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Australian Infrastructure - City rail in Sydney


Addressing the key infrastructure challenges Australia faces

The Better Infrastructure Initiative (BII) works with a network of global partners to address key challenges in Australian infrastructure, with a particular focus on project economics and governance, finance and funding.

Initiative overview

The case for reforming infrastructure planning and spending

More than $500 billion has been invested in Australian infrastructure over the past decade. This sum is double the amount spent in the previous decade. Our research shows there is a widening infrastructure services deficit, with increased spending on infrastructure projects failing to deliver meaningful benefits. We estimate that up to $63 billion of road projects alone may have no social impact or economic output.

Infrastructure spending needs to work harder for communities and business, producing tangible benefits, increasing economic output, and improving social well-being.

"Infrastructure must serve a nation well. As Australia rises to the dynamic, economic, and social challenges ahead, so must the nation’s energy, transport, water, telecommunications and extensive social infrastructure and networks also adapt."
Dr Ken Henry AC Chairman and Non-Executive Director, National Australia Bank, Non-Executive Director, Australian Securities Exchange

Key areas of focus

Our applied research looks at improving infrastructure spending and planning by focusing on these key areas:

Project economics and governance

  • The importance of project selection and prioritisation.
  • What "better value for taxpayers’ dollars" means and identifying projects that will achieve meaningful social change or support economic output.
  • Sustainable ongoing management of public infrastructure.

Financing and funding

  • Policy and regulatory issues around long-term investors and asset owners in infrastructure.
  • The initiative will look at providing applied research and analytical tools for infrastructure investors. These tools will support better decision-making, taking into consideration regulatory and procurement risk and impact on asset valuation.

Our experts

The Initiative is led by Garry Bowditch, an active contributor to the debate on infrastructure governance and investment in Australia and globally. 

Meet the John Grill Centre team. 

Our solution

10 key propositions

Better infrastructure requires better long-term planning.


All infrastructure interventions should be scaled, targeted and feasible.


The biggest impediment to better infrastructure is lack of transparency.


Infrastructure businesses are better than infrastructure projects.


Land-use planning and infrastructure planning are the same thing.


Good project selection is paramount; financing is secondary.


Infrastructure is primarily about service outcomes to people and business.


Risk is a catalyst for more innovation.


Better infrastructure relies on strong institutional memory.


Leadership matters.