Tag: infrastructure

NSW State Budget Commits More To Planning Projects

An extra $1b to the Ministry and planning projects

From the New South Wales State Government which has handed down its Budget today:

Budget provides $1 billion for simpler planning, and better infrastructure for NSW

The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning 23 Jun 2015

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today announced that the NSW Budget will invest $1 billion over four years in planning for the homes, jobs and services NSW needs for the future and making the system simpler and more efficient.

This is part of the NSW Government’s record $4.5 billion investment in the Planning and Environment cluster over four years.

Mr Stokes said the Budget outlines a clear plan for funding infrastructure where it is needed to help create vibrant communities across NSW.

“Providing record funding for infrastructure and amenity is accompanying record levels of housing supply in NSW and will help to put downward pressure on house prices,” Mr Stokes said.

In 2015-16, the NSW Government will invest:

  • $77.6 million to support infrastructure for new homes in The Hills and Blacktown local government areas;
  • $46 million towards new parks, streetscapes and roads to support communities in Priority Precincts;
  • $26 million from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund to local infrastructure projects, including more than $12 million towards the University of Newcastle’s New Space project;
  • $19.9 million to construct the on-line Planning Portal to make the planning system simpler and easier to use;
  • $16.9 million to halve the time it takes to assess state significant projects, expand community consultation opportunities and ensure there is adequate capacity to assess environmental and social impacts to support the Government’s unprecedented level of investment in transport and social infrastructure in NSW;
  • $19 million to establish the Greater Sydney Commission and deliver the Plan for Growing Sydney.
  • “This investment represents a down-payment on the parks, shops and jobs needed to create distinct and liveable neighbourhoods as Sydney and NSW grow.

“We are investing in a simpler online system by building the Planning Portal – taking the paperwork out of planning for homeowners and businesses.

“The budget provides funding to establish the Greater Sydney Commission which will act to bring a better coordinated approach to planning across metropolitan Sydney.”

For more information please visit www.budget.nsw.gov.au

Interactive Mapping the Budget tool highlights the key areas of spend. You can use the map to explore projects across planning regions and Local Government Areas (LGA), or filter by project type.


I wonder how things would be handled if we have such Planning Ministries like New South Wales and Victoria. Especially as both State Governments are working through Sydney and Melbourne Plans, and committing billions to infrastructure such as heavy rail.

Meanwhile in New Zealand……

Auditor General on our Infrastructure

Not a good situation


Earlier this week the Auditor General released a rather damning report against both our central and local governments about addressing infrastructure needs for New Zealand (not just Auckland). Now by infrastructure I am talking about physical which includes but often most forgotten until something goes wrong fresh water, waste water, and storm water.

This extract from Bob Dey:

Auditor-general issues blunt warning on infrastructure

Auditor-general Lyn Provost issued a blunt warning yesterday: New Zealand communities, in general, need to sharpen their information about & commitment to infrastructure or they will guarantee failure of services.

Mrs Provost warned that population shifts could make some communities unable to continue paying to maintain basic services such as sewers & water supply, while growth in others – such as Auckland – would need to match housing, working & services very carefully to avoid failure.

New Zealand’s economy for the past 200 years has been mostly about growth, although removal of some services such as post offices from rural towns, starting in the 1980s, was a warning about what might befall small communities.

Mrs Provost’s report, Water & roads: Funding & management challenges, was presented to Parliament yesterday, along with findings from research carried out by the NZ Institute of Economic Research that provides an historical perspective of local government investment trends, the forecast investment outlook and observations on differences in investment between regions.

The economic research showed infrastructure investment came in waves, creating investment “echoes”, and that large renewal cycles were pending.

Ironically, there’s been a tendency to underspend infrastructure budgets. Mrs Provost gave some explanation of this – that visible assets such as roads did need more frequent renewal than underground pipes. But, in short, her report can be summed up thus:

  • What you can see is politically sexier than what you can’t, but the infrastructure you can’t see is essential
  • Population shifts could make it impossible for shrinking communities to pay for continuing infrastructure maintenance.

Implicit in the report is a requirement to examine funding: Underground infrastructure is funded locally, roads & bridges nationally.


Source and full post: http://www.propbd.co.nz/auditor-general-issues-blunt-warning-infrastructure/


The Auditor General’s Infrastructure Report can be seen below:


Further commentary on this at a subsequent podcast


Power Crisis Over? Teeth Gnashing Begins

However, will the result  be the same as 1998?


And so the Isthmus is no longer powerless with power restored to all but a few hundred homes as of this morning.

For full details (and saving me repeating a lot of it) you can read the Herald article here (as well as see the damage): http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11338075


And so with the Crisis over and the response teams doing a very fine job (and so I send thanks), the job of teeth gnashing (the inquiry) will begin.

However, I do wonder if the inquiry will be somewhat pointless as unless it was truly an Act of God that set the cables alight we I am suspicious again of: Failure in planning, governance and investment.

From what I can see from the Herald this morning in the above linked article it seems already it might be just that.


Let me put it this way. Go watch the second Matrix Movie where they attempt to enter the building where Neo will find the Architect. They need to shut the power down to the building or the self destruct triggers. So they blow up a power station which initially causes the black out until the smart grid reroutes power very quickly. The back up was shut down manually after that but that was caused by man-made (well Niobe) interference.


Large advanced cities have smart grids that reroute power in the event such as what Auckland just went through. Granted that Otahuhu Power Station and substation got reinforced and that the new cabling rerouted power back to the City Centre however, Penrose is still a choke point and it again (last was 2012) blacked out a large portion of the Isthmus. After the 1998 and especially after 2006 sagas this should not happen of we truly invested in a true smart grid system. AND we should not be paying a cent more on our power bills to get such a system. No Prime Minister, your advice should have been to tell the AECT (read the Herald article on who they are) to forego the $300m dividend paid out to consumers for five years and have that dividend money invested back into the grid until we have a true smart grid.


However, knowing New Zealand we will do the teeth gnashing and within three years maybe another blackout on the Isthmus…

Consider ourselves lucky we don’t operation commercial nuclear power stations…..


Slowly Getting with Cycling

Bit by Bit with our Active Transport Network


Yesterday there was a large presentation followed by substantial debate on the roll of active transport (this case cycling) in Auckland. The presentation was given by Generation Zero and the Cycling Action Network (in which I’ll ask for the presentation later today) about our lagging state of the cycling network. The material in the agenda (embedded further down) further outlines the state of our cycling network:

From page 8 and 9 of the Infrastructure Agenda

  • Auckland is one of the most car-dominated cities in the world, with approximately 80 percent of all journeys made by car (Mees and Dodson 2007). Around two thirds of all car journeys in New Zealand are of less than six kilometres, with one third of all car journeys less than two kilometres (Tin Tin, Woodward et al. 2009; Turner, Hughes et al. 2010). Many of these shorter journeys could be undertaken on foot or by bicycle.
  • Auckland was ranked third most liveable city for quality of living in the 2012 Mercer rankings. However, ranked 43rd in relation to infrastructure, which includes a measure of transportation infrastructure.
  • The ACN currently consists of approximately 283 km of cycle ways, consisting of 95 km of cycle metros, 130 km of cycle connectors and 57 km of feeder routes that comprise of varying levels of service and cycle infrastructure provision. Parts of the existing network require cyclists to use bus/bike lanes and consist of short sections of unconnected cycle lanes, which advocacy groups do not consider to be an optimal solution in terms of safety.
  • Cycle monitoring is undertaken annually in Auckland and shows the success of providing high quality, connected cycle routes such as the segregated North-Western cycle way (linking western suburbs with the city centre) and the cycle lanes along Tamaki Drive (along the waterfront) that facilitate commuter and recreational cyclists of all ages and abilities.
  • On an average weekday Aucklanders take around 29,000 trips by cycle (approximately 0.6 percent of all trips). Monthly monitoring data reported to the Auckland Transport Board shows an annual increase in cycling of 10 percent compared with previous 12 months (based on data taken from nine automatic monitoring sites).
  • Safety is a barrier (perceived and actual) to people cycling in Auckland. Research undertaken on behalf of Auckland Transport by Ipsos in 2013 shows that 59 percent of respondents indicated that safety concerns are a barrier to them cycling more, with 79 percent agreeing more should be done to promote safe cycling in Auckland.
  • In 2012, crashes involving cyclists accounted for 5 percent (1 fatality and 18 serious) of all reported serious and fatal crashes across the Auckland local road network. This is disproportional to the mode share of cycling in Auckland that is approximately 1.2 percent of morning peak time journeys to work (based on 2013 census data).
  • Providing continuous separated dedicated cycle lanes and other types of cycle infrastructure to link the cycle network with transport interchanges and local services is one of the key priorities of the cycle infrastructure programme. This was confirmed in a 2013 Auckland Cycle research survey where 55 percent of people identified the provision of separated cycle facilities as a key priority.
  • The feedback from cycle advocacy groups such as Cycle Action Auckland and Generation Zero is that we should be focusing on segregated cycle lanes (preferably off road) and providing a connected network. This is aimed at improving safety and connectivity.
  • It is important that high quality cycle connector routes are provided to encourage interneighbourhood and shorter trips to schools and local services. These connector routes are also significant as they provide linkages to the wider cycle network.
  • Research also suggests that there is a strong demand for cycling in Auckland, with about one in four people owning a bike. Survey results indicate that 18 percent of respondents who are not currently cycling are primed and ready to cycle given the provision of high quality cycle facilities.
  • Auckland Transport runs campaigns during spring, summer and winter, as well as year round cycle training and “share the road” safety campaigns. During the 2012/13 financial year, Auckland Transport delivered cycle training to around 10,000 people from school children to businesses and community groups,

The Herald picked up further on the cycling situation in their “Paths full, say cyclists” in which even now pedestrians are getting cranky with cycling provisions.

From the NZ Herald:

Council told of pedestrian anger at surge in bike use of shared facilities. Cyclists are starting to feel the heat from pedestrians rebelling against having to share paths with them, Auckland Council members were warned yesterday.

In delivering her warning, Cycle Action Auckland chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert reminded the council’s infrastructure committee that pedestrians were “at the top of the hierarchy” of an active transport network.

“You may be hearing – we certainly are – that pedestrians across Auckland don’t want more shared paths,” Mrs Cuthbert said.

“Because now cycling numbers are getting up so high that those shared paths are not pleasant for pedestrians – pedestrians and cyclists deserve their own facilities.”

But Mrs Cuthbert was glowing in her praise of a council staff report recommending a greater financial commitment to cycling while warning that only 40 per cent to 50 per cent of a 900km network of bikeways will be in place by 2020 on current funding.

That compares with about 30 per cent now in place – much of which her group says is disjointed and in poor condition – and an Auckland Plan target of 70 per cent by 2020.

Committee deputy chairman Chris Darby, a cyclist, said other comparative cities around the world but particularly on the Pacific Rim were well ahead of Auckland in developing bikeways which raised public transport patronage by widening the catchment of buses, trains and ferries.

“We have been failing Auckland miserably – cycling is a badge of a smart city and we really need to have that badge on our lapel.”

His comments followed a presentation by Generation Zero youth organisation and TransportBlog representatives, who cited efforts by United States cities to attract young talent by providing safe cycling opportunities.

You can read the rest of the article over at the Herald site


Essentially the argument can be nutted down to this:

That is true to a point. Our heavier arterials should have dedicated and separated cycle ways but our smaller streets should be in a position to take cyclists automatically. This might be dropping local roads down to 30km/h and where possible flipping them over to shared spaces to remove the car as absolute priority from the road space.

For more on cycling by Talking Auckland check these related posts:


If someone asks for quick wins in getting some quality cycle and active transport infrastructure up before hitting the big stuff (long distance cycleways) I can think of two places to start:

  • Within 1km of a school
  • All Metropolitan Centres


Finally some pictures of either cycle infrastructure, some ideas, and/or places for a quick win

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I will get the resolutions up from the Infrastructure Committee when they come through – most likely Monday if not Tuesday


Infrastructure Committee Agenda