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Kim Clarke at the 2017 Australian Infrastructure Dialogue

Expert Reference Group

Inspired by customer-led infrustructure
The Expert Reference Group is working to build consensus on a customer stewardship model to improve long-term outcomes for customers & communities.

Working with industry leaders, the Better Infrastructure Initiative is building consensus on customer stewardship and community practices to improve long-term outcomes for society by developing its customer stewardship framework into a measurement indicator through expert opinion.

Our purpose

  1. To build the case for policy reform & cultural change in support of customer-led infrastructure.
  2. To develop tools that use data, case examples, models and frameworks to deliver quality long-term customer outcomes for infrastructure.

This will be highly consultative, guided by an industry-based Expert Reference Group (ERG) that initially met in February 2018. The group is chaired by Adjunct Professor Les Hosking.  

The Expert Reference Group first meet in February 2018.

There was great senior representation across the entire infrastructure sector, including Alinta Energy, Azcende, Brisbane Airport Corporation, The Customer Experience Company, (Federal) Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, EnergyAustralia, John Grill Centre for Project Leadership, John Holland Group, National Australia Bank, NSW Data Analytics Centre, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, Powering Australian Renewables Fund, QIC, Sydney Airport, Sydney Water, Transport for NSW (state), Transurban and the University of Sydney.

The meeting focused on how to improve long-term outcomes for customers & communities. 

The group convenes in February, May, August and November 2018.

Adjunct Professor Les Hosking

Les Hosking chairs the customer stewardship framework Expert Reference Group established by the John Grill Centre's Better Infrastructure Initiative.

A word from Les Hosking, Chair of the Expert Reference Group

The work of the John Grill Centre's Better Infrastructure Initiative explores how the nation can be better served by customer-led infrastructure, an important area for setting the 2018 agenda. It has been the cornerstone of my career that infrastructure solutions should, wherever possible, be timely, scaled, feasible and capital-lite.  

Dictionaries define infrastructure as the basic physical and organisational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. A broad composition of infrastructure includes the range of facilities that provide land, sea and air transport, water supply, waste management, energy and telecommunications but also the policy, planning, financing, ownership and management of the assets.

Many current community frustrations with infrastructure development arise from the fact that decisions about when, where and who pays, are being determined by political decisions and resultant management and regulatory practices that limit management practices to over rely on cost cutting, rate of return measures and election driven deadlines. While all these approaches are driven by good intentions they are too often flawed because they lack clear identification of accountable and transparent long term customer outcomes.

Following the October 2017 release of Policy Outlook Paper no. 4, ‘Building a national consensus: Why Customer Stewardship matters’, the establishment of an Expert Reference Group (ERG) commenced and I accepted the invitation from Garry Bowditch to be its Chair.

The ERG will help advise on how to develop tools and information that provides all stakeholders including investors, regulators, policy makers, customers and communities with quality and independent information that assists in assessing delivery and whole of life management of infrastructure that meets long-term customer needs and preferences. This will help enable customers and service providers to exchange information, understand drivers of change and consequently ultimately deliver identifiable tangible benefits for customers, community and business.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the ERG.

Should you have any thoughts and any suggestions that may assist the ERG in championing the role of the customer in all aspects of the infrastructure life cycle, please feel free to contact us by email

This article was written by Les Hosking, Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney. 

Customer stewardship can ensure better services and help resist the expensive build-first mentality of the past.
Garry Bowditch, Executive Director, Better Infrastructure Initiative