Renewing Infrastructure Australia

The Albanese Government is acting to restore Infrastructure Australia to its rightful place as an expert advisory body of national significance.

Infrastructure Australia was established in 2008 by the now Prime Minister to provide the Commonwealth with advice on developing the infrastructure investments Australia needs for a better future.

It was set up to be a rigorous, expert, independent body to provide advice to the Commonwealth Government about priority infrastructure investments.

But the former government left Infrastructure Australia to drift with a lack of clear direction, partisan board appointments and an unwieldy list of projects. It is time for renewal.

The Government commissioned a review of Infrastructure Australia in July by Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdak to recommend a new way forward, and the Government thanks them for their work.

I would also like to thank the staff of Infrastructure Australia for their patience and understanding as the review has been conducted.

That review is complete and its recommendations and government response have been considered by Cabinet.

It recommended Infrastructure Australia have a clearer purpose with a legislated mandate, and that its role as a national adviser be enhanced and that its governance structure be reformed.

The changes the Government will put in place will result in a stronger, more focused Infrastructure Australia with a mandate to oversee projects from idea to completion so the significant investment by taxpayers is spent wisely and well for their benefit.

Infrastructure Australia will        

  • produce a more refined, smaller, targeted Infrastructure Priority List;
  • develop a national planning and assessment framework to support national consistency in infrastructure assessment;
  • adopt a more active role in the post completion stage of infrastructure projects;
  • adopt a structure for Infrastructure Australia to work closely with the infrastructure bodies (i-bodies) set up by states and territories.

Infrastructure Australia will also be led by a new governance model, with the current board to be replaced by three commissioners supported by an advisory board with experts from Infrastructure and related sectors and senior public service officials. The Government will make announcements about transitional arrangements for the current board in the near future.

Some of these changes will require legislation but others will commence as soon as practicable.

These decisions will strengthen the foundations for better decisions on significant infrastructure investment with better outcomes for Australians.

They add to the Government’s decisions already taken to improve the way we consider and deliver infrastructure for Australians such as revitalising proper urban policy to bring back national leadership to the sustainable development of our cities.

We have introduced the regional precincts and partnership program to provide transformative investment to regional and rural communities and support the transition to cleaner and cheaper energy.

With these strengthened foundations, we can build the infrastructure Australia needs to connect people and opportunity, to connect people with each other, and to leave a lasting legacy.