After my recent post on mega-projects, I came across this excellent presentation, by a Jacobs consultant and an Adelaide University academic, which was delivered to a conference in Adelaide last year:
The Jacobs consultants highlight the risks of mega-projects and argue for transparency, good governance and the consideration of any cost-effective alternatives, such as smaller projects and transport demand management. The presentation includes analysis of a database of recent Australian mega-projects, and I particularly like this box plot showing the poor demand forecasting record for public-private partnership (PPP) projects:
The presentation includes two points which readers of this blog will be familiar with, as I have made them in previous posts regarding the BaT Tunnel and Cross River Rail:
- a mega-project should have a benefit-cost ratio of at least 1.5 to allow for cost and demand risks; and
- “All business cases should be made public when funded.”
Building Queensland’s current policy of only releasing summaries of business cases should be reviewed, and the full business case for Cross River Rail should be released so it can be scrutinised by external experts and the broader public.