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Taking a whole of life view on asset management

Friday 2 August 2019

Councils collect just 3% of the nation’s total taxation revenue - but are responsible for 33 percent of Australia’s public assets. In Queensland alone, local governments manage over $100 billion worth of assets on behalf of the communities they serve. This makes the contrast even more stark.

 In the 2016-17 year Queensland taxpayers raised $12 billion in tax revenue for Queensland councils – that’s closer to 2.5% of the state’s total taxation revenue. However, these assets don’t manage themselves and, revenue problems aside, asset management is recognised as a key function of council governance. A function critical not only to the delivery of services to Queensland communities, but to their expectations; and to the long term financial sustainability of every council.

While the biggest challenge councils face in achieving financial sustainability is the sheer lack of revenue-raising levers at their disposal, working to improve the financial performance of public assets is a challenge that can be accepted, and risen to, right now.

A ‘whole of life’ view of asset sustainability combined with a leadership and governance focus will provide improved strategic and efficiency outcomes for local government far into the future.

LGAQ President Mark Jamieson says, “Good asset management is about combining hard skills - technical assessment, data capture and technical plans - with the ‘soft skills’ of promotion, communication, consultation and understanding community needs.

And, in response to this challenge, the LGAQ and Peak Services have developed an Asset Management Decision Making Framework. This will reinforce the need for making decisions on asset management that are based on well-governed processes and a sustainable approach.”

The Asset Management Decision Making Framework is a suite of documents developed in consultation with members to aid local governments when navigating decisions around asset management. The tools were created in partnership with a working party comprising Townsville City Council, Bundaberg Regional Council, Burdekin Shire Council, Gympie Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council and Western Downs Regional Council.

Applying best practice in governance and leadership and offering a step by step process to making informed decisions around managing council assets, the Framework tools can be used to augment, customise or amend an existing organisation-wide asset management methodology.

The Asset Management Decision Making Framework is an important step forward in the process of enabling councils to be self-sufficient in maintaining a balance between council operations, new assets and existing assets – a fundamental requirement for financial sustainability. Working with a ‘whole of life’ view of asset sustainability, Peak offers complementary asset management services designed to provide improved strategic and efficiency outcomes for Queensland councils.

 “Longreach Regional Council has engaged Peak Services for a number of services from developing asset management plans, assistance with writing grants, assistance with the implementation of asset management software. I have found them to be professional, knowledgeable and approachable. I highly recommend them and would use their services again.” Leisa Wilson, Business Systems and Improvement Project Manager, Longreach Regional Council

Want to know more about our asset management tools?  We Are peak: Managing your Infrastructure.   

Case Study

Salty resilience in Bowen

The Bowen water treatment plant solar and resilience upgrade was a $1.1M project funded through Works 4 Qld. The installation of 400kW of solar power at the Bowen water treatment plant will provide up to $200K of savings per year and will also make the plant more resilient to disasters when the power goes out.

The Round Mountain water reservoir project combines solar and battery power to provide an Australian-first solution to disinfection of an off-grid water reservoir. Already saving $1.9M in capital costs, the operational cost savings will be more than $50K per year. The award-winning project is a new approach to providing off-grid water treatment options combining renewable energy with the use of salt instead of liquid or gas to disinfect the water – a solution that is more suited for remote locations.

Natural disasters are an unfortunate, but realistic fact of life for Queensland communities and their councils. While all disaster events impact infrastructure assets and other council owned assets to varying degrees, Queensland is disproportionately affected by the consequences of these disasters, with the total economic costs of natural disasters across the state projected to be $18.3 billion per annum by 2050 (State of Queensland, Queensland Reconstruction Authority). For Queensland to continue to build on its capability to recover from and adapt to natural disasters the Queensland Disaster Resilience and Mitigation Framework has been developed by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.  

A key aim of the Queensland Disaster Resilience and Mitigation Framework is supporting decision-makers in the assessment and prioritisation of infrastructure-based resilience and mitigation investments, and non-infrastructure or community resilience. It provides both useability and scalability to support the development and prioritisation of detailed assessment guidelines across a wide range of strategic investment options in disaster risk reduction, mitigation and adaptation. Importantly for Queensland councils, the Queensland Disaster Resilience and Mitigation Framework provides guidance to Queensland Government agencies in the development of strategic and detailed funding guidelines for allocation of funding for disaster resilience.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


 

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