Infrastructure Australia gets Budget funding to advise on COVID recovery

The 2020-21 Federal Budget committed additional funding for Infrastructure Australia to provide reform and investment advice in support of the infrastructure-led COVID-19 recovery.

The organisation has announced this funding will ensure it is resourced to:

  • Expand the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan to respond to COVID-19
  • Lead new research on the capacity of the infrastructure sector to deliver the investment pipeline
  • Conduct an 18-month comprehensive reset of the Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework, the basis for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List.

 

Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Romilly Madew said the organisation are pleased to receive additional resources to advise Australia’s governments on the investments and reforms needed to accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s Budget has provided further investment in a sector already undertaking record levels of activity. This additional funding will support improved planning and decision-making to avoid constraints and overheating in the sector, reflective of the impacts of COVID-19,” Madew said.

“This expanded role for Infrastructure Australia as the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor speaks to the importance of infrastructure in the COVID-19 recovery and the Australian Government’s ongoing support for independent oversight.”

In an extension of work first requested by the Prime Minister and other First Ministers at COAG in March, Infrastructure Australia has been tasked with delivering annual analytical assessments of infrastructure market capacity.

“As Australia looks to catalyse economic growth, understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on infrastructure needs to be a priority. Infrastructure Australia’s research will bring together Commonwealth, State and Territory and industry data to provide an annual snapshot of market capacity to support targeted investment and reform,” Madew said.

She said before the pandemic, Australia was struggling to address challenges like population growth in cities and other major shifts that impacted how people use infrastructure.

“COVID-19 has shown we need to think differently about how we plan for times of uncertainty. Beyond capital projects, we need to focus on reform to shape Australia’s long-term recovery response.”

This funding will provide an opportunity for collaboration with government, industry and community to get the long term settings right she said.

“This begins with ensuring the next Australian Infrastructure Plan presents the best possible reform response to COVID-19 – guiding Australia’s long-term recovery and providing a blueprint for lasting reform.”

She said Infrastructure Australia are pleased to have the opportunity to conduct a major reset of the Assessment Framework for the Infrastructure Priority List.

“Communities rightly expect decisions on public infrastructure projects to be robust, transparent and accountable. We want to ensure that our assessment process continues to champion this, while also supporting quality proposal development and enabling publicly-funded projects to come to market quickly. Harmonising and streamlining Infrastructure Australia’s Framework with State and Commonwealth guidelines will be a key focus of this project,” Madew said.

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