A parliamentary inquiry will examine if Australia can make better use of "smart ICT" in the planning, design and operation of infrastructure.
The inquiry will be conducted by the House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications. The issue was referred to the committee by infrastructure minister Warren Truss.
The terms of reference state the inquiry will examine:
Identifying innovative technology for the mapping, modelling, design and operation of infrastructure;
Identifying the new capabilities smart ICT will provide; Examining the productivity benefits of smart ICT;
Harmonising data formats and creating nationally consistent arrangements for data storage and access;
Identifying international best practice in the use of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure;
Considering the use of smart ICT in related fields, such as disaster planning and remediation; and
Considering means, including legislative and administrative action, by which government can promote this technology to increase economic productivity.
“As part of its recent inquiry into infrastructure planning and procurement, the committee took evidence on technological advances in survey and imaging techniques which have the capacity to significantly increase the speed and accuracy of data collection for the mapping and modelling of infrastructure, making it much more efficient and cost effective, with huge benefits to the community as a whole," committee chairperson Jane Prentice said in a statement.
ICT research and commercialisation organisation NICTA has previously pushed for more use of 'smart ICT' to enable better decisions in the planning, construction and operation of public infrastructure.
"Smart ICT will enable better, more insightful consideration of the issues and decision-making at the planning stage, minimise risk and uncertainty during the build phase and provide higher operational efficiencies throughout the life of the asset," stated a NICTA submission last year to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into public infrastructure.
"As computational power and algorithmic complexity grows, these techniques and tools will provide even greater ability to reduce cost and improve productivity."
The parliamentary inquiry is accepting submissions until 10 June.