For asset managers, identifying challenges, potential consequences and opportunities of focus is a vital part of ensuring the longevity and value of their infrastructure. Dr Collette Burke, Chief Engineer of Victoria, Managing Director at Exner Group and Director at VicTrack Melbourne, is well versed in the challenges that face asset managers, especially in the rail sector, as well as the repercussions of improper asset management.

Ahead of her appearance at the 2019 Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure Conference, running from 20–21 August in Sydney, we talked to Dr Burke about innovation, capturing asset information and using that data to improve the value of rail assets.

Focus for asset managers in 2019

Dr Burke said some of the main focus areas for rail asset managers in 2019 is improved understanding of each asset’s location, condition and how it adds value to the network.

“We need to focus on maintaining and repurposing assets that add immense value, particularly when they can have a major positive impact to the community.”

Dr Burke said that without proper rail asset management there can be major ramifications for the community and the state who rely on them.

“Improper asset management can disrupt customer delivery, cause significant safety issues and add significant costs to organisational budgets,” Ds Burke said.

“We develop surety in our network so the community can have confidence in how they use the network to live, work and play.”

Dealing with aging assets and new technology

As technology continues to advance, rail asset management best practice requires the ability to identify unique challenges in the sector and provide innovative solutions.

“One of the most interesting challenges for rail asset managers is looking at the integration of new projects in new and innovative ways on our existing asset base,” Dr Burke said.

“It’s essential that we maximise the use of our asset information, to allow us to make evidence-based decisions based on available data.

“As our assets are aging and new technology is developing, we look for ways to maintain or improve the asset and provide greater leveraging of our assets for the community. It is also critical that assets are managed to continue to operate safety.”

Hear more from Dr Collette Burke in the stream ‘Asset management in the rail sector’ at the 2019 Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure Conference, running from  20–21 August at Swissôtel, Sydney. Save up to $700 with early bird tickets, available until 26 July. Register today at