Various projects worldwide have been labeled White Elephants. These projects include the Gold Coast desalination plant and the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, among many others. What exactly is a White Elephant? How can we identify them and how can we stop them from happening in the future? In this episode, Scott Prasser joins show host Gene Tunny to talk about White Elephants. Scott is a former academic and ministerial adviser, and is one of the editors of the new book from Connor Court titled White Elephant Stampede: Case Studies in Policy and Project Management Failures.
Scott has worked in senior policy and advisory roles in Australian state and federal government public service. From 2013 to 2019 he was Senior Adviser to three federal cabinet ministers covering portfolios of education and training, and regional health, sport and decentralisation. In addition, Scott has held academic positions at five universities across four states and territories, the last at professorial level. Scott gained his undergraduate and master’s degrees from University of Queensland, and his doctorate from Griffith University. Scott’s most recent publication with Helen Tracey was Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries: Practice and Potential (2014); and Audit Commissions: Reviewing the Reviewers (2013).
Scott’s substack newsletter: https://policyinsights.substack.com/
The new book from Connor Court White Elephant Stampede: Case Studies in Policy and Project Management Failures:
Criteria for identifying White Elephant projects:
Regarding the cost of the Gold Coast desalination plant, see:
The Brisbane Times article reports:
“The controversial $1.2 billion Tugun plant was closed in 2009 after a string of complaints including rusting pipelines and mothballed from fulltime water production in 2010.
Normally it provides only three megalitres per day to Southeast Queensland's water grid and costs between $12 million and $15 million a year to operate.”
Time Out article on fixing up the acoustics in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House:
Thanks to Josh Crotts for mixing the episode and to the show’s sponsor, Gene’s consultancy business www.adepteconomics.com.au.
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