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Re-establishing Australia's Global Infrastructure Leadership

The first paper from the Better Infrastructure Initiative

This paper provides 10 key recommendations vital to reforming Australia's infrastructure planning and project execution.

Date of publication: February 2016

The first paper for the Better Infrastructure Initiative, Re-establishing Australia's Global Infrastructure Leadership, was written by the John Grill Centre’s Head of Infrastructure, Gary Bowditch. The paper outlines key recommendations for improving Australia’s infrastructure. These recommendations form the basis of the Better Infrastructure Initiative project.

Key recommendations from the paper


Better infrastructure service provision for all Australians, rather than just more infrastructure, is the key to more community acceptance, value for money and, in turn, helping to re-establish Australia’s global infrastructure leadership.


Governments should rebalance their infrastructure priorities by assessing a full suite of options, especially capital-saving and service outcome focused projects, wherever it is more efficient to do so.


All three levels of government in Australia should commit to actively facilitating market development opportunities with pricing for quality service outcomes that see infrastructure businesses engaging with customers, not policymakers lobbying voters.


Where markets are not possible, governments must reform infrastructure procurement practices so they become the buyer of infrastructure services (not assets), and pay on the basis of performance and outcomes.


All infrastructure development should be an opportunity for innovation and productivity growth through a dynamic supplier community centred on customers and risk management.


Governments must commit to developing effective market design capabilities that champion collaboration, systems thinking and contestability in resolving infrastructure priorities. Enabling a customer-led infrastructure services market that openly tests whole of government and network considerations should form a critical element of project approval.


Every government is responsible for evidence-based policy development and decision-making; however, calls to address this in infrastructure have been inadequate and urgent action is required to ensure these principles are applied.


Enhanced community engagement is a pressing infrastructure priority; an infrastructure services market focused on customers (and stakeholders) is a direct and practical means of seeking community input.


Infrastructure Australia, state equivalents (plus G20 Global Infrastructure Hub) should be directed to establish a national/global infrastructure performance information network – a repository to inform current and future policymakers on past projects and infrastructure-related reforms.


Governments must continuously invest in the next generation of political and bureaucratic leadership to enhance their experience, understanding and collaborative skills needed for integrated long-term planning, project execution and whole-of-life management of infrastructure networks.

Re-establishing Australia's Global Infrastructure Leadership

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