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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
62 FORUM 2014 report showed we need better long- term planning. O’Connell discussed the changes to Infrastructure Australia that will see it focusing on developing a 15-year infrastructure plan that sets out priorities. Session Chair Andrew Ethell asked the panel to focus on the perennial question of data capture and use, and how improved processes around the use of data could lead to improved decision- making by all levels of government. Lambert said we spend about $18 billion per year on roads; yet, we have no data on heavy-vehicle use. We could capture the information with existing technology from heavy vehicles and elsewhere. He said that if we can get data on what roads are like now, we would be able to see the deficit; this would then enable us to see whether roads are suitable for heavy vehicles, and would help us to quantify the underfunding of maintenance. Birrell said that, given the reluctance of data holders to publish it, incentives may have to be offered for publication. He added that some ministers and agencies do not want the data out there because it might expose their failings; however, Birrell said that fundamentally, by publishing best practice, you will isolate bad practice. O’Connell said that measurement is the key – what gets measured gets delivered and done. It becomes relevant data when it gets exchanged. The other main issue of discussion was cost-benefit analyses. Lambert said that there was poor or no cost-benefit analysis before the O’Farrell Government, and that sometimes even when it was done, the results were ignored, regardless of whether there were good cost-benefit reasons for going ahead. On the issue of cost-benefit analyses, Roberts added that a cost- benefit analysis should be undertaken on Sydney’s second airport. Shelly Roberts Lyn O’Connell Andrew Ethell