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FRA Welcomes New Minister

FRA Welcomes New Minister
Fiji Airways Drua Peni Naulago, and Apisai Tauyavu during training in Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
October 04
13:36 2014

On behalf of the Fiji Roads Authority team, I offer warm welcome to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Pio Tikoduadua.
Mr Tikoduadua was a driving force behind the establishment of the Fiji Roads Authority.
By appointment of the Prime Minister he led the Fiji Roads Advisory Committee from its inception in 2012 through to August 2014 when he resigned in order to contest the elections.
We wish him well in his new role and look forward to his continued leadership.
Last week I commented on the inter-relationship between the various types of public infrastructure and the need to integrate the long term planning as well as delivery of projects.
This is critical for Fiji as we seek to maximize efficiency and avoid waste of our resources.
With a Ministry for Infrastructure in place, led by a Minister who has hands-on knowledge of what is needed for successful long term infrastructure planning and delivery, my view is that Fiji is moving in a very positive direction.
I look forward to working ever more closely with my counterparts in other infrastructure agencies for the delivery of better services to Fiji.

Governments Commitment
Government has signalled through the pre-election manifesto a continued commitment to upgrade the quality of the nation’s roads, bridges and jetties.
The Prime Minister has stated many times that the journey that started back in 2012/13 was not going to be completed overnight.
Substantial progress has been made and this includes significant in-roads into the backlog of maintenance and replacement resulting from many, many years of under-investment.
Investing at the required level over the next 5-7 years will see the backlog addressed and a ‘steady state’ reached where sustainable annual funding levels are established and assets are maintained or replaced at the optimum time.
Until then we will continue with balancing pro-active long term planning with urgent reactive work as required.
As a nation the more we are able to move to planned work rather than reactive work, the better off we will all be.

Personal view
From a personal perspective, I came to Fiji a little under two years ago with a specific mission to support the Government’s vision to reform the roading sector.
Government’s commitment has been clear and consistent during that time. What is most pleasing to see is that the people of Fiji have confirmed their support for the reforms and progress that FRA is a part of.
The people have shouted load and clear that the development of the nation’s infrastructure is a top priority; be it roads, water, electricity or communications.

So the Government is doing their part, what is the FRA required to deliver?
But sustainable infrastructure is about more than just rebuilding the physical assets.
For a secure and sustainable future what goes on behind the scenes is just as important as fixing our failing bridges and rebuilding our patchwork roads.
A critical part of my role is to make sure that at the end of my time here there is an established structure for a successor to step into and we are well on track for that.
Of primary importance is having systems in place for development and delivery of long term plans. This is a process that never stops.
Even while we are delivering this year’s work programme we are planning for next year, and the year after that.

Ultimate goal
Ultimately we want to have plans in place that show investment needs over 10, 20 and even 30 years to deliver Government policy objectives.
And it is in the development of our long term plans that some of the greatest efficiencies can be gained from all infrastructure providers sharing information and combining their efforts to greatest effect.
This is being recognised by all infrastructure providers here in Fiji and that bodes well for the future.
I have always liked this short prayer; God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
The pace of change over the past 2-3 years has not provided much opportunity for serenity for those of us involved in the FRA reforms; but we have certainly witnessed courage and wisdom from those in leadership roles.
Long may that continue as we move into a new phase of development as part of the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport.

Feedback: newsroom@fijisun.com.fj

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