Infrastructure NSW – New South Wales Asset Management Policy

NSW Asset Management Policy

In the State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038: Building Momentum, Infrastructure NSW found that whole-of-government asset management practices were inadequate and represented a risk to making the most out of the State’s assets over the long term. This resulted in the NSW Government accepting Infrastructure NSW’s recommendation that a revised asset management policy be completed by the end of 2018.

Mr Rami Affan delivered the Asset Management Policy for the NSW Public Sector (the Policy) which was endorsed by the NSW Cabinet Standing Committee on Infrastructure in December 2018.

This is a critical strategic breakthrough for NSW. It has significantly increased the profile of assessment management policy and practice across the Government – all of it due to the personal leadership of Mr Affan.


Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

The introduction of the Policy will result in NSW Government agencies aligning with the international standard ISO 55001 – Asset Management and will be a significant step towards ensuring the public sector collectively adopts best practice asset management principles to improve accountability, performance and capability.
The Policy will require agencies to develop and implement asset management frameworks that:

  • Make best use of the State’s asset base
  • Adopt clear and consistent definitions and methodologies to report to government each
  • Broaden assessment of asset performance to consider environmental, economic and
    social benefits
  • Develop a ‘system of system’ approach across interconnected infrastructure networks to
    drive a vision of integrated infrastructure provision and management
  • Adopt innovative and contemporary technologies to improve operations and
  • Use quality data that will support evidence-based decision making
  • Promote and share continuous improvement through a whole-of-government Asset
    Management Community of Practice (AMCoP) which includes a partnership with the
    Asset Management Council of Australia.

Agency executive level endorsement is assured through an attestation process where agency heads are accountable to ensure that asset management principles within the Policy are adhered to.

These principles emphasise the role of agencies as stewards of public assets and the importance of balancing cost, risk and performance in decision making. This is intended to establish the understanding that assets exist to provide value – a notion that underpins asset management best practice.

As part of the implementation of the Policy Mr Affan is also leading a review to better understand and manage NSW maintenance backlog. This will involve developing a
consistent definition for ‘backlog maintenance’ and measurement methods. This will provide agencies an evidence base and a process for maintenance funding submissions to be considered with a comparable level of rigour as infrastructure funding submissions.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution

The Policy is a departure from previous siloed approaches to asset management with a focus on inputs and outputs as it requires agencies to adopt a whole-of-government and whole-of-asset life cycle approach considering broader outcomes as well as interdependency between sectors. This consistent approach to asset planning and delivery is underpinned by consideration of costs, performance, risk and infrastructure resilience aligned to priority agency and government outcomes.

Mr Affan has adopted a collaborative and inclusive approach to develop the Policy, working closely with agencies through the AMCoP, with a key objective to lift capability and maturity to achieve best practice rather than to narrowly prescribed compliance measures. The implementation of the Policy will drive best practice across Government as it provides less mature organisations with the opportunity to develop a roadmap towards achieving the Policy’s asset management objectives as part of the attestation requirements.

Program and project management

The Policy was developed through extensive consultation with stakeholders across the Government and included a ‘lessons learned’ review of the Victorian Government’s
experience implementing the Asset Management Accountability Framework. Through AMCoP Mr Affan worked with over 30 agencies to raise awareness to develop the
Policy. The AMCoP not only provided a communication platform to develop the Policy but it also facilitated cross-agency collaboration which is essential to the whole-of-government support needed to implement the Policy. There are currently over 70 AMCoP members from the 30 agencies signifying the high degree of commitment to implement the Policy. Speakers at the AMCoP have included key Asset Management Council members and expert practitioners from industry and government (including the Victorian Government) who have showcased leading practice. This knowledge sharing is a key aspect to lift asset
management capability.

Benefit/value of the project or service to the community or organisation

The NSW asset portfolio is worth more than $300 billion and is expected to grow significantly because of unprecedented infrastructure investment valued at some $90 billion over the next four years. In addition, population growth, climate change, and rapid technological advancements will mean that the performance of the State’s assets will need to address these challenges and to continue to provide value to the people of NSW. The Policy is fundamental to ensuring that NSW’s infrastructure meets service demand now and into the future through its requirement that agencies broaden their assessment of asset performance to consider economic, social and environmental benefits. These benefits will be considered through an assurance process which will ensure that agencies identify the optimal asset maintenance regime and expenditure required, including whole-of-life cycle costs.

The importance of the Policy was recently highlighted at the NSW Asset Management Breakfast in February 2019, jointly hosted by Infrastructure NSW and the Asset
Management Council of Australia. During this event, central agency heads Tim Reardon, Secretary Department of Premier and Cabinet; Jim Betts, CEO Infrastructure NSW; and Michael Pratt, Secretary NSW Treasury all emphasised importance of the Policy to ensuring that NSW get the most out of the State’s large assets.

Kirstie Allen
Head of Strategy and Planning
Infrastructure NSW

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