Regional Infrastructure Projects Update - August 2013

By: Regional Infrastructure Projects Coordinator, Scott Britton...

Asset Management

The Asset Management Group teleconference held on 17 July 2013 was the first opportunity I've had to talk with everyone collectively following the one-on-one discussions we've had over the past couple of months. The next stage is to produce a first cut of the 'helicopter view' based on what information we have available in existing Asset Management Plans.  At our next meeting (scheduled for 4 September) we'll be reviewing this to identify improvement projects which will get us closer to identifying our funding gap.  Last month I mentioned that we've started discussions with IPWEA about holding a NAMS.PLUS2 training course within the region.  From the discussions iit seems likely we will have more than the 20 attendees needed to make this viable.  I will firm up numbers a bit more over the next couple of weeks with a view to holding a course in October/November.

Regional Recycling

The Regional Recycling Group met in Cairns on 18 July 2013.  Some in depth discussions were held around opportunities in the areas of tyres, scrap metal and green waste.  Steve Cosatto provided an overview of the outcomes which have been achieved from regional procurement to date – greatly aiding the discussion and brainstorming of potential solutions. It was pretty apparent from these discussions the highest priority of these three is scrap metal and getting a contractor to provide a baling service when they say they will. From conversations I've had following this meeting, it seems this issue is one being experienced across the state. On that basis, it's worth congratulating Sheils and Kristina at Cook Shire Council for their determination and perseverance in achieving an outcome for their Council – well done guys!  We'll also look at how we can better work with green waste processing companies and come up with ways to ensure we're not competing against each other.

Regional Road Group

Last month I reported the estimated program expenditure for the 2012/13 year would be somewhere close to 130%. The result is in!  As it turns out, that figure wasn't far off the mark.  Our final result, as notified by the Roads Alliance, is 127%. Further to this, we have been able to assist other RRGs who were not in a position to utilise their funding in the 2012/13 by accelerating our own projects. The Roads Alliance has acknowledged the assistance we provided to other groups has helped to bring the overall state-wide TIDS program expenditure to 111%. Despite the program being over expended at a state-wide level, some RRGs failed to fully utilise their own allocations.  This is a little hard to comprehend when we have been told for quite some time that 'use it or lose it' is the new world order.

During the month the Roads Alliance Board met to finalise the outcomes of the 'One Bucket' process which has taken place over the past couple of months.  This ultimately means a number of existing TIDS funding categories will be rolled into one as of the 2014/15 program year. In the short-term however, this also means a few smaller changes. As of 31 July, Regional Road Groups are to be known as Regional Roads and Transport Groups (RRTGs), a name the Roads Alliance believes better reflects the broader role which has come about with the 'One Bucket' changes.

The RRG Technical Committee meeting on 8 July 2013 included a presentation from Jon Roberts of the ARRB Group. Jon gave a presentation of a program known as STEP, or Structural Testing Evaluations for Pavements.  While we will look into this further, there are alternatives to explore as Darlene mentioned in her overview of the conference she attended on the Gold Coast.