Independent review ordered for Infrastructure Australia

Infrastructure-Australia-review

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The newly elected Australian Government has ordered an independent review of Infrastructure Australia (IA) in order to assess its role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities.

Led by Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdrak AO will consider IA’s role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities.

This review is an important first step in restoring Infrastructure Australia to its rightful place as an expert advisory body of national significance. The Government looks forward to rejuvenating IA, helping the Commonwealth deliver a better future for all Australians through its infrastructure policy and investment decisions.

“Our nation has big challenges ahead, whether that be in dealing with population growth, managing skills shortages, decarbonising the transport and infrastructure sector or dealing with the uptake of electric vehicles,” says the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King. 

“This review and the changes it proposes will be essential in ensuring that the Australian Government receives the expert and non-partisan advice it needs to build a better future,” says the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King. 

The review’s Terms of Reference are set out below. A draft report is expected within three months, and a final report shortly after that.

Independent Review of Infrastructure Australia

Terms of Reference

1. The Review will examine Infrastructure Australia’s (IA’s) role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities, and its capacity to deliver on this role.

2. The Review will make recommendations on reforms that may be required to ensure IA can fully deliver on its responsibilities, including but not limited to:

a. Functions

i. The advice and products for which IA is responsible, and whether these remain fit-for-purpose

ii. How IA’s work relates to creating state-level infrastructure bodies, and iii. how IA’s position addresses the priorities and requirements of the Australian Government.

b. Governance and Administration

i. The optimal size, mandate, responsibilities, and composition of the IA Board, including the experience, skills, and expertise of members

ii. Whether IA’s administrative arrangements are appropriate to support the delivery of its role and functions, and

iii. IA’s relationship with the responsible Minister.

c. Legislation

i. Any legislative changes that may be required.

3. The Review will be conducted by Independent Reviewers and supported by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

4. The Review will provide a report to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia

Commentary

In the latest interview with the Guardian, Catherine King, the new infrastructure minister said some Coalition projects will be scrapped.

Last year, at The Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Summit, she announced that an Albanese Labor government would commission an independent review of Infrastructure Australia and advise on what changes may be needed to IA’s focus, priorities and legislation.

Just 15% of projects announced by the Coalition government were endorsed as priorities by Infrastructure Australia.

According to the GrattanInstitute, in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, only one of the Coalition’s 71 promised transport projects valued at $100 million or more had a business case approved by Infrastructure Australia, while for Labor, it was two projects of 61.

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