CEO Newsletter

Publication Date
23 November 2021

In this edition: 

  • New IA data dashboards - risk and public infrastructure workforce supply
  • Read our Annual Report
  • Project Advisory & Evaluation team update
  • New paid parental leave policy
  • Have your say - Culture and Construction
  • In the media

New IA data dashboards

We've recently published new interactive data capabilities on our website. 

Infrastructure Risk Dashboard

The Infrastructure Risk Dashboard, established through our Market Capacity Program, is designed to help you focus on the right risks for your project.

It presents a library of common risks classified by project type and infrastructure sector, and maps these risks against climate information and four geographical community types as defined by Infrastructure Australia.

The accompanying National Study of Infrastructure Risk report includes an explanation of the methodology informing this analysis, and should be read in conjunction with this dashboard. 

Our Public Infrastructure Workforce Supply Dashboard provides you with an interactive way to understand and analyse supply and demand for the skills and occupations that constitute the public infrastructure workforce, as established through our Market Capacity Program.

The accompanying Infrastructure Workforce and Skills Supply report, including the detailed explanation of the modelling methodology employed, should be read in conjunction with this dashboard, as it provides a more detailed analysis and understanding of the occupational groups, occupations and roles that inform the data presented.

Read our Annual Report

In what has been a challenging year across the country, we're proud to publish our 2020-21 Annual Report

Throughout 2020-21, we have been working closely with Australia's governments to guide the COVID-19 investment and reform response. 

We also examined how COVID-19 may influence infrastructure demand and subsequent planning. 

We explored the emerging impacts of the pandemic through our report, Infrastructure Beyond COVID-19: A national study on the impacts of the pandemic on Australia, released in December 2020. 

The pandemic has shown we need to evolve and strengthen how we plan and deliver our infrastructure to ensure it continues to play a central part in our economy and supports our high standard of living.

Infrastructure Priority List

Earlier this year we released an update to the Infrastructure Priority List identifying a project pipeline with 180 investment opportunities, with more than half benefiting regional communities.

The Priority List provides a national, independently verified, evidence-based list of investment opportunities for governments of all levels to consider. 

It is informed by our own independent research, as well as extensive collaboration with government, industry and the community.

Key themes of the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List include:

  • Opportunities to develop export gateways to support Australia’s international competitiveness
  • Investment in new sources of energy and enabling infrastructure for hydrogen exports
  • Driving economic development in regional communities and improving digital connectivity
  • Investment to support digital health services in regional and remote Australia
  • Addressing challenges around strategic planning for water capture, use and management.

The 2021-22 Federal Budget included new funding for 13 investment opportunities that were included in the 2021 Priority List, and overall, 31 proposals on the Priority List received funding from the Australian Government. 

To help direct investment towards high-quality proposals with a proven need, from April 2021, only proposals that are yet to receive funding from the Australian Government are included in the Infrastructure Priority List.

Refresh of the Assessment Framework

In June 2021, an update to our Assessment Framework was launched. The revisions included broadening the Assessment Criteria to allow for more holistic review of a proposal’s potential benefits, in addition to those that can be monetised through traditional cost-benefit analysis. This enables Infrastructure Australia to better take account of benefits such as sustainability, resilience, and quality of life.

Changes in the refreshed Assessment Framework included: 

  • A simpler, four-stage process that aligns with state and territory frameworks
  • A clear and transparent definition of what makes a proposal nationally significant
  • Removing duplication. After Stage 1, there are no templates to complete, only detailed checklists to assist with submissions
  • Standardising the terminology in the Priority List
  • Improved guidance on options analysis, including the use of multicriteria analysis, rapid and detailed cost-benefit analysis
  • Encouraging wider application of post completion reviews
  • Recommending, but not requiring, that a business case includes at least two options in addition to the base case

Identifying in the Priority List which stage each proposal has reached, in line with the Assessment Framework stages.

Release of our first Sustainability Principles

In April 2021, we published our Sustainability Principles, explaining our approach to sustainability and how sustainability informs our work program. These principles were released to highlight the significant role infrastructure plans in promoting a sustainable community.

Our aim is to put sustainability front and centre, so that meeting the needs of the present doesn’t mean compromising the needs of future generations.

These principles inform our work:

  • The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan outlines practical and implementable sustainability reforms. Sustainability is a cross-cutting theme that is considered in each chapter of the 2021 Plan.
  • The refreshed Assessment Framework provides advice on how we assess sustainability and how proponents can consider it in their proposal development.
  • As a national investment pipeline, the Infrastructure Priority List can promote sustainable outcomes by identifying and then endorsing sustainable investment.

Release of our 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan

Whilst not part of the 2020-21 reporting year, in September 2021 we saw the release of the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan.

The Plan is a practical and actionable roadmap for infrastructure reform and was prepared and delivered at a critical time in Australia's history. It responds to the 180 infrastructure challenges and opportunities identified in our 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, as well as the infrastructure impacts of the pandemic.

The Plan provides Australia’s infrastructure sector with a 15-year roadmap to drive economic growth, maintain and enhance our standard of living and improve the resilience and sustainability of our essential infrastructure.

Release of our Market Capacity report

Although it did not fall under this reporting year, we also launched of the Infrastructure Market Capacity report in October 2021.

Our Market Capacity program responds to a request from COAG (now National Cabinet) to report on the capacity and capability of Australia's infrastructure market to deliver the forward infrastructure pipeline. 

Australia is on the cusp of an unprecedented wave of investment in public infrastructure projects, with investment in major public infrastructure over the next five years across Australia exceeding $218 billion. This scale of investment, and the rate of growth to achieve it, has never before been seen.

The scale of demand for skills and resources is highly likely to exceed the normal capacity increases expected in the market. Demand for plant, labour, equipment and materials to deliver the major public infrastructure pipeline over the next five years is forecast to be two-thirds higher than the previous five years (to 2019-20).

For the first time, our Infrastructure Market Capacity report provides a new evidence base for a comprehensive understanding of the supply and demand of the skills and materials critical to deliver Australia's major infrastructure pipeline, and associated risks in planning and delivery. This evidence base will also support decision making and help ensure value for money outcomes from our future infrastructure investments.

Reconciliation Action Plan

In May 2021, we completed our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) known as the Reflect RAP. This process has helped us to build new relationships externally, build cultural awareness internally and develop a vision for Infrastructure Australia’s unique value add to the to the national reconciliation movement.

These achievements have been strengthened by our open collaboration with stakeholders, which has fostered strong, trusting partnerships with our Federal, state and territory colleagues, as well as stakeholders from industry, academia, and the community.

We’re committed to providing research and advice to governments, industry and the community on the infrastructure investments and reforms that will benefit all Australians.

Infrastructure Project Advisory & Evaluation team

Infrastructure Australia has merged the Infrastructure Assessment and Infrastructure Prioritisation teams under the leadership of David Tucker, Chief of Infrastructure Project Advisory & Evaluation.

The Project Advisory & Evaluation team is responsible for evolving the Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework, maintaining the Infrastructure Priority List, and conducting evaluations for proposals seeking more than $250 million in Australian Government funding. David recently led a major refresh of the Assessment Framework, and will reprise his role in overseeing the Priority List, the national pipeline of investment priorities.

David joined Infrastructure Australia in 2018 after over 16 years with some of Australia’s top-tier consulting firms. His technical experience includes planning, design and evaluation across multiple industry sectors and covering each stage of the project lifecycle.

Paid Parental Leave Policy

Here at Infrastructure Australia we are proud to have, what we understand is the most flexible and equal paid parental leave scheme in the Australian Government.

Our new parental leave policy, announced last month, provides a new approach by:

  • removing the labels of 'primary' and 'secondary' carers – there are just ‘parents’
  • removing the requirement that parents take parental leave at different times
  • offering equal entitlements of 18 weeks to all parents
  • offering flexibility in how parental leave is taken e.g. in one block, multiple blocks, or a day or two a week for 12 months.

We want families to choose how they best manage their work and family lives, and our hope is that our experience will contribute to more reform in this space across government and industry.

With thanks to Parents at Work and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for their advice and guidance.

Culture in Construction

The Construction Industry Culture Taskforce has begun public consultation on their proposed industry Culture Standard – an evidence-based framework to improve working conditions for construction workers.

The first round of consultation focuses on exploring the practical steps that can be taken to improve the wellbeing of construction workers.

Congratulations to our former Board Member Gabrielle Trainor, who is Chair of the Taskforce. Addressing cultural issues in the construction section is a reform priority highlighted in the industry chapter of the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan.

To have your say on the actions to be taken to improve wellbeing click here.

Australian Broadband Advisory Council Construction Expert Working Group Survey

The Australian Broadband Advisory Council's Construction Expert Working Group is running a survey on connectivity and digital technology in the construction sector. Data is being collected on the take up and use of ConstructionTech, including the types of technology, level of investment and constraints to greater investment.

Survey results will be provided to the Council for its consideration, and will also be used as an important input into the Working Group's final report to the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts.

To complete the survey click here.

In the media

A selection of recent Infrastructure Australia media:

  • Infrastructure-led recovery will encounter cost and talent hurdles - Our CEO Romilly Madew writes about how unprecedented levels of infrastructure investment under way across Australia are severely constraining the sector, but there is a clear path forward if governments and industry are willing to both embrace reform and work collaboratively. Read the op-ed here.
  • Romilly Madew's address to the AHURI - Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic conference last week. Read here. 
  • Fear And Greed podcast: The infrastructure we need to grow our economy - Where do you start putting together a plan for what Australia needs to look like in 2036? On this episode Peter Colacino talks about how the 2021 Infrastructure Plan became a reality. Listen here.
  • Wizards of Aus: what the UK can learn from Australia's Market Capacity Report - Infrastructure reform is a challenge around the world, so we're pleased to see our Infrastructure Market Capacity research informing discussions in the UK through this piece by Steve Lee, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Policy Fellow for Improving UK Infrastructure Delivery. Read here.
  • Crisis alert! We need skilled people - Nous Group recently worked with us to take a deep-dive look at the future skill needs to build public infrastructure. Read their op-ed here.