- Written by Jason Sawera Jason Sawera
Trunk infrastructure is the shared developmental infrastructure required to ensure a healthy and safe environment for the users it is serving. Its primary purpose is to service catchments areas with a number of users or housing estates rather than serving individuals. Trunk infrastructure is a combination of things that we need in order to make a house liveable, for example: potable piped borne water, proper road networks, electric power, sewerage, including a proper drainage facility.
A private housing developer, EDAI Town Development Limited (ETDL) had employed orderly development processes by ensuring that the trunk infrastructure was constructed before the houses were built. Although the house sales prices were high because of costs associated with trunk infrastructure much interest was generated from buyers. The reason being that the houses are liveable compared to the government’s Duran Farm housing estate where trunk infrastructure is lacking. The Duran Farm project failed to put in place the trunk infrastructure before houses were built. Though most of the houses were completed there, people were reluctant to buy because there is no trunk infrastructure.
To date, the developers of the Duran Farm project have lost a great amount of money that was tied down to the houses mainly because no one wants to buy houses there. The state is also missing out on income that would have been generated from the sales of the houses and service charges.
The state has the exclusive responsibility to provide trunk infrastructure in PNG’s housing industry. The barriers and delays associated with public sector provision of trunk infrastructure such as bureaucracy in the housing sector motivates the private sector to provide trunk infrastructure.
While providing trunk infrastructure is a vital consideration in the construction of housing estates, the need for its maintenance must also be on top of the agenda in the initial planning stages.
Should the government approve the private sector to provide trunk infrastructure, then the government can use the money set aside for this to service other priority areas such as disaster relief, education, health, law and order issues.
Where private developers provide trunk infrastructure they could be granted tax credits for an agreed period of time. This can be seen as compensating them for providing the service and which therefore could lead to the developers reducing the house prices.
PNG NRI’s Spotlight article titled, Private developers have the potential to provide trunk infrastructure in Papua New Guinea, hopes to contribute to the policy discussions on how the provision of trunk infrastructure could have an impact on determining the price of houses in PNG.