Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2013
40 Public Works Professional February 2013 [COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE ASSET MANAGEMENT] Creating an asset management plan from scratch is not as daunting as it sounds. Many NSW councils, including the Conargo Shire Council, have successfully done just that in less than 12 months. BY MICHAEL MILLS IN 2011, 42 GROUP THREE COUNCILS WITH populations under 10,000 across NSW undertook an assessment audit as part of the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) framework. The audit, which ran from July to September 2011, was conducted using the IPWEA NAMS.PLUS maturity model, which is fully compatible with the National Assessment Framework (NAF). Most councils were initially well below core -- most had no or minimal asset management plans – and none linked to long-term fnancial planning. Most had no asset management strategy. The Conargo Shire Council, in the Riverina region to the state's south west, was one such audited local government that did not have any asset management plans, strategy or policies in place. However, in the space of less than a year, the council has been able to develop a 10- year fnancial plan and asset management. This was made possible by the adoption of the IPWEA's NAMS.PLUS tools. The Council's General Manager Barry Barlow says, prior to the change, the organisation had used a basic asset register that recorded the value of each item. "We didn't have an idea of the ongoing maintenance and renewal needs of those assets," he says. "We conducted an over view of the assets just before the start of the new fnancial year and tried to incorporate something into the budget to a reasonable level. "But we didn't have a clear indication of the exact funds needed for each asset." Jeff Roorda was engaged by Conargo to assist the council upgrade their planning using the NAMS.PLUS tools. "The council was really well run before this, but essentially it was reactive," he says. "If someone said to council: ‘Are you fnancially sustainable?', they wouldn't have been able to answer the question. The assumption would then be: 'No, you probably aren't'." Roorda says the council's new approach balances the long-term fnancial plan with the asset management plan. The asset managers IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Go to http://goo.gl/OllA4 to comment on this article.
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