Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2013
41 conducted a stringent regime of tests to ensure the plans were sustainable. "They carried out a number of scenarios to determine what ser vices levels they could afford," he says. "They reported the current and target ser vice levels based on the asset management plan and the council adopted them. "They also modelled the potential risks and the council accepted that they were all manageable at the determined ser vice levels. From the outset, the council was very enthusiastic about the project." Thanks to the new tools, Conargo is able to allocate its resources towards maintaining and improving its assets with much more confdence. “The 10-year fnancial plan has mapped out a way to maintain our assets to a fairly high level," Barlow says. "We've got adequate funds and reser ves that can cover any unforseen expenditure, and we've got funds set aside to renew assets when required. "The whole planning process has given us a lot more certainty in ensuring we can sustain our assets into the future." Roorda adds: "The council can now report on the state of the assets on an annual basis. It can track, for the frst time, whether the service levels are improving or declining. It also allows them to look at providing the same ser vice level at lower cost or providing a higher ser vice level at the same cost." By participating in the audit, the councils were able to apply for up to $30,000 in funding from the NSW Department of Local Government under the Commonwealth's Local Government Reform Fund (LGRF). About $5000 was available to fund the use of NAMS.PLUS tools and templates, as well as training costs. Conargo's Director of Engineering David Kerslake says this assistance was crucial to completing the change. "We're a small rural council with limited resources, so we don’t have specifc staff for asset management," he says. "It's handled by the engineering department: myself and a few staff. So, to get assistance under the LGRF to help us complete the audit and set out a plan for what we need to put in place has been very benefcial. "We're pretty proud of what we've achieved. There was only one little red box when we last reviewed the audit, and that was only because we needed some extra data. We are now thinking about getting some extra staff in after doing the review. The council has embraced the process and are actually driving it." It's a story that has been repeated across NSW. A follow-up to the original audit was conducted from June to July 2012. It revealed that more than 80 per cent of the original participants have core- level asset management plans, strategies, policies and long-term fnancial planning. Furthermore, all have improvement programs in place to maintain or improve current maturity. For councils that haven't embarked on this journey, take solace in the fact that all of this was achieved in less than 12 months. ••• The whole planning process has given us a lot more certainty in ensuring we can sustain our assets into the future.
Public Works Nov Dec 2012
Public Works Mar Apr 2013