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CeBIT 2012: Telstra economist says Australia needs a collaborative infrastructure strategy

CeBIT 2012: Telstra economist says Australia needs a collaborative infrastructure strategy

Telecommunications, especially with the rollout of the NBN, plays a key role in driving a collaborative infrastructure strategy

Australia is lacking a collaborative infrastructure strategy which has stifled the implementation of intelligent technology solutions across the country, according to Telstra principal regulatory economist, Dr Flavio Romano.

He was speaking at CeBIT Australia 2012.

Dr Romano was previously the senior economist at Infrastructure Australia, advising in topics such as how IT can improve the sustainability of urban transport networks.

He highlighted Australia's growing population and how that would impact local infrastructure servies such as transport and utilities, including gas and electricity. The country's population is expected to swell to over 35 million in the coming decades.

"The world's most urbanised societies are only set to become intensely so," Dr Romano said.

It will have an impact on productivity and the economy.

Australia has started looking into this concern but not as effectively when compared with some countries that utilise elements of smart infrastructure, according to Dr Romano.

One example is various new motorways in Australia that use "sensible but basic" tools such as time-based tolling. This is comparably simple compared to Singapore's electronic road pricing system which adjusts the price of road tolls dyanically based on traffic conditions.

It is these kinds of 'intelligence' Australia needs to incorporate into its infrastructure services. Currently, Dr Romano saw a number of good smart infrastructure projects being implemented but in a very fragmented fashion.

There are companies that have developed complemeny solutions that can deal with Australia's urban infrastructure pains. They need to get together and co-operate, which is something the Government can assist with, he said.

"A national policy frame would be helpful to that so we can have a sense of 'this is what the Government, after consulting with the community, wants to go and this is how we can support that'," Dr Romano told ARN.

This lack of unified direction for Australia's infrastructure future has led to fragmentation and even some duplication in terms of projects and technology implementations.

But telecommunications, especially with the rollout of the NBN, plays a key role in driving a collaborative infrastructure strategy, according to Dr Romano.

"If you think about how services are making up half the economy, it requires digital infrastructure, telecommunications - it requires all these things to be more and better than they have been," he said.

CeBIT Australia 2012 continues.


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