The 2021 Infrastructure Priority List

Publication Date
26 February 2021

An investment roadmap for our economic recovery

Today, we are proud to launch the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List.

As we recover from COVID-19 – as well as the impacts of floods and bushfires, long-lasting drought, and a changing climate – the Priority List provides a critical pipeline of evidence-based investment opportunities for governments to progress in the near, medium and longer term.

This year’s Priority List features a record 44 new investment opportunities, across transport, energy, water, waste, telecommunications and social infrastructure. 

This is a consensus list – based on our own research, including the recent Australian Infrastructure Audit and our Infrastructure Beyond COVID-19 report, and submissions from state and territory governments, industry and the community.

We are grateful to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, our portfolio minister, who will be joining our online event at 11 AM to launch the Priority List, alongside our Chair Julianne Alroe, myself and our Chief of Infrastructure Prioritisation, Robin Jackson. (It's not too late to register for the event).  

Explore the Priority List

Read the media release

Register for the event

Highlights from the 2021 Priority List

  • 44 new proposals added this year, the most added in a single year.
  • 180 investment opportunities in total.
  • More than half of the investment opportunities benefit regional communities.

6 High Priority Projects, 17 Priority Projects, 48 High Priority Initiatives, 109 Priority Initiatives.

Key themes of the 2021 Priority List

  • International gateways: Opportunities to develop export gateways to support our international competitiveness.
  • Supporting regional communities: The Priority List places a strong focus on economic development and service quality for remote and regional communities. This includes proposals to drive digital connectivity, internet quality and digital health services.
  • New sources of energy: New proposals to expand the role of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market, enable hydrogen exports, invest in dispatchable energy sources and provide renewable energy to remote communities in the Northern Territory. 
  • Water security: Proposals to support water security in Perth and Greater Sydney; and to secure and utilise productive water in the Bowen Basin, South East Melbourne and the Barossa Valley.

Explore the Priority List

Regional Australia - identifying strengths and gaps

This year, Infrastructure Australia will be undertaking a review of regional strengths and gaps.

The project aims to build the infrastructure pipeline by identifying and prioritising regional gaps of potential national significance. It will also increase awareness of regional gaps by improving understanding of place-based infrastructure needs and identifying common themes across regional areas.

Infrastructure Australia’s review of regional strengths and infrastructure gaps will enable us to identify priority areas for further planning and analysis. By identifying these gaps, we hope to encourage governments, industry and the community to come forward with solutions to address these challenges.

The project is designed to bring a national perspective to regional development needs and complement existing state and territory strategies with industry and community priorities.

To ensure we get a full picture we will draw on state, territory and local infrastructure and regional development strategies, complementing their analysis with industry submissions and local consultation.

We will continue to keep you updated as the project progresses.

Assessment Framework: our major reset nears completion

We are currently finalising a major reset of the Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework, which details our methodology for assessing infrastructure proposals, and provides advice on best-practice proposal development.

This reset aims to make the Assessment Framework more practical for users, incorporate emerging themes and provide clear guidance on developing a submission for our assessment. 

Updates will: 

  • ensure the Assessment Framework continues to align with jurisdictional guidelines, to streamline the assessment process
  • provide a more holistic view of how proposals can demonstrate their benefits, beyond cost-benefit analysis, to better capture the value of proposals to the community
  • highlight the value of stakeholder endorsement in project development
  • provide more case studies to clearly demonstrate best-practice approaches

add technical guidelines to give clearer detail on specific proposal development processes, such as options analysis and how we assess program proposals

The five trends shaping infrastructure after COVID-19

Ahead of the release of the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List, I wrote a short piece for CEDA about how COVID-19 has affected Australia’s infrastructure needs and the five trends shaping our infrastructure future.

While the impacts of COVID-19 on Australian communities will continue to evolve, it is already clear that how we use and deliver infrastructure services will never be the same.

Read the article.

If you have any questions about our update to the Infrastructure Priority List, our regional gaps project, our update to the Assessment Framework, or any of our work, please reach out to us on  



Romilly Madew AO FTSE

Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Australia