‘Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2023’ introduced to give Infrastructure Australia more influence over Government decision-making on major infrastructure investment.
The Albanese Government has introduced the Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023 into Parliament to implement reforms that will restore Infrastructure Australia as the Commonwealth’s premier adviser on major infrastructure investment.
The legislation is part of the Albanese Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Review of Infrastructure Australia. The review was undertaken in 2022 and was a significant election commitment.
The changes are an important step in restoring IA to its rightful place as the Commonwealth Government’s independent infrastructure adviser.
“Irrespective of the changes, the most important change will be government listening to Infrastructure Australia’s advice—otherwise what is the point of having them,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
“ACA has supported Infrastructure Australia’s reform recommendations but implementation by government has been non-existent,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
“Government needs to urgently enact these reforms as the health of the industry is too important to ignore. The next critical step is the Federal Government using its buying power to accelerate reforms,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
This is another step in repairing the damage done to IA under the Liberals and Nationals which impaired the organisation’s effectiveness, sidelined its advice and stacked the board with their mates.
The Albanese Government will position Infrastructure Australia to achieve its core purpose in providing quality independent advice to the Australian Government on infrastructure that supports the economy, builds the nation and addresses the challenges and opportunities of the future.
A number of the Review’s major recommendations will be implemented through legislative change, with the remainder to be largely implemented through a revised Statement of Expectations.
The Bill defines IA’s mandate, refines the product suite to better support government investment objects, allows a well targeted Infrastructure Priority List and improves evaluation functions.
It also puts in place a new governance structure made up of three expert commissioners in place of the existing board. The Commissioners will be supported by an advisory council.
The changes will provide IA with a clear purpose, streamlined functions that align with the Australian Government’s strategic infrastructure priorities.
ACA has developed a way for the Federal Government to expedite reforms through a new ratings initiative called the Future Australian Infrastructure Rating (FAIR).
“FAIR would enable greater sharing of learnings that would significantly help the industry to improve,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
“Already there is a provision for state and territory delivery agencies to submit post completion reports to Infrastructure Australia under the National Partnership Agreement, but this rarely occurs,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
“FAIR would provide a mechanism for Infrastructure Australia to ensure agencies fulfilled this requirement. Under the FAIR initiative, an online database of learnings and innovations from projects would be established where industry and clients alike can identify ways to improve on upcoming projects,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
“The sharing of lessons learned is just one benefit of the FAIR initiative—the opportunity to implement reforms that will improve industry productivity, diversity, technology adoption and more are limitless,” says Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies.
Making good decisions is critical to making sure no one is held back and no one is left behind.
It is critical to productivity, to economic growth and opportunity and to ensure the best investments at a time when the budget is in need of repair.
A Labor Government set up Infrastructure Australia and only a Labor Government will ensure it is once more a respected and trusted institution.
The male-dominated construction industry in Australia and New Zealand has high rates of mental health issues and suicide.
Following a review, the Australian Government has announced the removal of funding for fifty infrastructure projects across the country.