Infrastructure can broadly be defined as long-term physical assets that operate in markets with high barriers to entry and enable the provision of goods and services.
Social Infrastructure is a subset of the infrastructure sector and typically includes assets that accommodate social services. The examples of Social Infrastructure Assets include schools, universities, hospitals, prisons and community housing, Health Medical facilities, Ancillary infrastructure (e.g. offices, carparks, training facilities) Education Schools (primary and secondary) Tertiary facilities, Residential student accommodation Housing State or Council housing, Defence force housing, Civic and Utilities, Community & sports facilities, Local government facilities, Water and wastewater treatment, Transport, Bus stations, Park and rides, Availability-based roading (excluding demand-risk toll roads), Corrections and Justice Prisons Court houses etc. Social Infrastructure does not typically extend to the provision of social services, such as the provision of teachers at a school or custodial services at a prison.
In contrast, economic infrastructure supports economic activity and is often characterised by ‘user-pays’ or demand-based revenue streams (such as tolls on toll roads or landing fees for an airport). In New Zealand, Social Infrastructure is almost exclusively provided by a central or local government (or related entities such as district health boards and universities). The development and provision of Social Infrastructure is well suited to PPPs, which have been used successfully to deliver public infrastructure since the early 1990s in the United Kingdom11, and more recently in Australia.