New guiding principles to promote sustainability outcomes across the infrastructure sector

Publication Date
12 April 2021

Infrastructure Australia has released new guiding principles to promote sustainability across the infrastructure sector and ensure major investments deliver the best outcomes for the community.

Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew said: “Our role requires us to help ensure the benefits of sustainability are harnessed. With this in mind, we have developed new Sustainability Principles to guide our own approach to sustainability and drive change across the sector. Ultimately, we want to ensure that community needs are properly understood and met through the efficient delivery of sustainable infrastructure.  

“Infrastructure needs to consider sustainability due to the scale of investments, the long life of assets and the potential impact projects can have on communities. This has only been amplified in an age of increasing uncertainty, resource scarcity, disruption, climate change and extreme weather events. It is now critical that infrastructure is delivered in a manner which produces sustainable outcomes.

  1. Australia’s view is that sustainability and sustainable infrastructure are contingent on balancing social, economic, environmental and governance considerations. Balancing outcomes across each of these four areas will help communities to be functioning and fair, while not adversely impacting future generations and the planet.
  1. hope is that the Sustainability Principles provide clear strategic direction to governments at all levels and the infrastructure sector around how to promote sustainable infrastructure and better community outcomes.

“Sustainability is already a key consideration in our reform and investment recommendations. In publishing these new guiding Principles, we are making an even greater commitment to promote, support, reflect and communicate sustainability across our work.

“The Principles set clear and transparent expectations on how sustainability will be considered in future advice and publications, including the Infrastructure Priority List, revised Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework and the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan,” Ms Madew said.

Delivering sustainable infrastructure

Sustainable infrastructure refers to the network and system, equipment and assets designed to meet the population's essential service needs in a sustainable manner. This results in infrastructure that is planned, designed, procured, constructed and operated to optimise social, economic, environmental and governance outcomes over an asset’s life.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit emphasised the benefits of adopting sustainability enhancing approaches to infrastructure assets and the associated risks of inaction.

Key sustainable infrastructure identifiers include:

  • Protects and preserves ecological processes required to maintain human health and the functioning of natural systems.
  • Enables economic development while limiting negative effects on the environment and enhancing quality-of-life.
  • Represents the efficient use of financial resources or reduces life-cycle costs.

The Sustainability Principles are now on the Infrastructure Australia website.

Media Contact: Elizabeth Kelleher-Cook, 0428 163 090