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Intro

Introduction

Western Australian (WA) Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines

The WA Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines (Investment Guidelines) are designed to realise the outcome of efficient and effective cultural infrastructure investment for WA and are therefore integral to supporting the implementation of the Western Australian Cultural Infrastructure Framework 2030+ (Framework). The Framework has been developed to enable a strategic, holistic approach to infrastructure planning and investment.

Strategic infrastructure planning is based on the premise that any investment should always be in the public’s best interest, provide net benefits to the community in the most efficient and effective way, and obtain the best value for money for WA Government investment. Concurrently, it should support the goals of communities, governments, cultural organisations, creative industries, public users and visitors.

The Investment Guidelines are a tool to promote robust, evidence-based assessment of infrastructure proposals with consideration of: value for money; the efficiency and effectiveness of expenditure; the associated community - or user - benefits; and whole-of-life outcomes of the project. It is a long-term, strategic approach to cultural infrastructure investment prioritisation that provides a guide to identify  what successful cultural infrastructure looks like in WA.

Purpose

The Investment Guidelines provide guidance for proposed cultural infrastructure business case development and prioritisation for State Government, Federal Government, local governments, the cultural sector and the creative industries. Specifically, the Investment Guidelines can be used as a scoping document to align the business case with the Framework. The investment outcomes identified  in the Investment Guidelines can be employed as investment principles to drive the business case  (see Table 1 on page 4). 

There is also potential for a tiered approach when applying the Investment Guidelines to significant infrastructure or community infrastructure and would therefore be applicable for developing business cases at Federal, State, regional and local levels. In addition, there is legitimate potential for the Investment Guidelines to be applied to a longitudinal program for cultural infrastructure across WA.

The intention of the Investment Guidelines is to: 

  • Assist in the determination of the intended outcomes of a cultural infrastructure proposal (as shown in Table 1 Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines: Proposal Investment Principles)
  • Provide examples of specific, measurable principles that align with the strategies and outcomes of the WA Cultural Infrastructure Framework 2030+, and other government strategies and objectives
  • Provide a framework for cultural infrastructure investment decision making against current government priorities, policies, and sector and community needs
  • Take an integrated approach to the consideration of how cultural infrastructure proposals fit with regulatory and planning frameworks
  • Incorporate the different needs, outcomes and objectives for urban, suburban, regional and remote Western Australia; employing a place-based approach to ensure relevance across a diversity of locations and scales
  • Provide principles for assessing State significance: whether the project has significant cultural, social, environmental, economic and/or financial benefits for Western Australians, represents value for money, and is affordable in the context of State Budget priorities.

Feedback will be sought from Infrastructure WA and the Department of Treasury regarding the development and implementation of the Investment Guidelines. It is appreciated that further work will be undertaken to align the Investment Guidelines with Infrastructure WA’s State Infrastructure Strategy, as this develops over time. Infrastructure Australia have noted that prioritisation frameworks for cultural infrastructure investment have been recommended by both Infrastructure NSW and Infrastructure Victoria.1 For example, the Cultural Infrastructure Investment Framework adopted by the New South Wales Government will be integrated with the NSW Treasury capital planning and budget processes.2

WA Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines

Investment outcomes and principles

The Investment Guidelines incorporate ten investment outcomes, which align with the findings from key stakeholder consultation undertaken in the development of the Framework, and with WA Government policy objectives and priorities such as Diversify WA. The outcomes are also aligned with Infrastructure WA’s Top Ten Outcomes, as highlighted in A Stronger Tomorrow: State Infrastructure Strategy Discussion Paper.  

The investment outcomes are:

  1. Aboriginal art, culture and heritage is strong, respected, maintained and celebrated
  2. WA communities empowered
  3. A stronger Western Australian economy
  4. Vibrant liveable environments
  5. Equitable access and inclusivity
  6. A thriving, sustainable cultural and creative sector
  7. A connected State
  8. Creative workforce and culturally rich communities
  9. Better spaces and places
  10. An efficient and effective approach to cultural infrastructure investment.

These investment outcomes match the outcomes identified in the Framework overall. They are based  on key stakeholder consultation feedback, State and Commonwealth priorities and identified infrastructure challenges and opportunities, a review of evidence-based research on the economic and social impacts of cultural infrastructure and an analysis of the gaps in cultural infrastructure impacting the cultural economic capacity of the State. The strategies and opportunities outlined in the Framework will, over time, provide the policy structure to assist projects to deliver on the investment outcomes and principles of the Investment Guidelines. Chapter 3 provides more detail on the identified challenges and benefits associated with each of the ten investment outcomes.

The Investment Guidelines also align with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ (DLGSC) Public Value Measurement Framework (PVMF) to ensure economic, social and cultural outcomes are maximised. The PVMF logic model focuses on three core values: intrinsic value, instrumental value and institutional value. These core values are explained in greater detail in Chapter 6  of the Framework.

The DLGSC has developed functional tools for measuring these values, such as Culture Counts. 

These tools can be incorporated into measures for cultural infrastructure, such as contributions to vibrancy and liveability, as identified in Table 2 WA Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines: Example quantitative and qualitative measures for investment principles.

The Investment Guidelines align with the PVMF so that these core public values are maximised  through cultural infrastructure investment in WA. The alignment also strengthens the impact of WA’s cultural infrastructure investment by prioritising investment against strategic planning and identified community needs.

All investment outcomes are intended to maximise value for money by achieving whole-of-life and  user outcomes for the infrastructure in the most effective and efficient way. This includes risk mitigation to identify financially sustainable investments such as maximising revenue opportunities, planning to minimise future maintenance requirements, shared use facilities and ensuring design excellence and  fit-for-purpose. Design excellence, for example, from building design, to precinct and urban design,  can increase efficiency by supporting ‘more sustainable user behaviour.’4 Investment in good design mitigates identified risks upfront, and is less costly than retrofitting at a later date.5 Shared use facilities include community access to Department of Education school facilities, where applicable, but can also include new facilities that provide access to nearby schools for use as needed and appropriate.

Infrastructure Australia has identified that despite infrastructure being a means for delivering services, capital works and new infrastructure builds are ‘too often’ given priority, even though regulatory reform, maintenance, upgrades, and minor capital works can also deliver significant benefits.6 These Investment Guidelines have been designed to incorporate investment principles applicable to repurposing or upgrading existing facilities, the establishment of shared use facilities, and regulatory reform, as well as the development of new purpose-built infrastructure. The Investment Guidelines can also be applied to multi-purpose facilities where cultural use is an element of the whole. 

To view the full content, please download the Western Australian Cultural Infrastructure Investment Guidelines publication.


Endnotes

1 Infrastructure Australia. (2019). An Assessment of Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs: The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, p. 442. Retrieved from https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-08/Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019.pdf

2 NSW Government. (2019). Cultural Infrastructure Plan 2025+, p. 71. Retrieved from https://create.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/20190206_CIP2025.pdf

3 Government of Western Australia Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. (2019). WA Cultural Infrastructure Framework 2030+, pp. 68-74. https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/culture-and-the-arts/cultural-infrastructure

4 Infrastructure Australia. (2019). An Assessment of Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs: The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, p. 247. 

5 Infrastructure Australia. (2019). An Assessment of Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs: The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, p. 247.

6 Infrastructure Australia. (2019). An Assessment of Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs: The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, p. 241. 
 
Page reviewed 26 August 2021