Government and major clients must rise above political point scoring and plan for long-term
infrastructure development, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chairman John Armitt said this week.
“We need more certainty”
Armitt was speaking to NCE as the ODA launched a website bringing together reports and case studies from the project as a learning tool for the industry.
He said economic pressure made it “very difficult” for the government but that industry and firms needed more certainty.
“I think it’s very difficult for the government at the moment,” he said.
“How do you as the government get out of the short term way of thinking? But what people want and what industry wants is the longer term vision − it isn’t single term.”
He said that scrapping the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) also presented challenges for long term infrastructure delivery.
“How do you as the government get out of the short term way of thinking? What people want and what industry wants is the longer term vision”
“The IPC change when it happened was in some respects disappointing,” he said. “Perhaps it was naive to think we could have an independent planning process that was so independent from the political process.
“That said, you can’t have a singular approach − you’ve got to have a strategic approach.”
For instance, he said airport policy does not work as a short term plan and should be decided between parties as a 20 year plan.
“You won’t always get it right but you have to think about where [the plan] is going. This is the problem of political bias − put aside party political differences.”
He added that it was not just government bodies but also major clients that should plan for the long-term to enable civils firms to position themselves to win the work.