Inspire : Public Works Nov Dec 2012
27 [The recovery] has shown the ability of the sector to pull together in di cult times and deliver the ood restoration program while performing their normal works and services for the community. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST MILESTONES AND ACHIEVEMENTS? Since January 2011, there has been about $4 billion worth of completed restoration works, so we're close to the halfway point. That includes work by Queensland Transport and Main Roads as well as local government. Some of the larger local government programs have been completed. For example, Ipswich was one of the hardest hit areas and its road and drainage restoration program is now fnished. The reconstruction of the city's assets has been a good news story. HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE THE RECOVERY WORK IS COMPLETE? It will be largely dependent on whether we get another signifcant rainfall event over the coming storm season, which is typically November to March. A lot of the regional centres were still working on damage from the 2010/11 event when they were impacted again in March 2012. If we don’t have another signifcant event, we probably have around 12-18 months of works left before the bulk of the works across the state are done. There are a small number of Councils that have only recently begun the physical reconstr uction works. There have been some constraints due to the shortage of engineering and technical expertise. The resources boom in Queensland has drawn a lot of experienced engineering staff and constr uction staff to the mining sector. Furthermore, the second event in March 2012 made it diffcult for councils to maintain momentum on the food restoration task. WHAT DIFFICULTIES HAS THE SECTOR FACED ON A REGULAR BASIS? The unavailability of quality contractors has been an issue. There is a signifcant amount of works happening across the state at the same time. So there is a considerable demand for contractors, engineers and project managers. That has put price pressure on some of the works and the costs have escalated over the past 18 months. There have also been challenges in sourcing materials such as gravel and quarry products. WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN TO ENSURE THE FINISHING STAGES RUN SMOOTHLY? One of the issues of concern in Queensland is the potential dissolving of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QldRA). QldR A was set up by an Act of Parliament following the 2011 foods to administer and manage the funding through the NDRRA program. It's been mooted by new State Government that, by February 2013, the authority will cease to exist. This would mean that a lot of expertise would be lost. We will be advocating for the Authority to sur vive or, at least, for an alternative approving authority that is adequately resourced with suffciently experienced people. WHAT HAS THE RECOVERY PROGRAM REVEALED ABOUT THE QUEENSLAND PUBLIC WORKS SECTOR? It has shown the ability of the sector to pull together in diffcult times and deliver the food restoration program while performing their normal works and services for the community. The magnitude of the foods in many areas had never been experienced before. We've been working with communities who've been devastated -- there has been loss of life in some communities and severe social and economic impacts. Engaging with communities and councils to prioritise work has been cr ucial to getting them back on their feet. There are examples where great innovation has been applied to reuse materials to minimise the impact on the environment and reduce costs. There has been a lot of knowledge shared between councils through IPWEAQ to ensure the same issues don't arise in different places. ARE YOU CONFIDENT THIS WILL MAKE SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND MORE RESILIENT TO FLOODS? The bulk of the food restoration work has been on a like-for-like replacement basis where the assets are reinstated to the pre-event ser vice standard. There have been some opportunities for increased food resilience, however overall the asset network resilience will not have markedly changed. This is largely due to the constraints associated with NDRRA funding. The only way to really achieve increased resilience is with an innovative design that can provide improved resilience at the same cost as a like-for-like replacement, or where councils contribute their own funds for the upgrade. It comes down to affordability. We are achieving the best possible outcome with the available funding. The funding needed to improve food immunity across the state would be fnancially unsustainable and practically unachievable. We're talking about a food that was, in some areas, equivalent to a one-in-a-1000-year event. It would be impractical to design infrastr ucture to withstand that level of food intensity. ••• CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Visit http://goo.gl/4IwEl to comment on this article.
Public Works Sept Oct 2012
Public Works Jan Feb 2013