national infrastructure adviser, Infrastructure Australia released its 2021 Australian
Infrastructure Plan earlier this month. Infrastructure
Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew, provides an overview of the
organisation’s 15-year reform agenda and how it will work with government and
industry to drive its implementation.
A forward focused reform document
Australia’s vision for 2036 is to create an Australia where
infrastructure improves the sustainability of our economic, social,
environmental and governance settings to improve quality of life
throughout our communities.
2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan
sets out the reforms needed over the next 15 years to achieve this. It
provides Australia’s governments with a cross-sectoral and pragmatic reform
roadmap that prioritises community outcomes and the delivery of affordable,
high-quality infrastructure services across our country’s diverse geographies.
also considers and responds to the series of unprecedented shocks and stresses
Australia has recently experienced including the Covid-19 pandemic, bushfires,
extreme weather events, and broader geo-political uncertainty.
part of our role in providing independent advice to Australia’s governments, we
first developed the 2019 Australian
Infrastructure Audit which identified 180 challenges and opportunities
facing our infrastructure sector.
research was supplemented by our December 2020 Infrastructure
report which found that the pandemic had accelerated structural trends such as
digitisation, more local and regional infrastructure use, as well as service
innovations and adaptations.
Building on this evidence base, our reform roadmap was developed in
close collaboration with governments, industry, and communities. To achieve this, we completed a
comprehensive engagement program that targeted more than 6,500 community
members and industry stakeholders across Australia’s cities and regions.
This collaboration has helped ensure our reform recommendations have
broad support, providing the strong foundation we believe is needed to deliver
a result, the 2021 plan represents an industry consensus of the actions
required to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and deliver the
infrastructure needed to support Australia’s economic recovery and build
our resilience to future shocks and stresses.
Reforms to support the
ongoing national recovery
To support our national recovery, we need collective action
from governments and industry, which combines both investment and reform. We
have seen significant investment in the infrastructure sector throughout
Australia in recent years. To continue the national recovery, we need to pursue
reforms that unlock the full benefits of stimulus spending through targeted
reform to deliver better and more resilient infrastructure services. To do this
in Australia, we need to focus on:
- Supporting growth
outside our largest cities, in regional centres and Northern Australia.
- Invest in
transformative technology to deliver affordable and sustainable infrastructure
- Promoting changes to the behaviour around
infrastructure use, empowering Australians to make sustainable choices.
- Improving transparency and coordination of the
project pipeline and reforms to improve industry productivity.
collaboration across infrastructure delivery to support productivity and
our reform agenda
Our role is to work
collaboratively alongside government, industry, and the community to
support the implementation of reforms needed in the infrastructure sector.
To support the adoption and
implementation of reforms across government and industry, we worked to
ensure the reform agenda outlined in the 2021 plan was practical and
actionable. Therefore, each reform incorporates a recommendation, which is
supported by interim outcomes and a series of enabling
activities. We also identified parties to sponsor, lead and
support reform as well as the time-period for their adoption.
Notwithstanding this, we believe the
challenge of progressing reform is a shared one – that is why
Infrastructure Australia stands ready to partner with all levels of government
and industry to support the implementation of reform.