the outcomes.
9 October, 2000
|Viable Regional Population Growth in Queensland||
Viable Regional Population Growth in Queensland - email sent 28/1/14
RE: Regional infrastructure plan should be based on updated population projections, Queensland Economy Watch, 28/1/14
Your article questioned whether state government plans to use infrastructure investment to achieve the Queensland Plan aspiration of having half Queensland’s population outside SE Queensland in thirty years’ time – because population projections don’t suggest that this goal can be achieved.
I should like to suggest for your consideration that ‘projections’ based on past trends need not be the limit of what is achievable. It would indeed be possible (I suspect) to create strong magnets for population growth in regional Queensland – and thus provide a population in regional centres which could use the proposed infrastructure.
However providing infrastructure cannot in itself be the necessary ‘magnet’. There have to be large numbers of high-productivity job opportunities to drive the regional population growth. How this might be achieved was suggested in Reinventing the Regions (2010).
I would be interested in your response to my speculations.