As Australia’s governments prepare to meet to discuss a national response to the challenges of accommodating growth in our largest cities, Infrastructure Australia has today released a new report advocating for a greater focus on strategic planning.
Australia’s largest cities are growing and changing at a rate not seen for more than 50 years. This brings economic, social, and cultural opportunities for our cities, but if they are to remain great places to live, we need to plan cities in a way that works for the community.
It is fair to say that Australian communities are increasingly disappointed in their experience of growth. This sentiment is understandable when too many communities have witnessed the delivery of poor-quality housing development, which is not well integrated into the local area and not accompanied by the infrastructure and services needed to support it.
However, as we argue in our new report, Planning Liveable Cities: A place-based approach to sequencing infrastructure and growth, it is possible to grow our cities and retain their liveability and unique character. However, we need to be smarter about how we plan for it.
The newest report in our infrastructure Reform Series, Planning Liveable Cities recommends substantial planning, funding, and governance reforms to ensure Australia’s governments are appropriately coordinating the delivery of new housing in growing cities with the additional infrastructure and services needed to support it.
Planning Liveable Cities proposes a ‘place-based’ approach to infrastructure planning. This approach is built on collaboration across levels of government and with industry, and a vision of infrastructure needs through the lens of outcomes for a place and community, rather than outcomes for a single project.
With 2018 coming to a close, I would like to thank those who have worked with Infrastructure Australia over the past 12 months to raise the quality of infrastructure planning and delivery.
Over the past year, Infrastructure Australia has delivered on our mandate to prioritise and progress nationally significant infrastructure, assessing new projects for inclusion in the Infrastructure Priority List and releasing new advice to government, industry and the community on the reforms needed to deliver world-class infrastructure in our cities and regions.
In 2018, we added nine new projects to the Infrastructure Priority List, the authoritative list of nationally significant investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.
This included projects to relieve growing congestion pressures in our cities, such as North East Link (VIC), Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 (VIC), and METRONET: Yanchep Rail Extension (WA), and projects that are making better use of existing assets, such as Brisbane Metro (QLD), and the Gawler Rail Line Electrification and Modernisation (SA).
We have continued to collaborate with government and industry stakeholders to improve the quality of business cases and decision-making, delivering 10 Business Case Improvement workshops across the country, attended by close to 300 stakeholders, and updating our Assessment Framework, which provides guidance on how initiatives and projects are assessed for inclusion in the Infrastructure Priority List.
This year, we also published Prioritising Reform, which provides an update on the progress of infrastructure reform against the recommendations in the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan, as well as the Infrastructure Decision-making Principles, which set a new benchmark for transparency and accountability in infrastructure decision-making.
We also released four new papers as part of our infrastructure Reform Series. Along with Planning Liveable Cities, released today, in 2018 we published Future Cities: Planning for our growing population, Making Reform Happen: Using incentives to drive a new era of infrastructure reform and Outer Urban Public Transport: Improving accessibility in lower-density areas.
The year to come: The 2019 Infrastructure Priority List and the Australian Infrastructure Audit
Australia’s infrastructure needs are changing rapidly, making it more important than ever that we extract the greatest value from our infrastructure investments and prioritise the projects that have proven benefits for our cities and regions.
Early next year, Infrastructure Australia will publish the 2019 Infrastructure Priority List. Based on more than 100 new submissions from state and territory governments, industry and the community, it is a consensus list of evidence-based proposals that will deliver better infrastructure services for our communities and support Australia’s continued prosperity.
In 2019, Infrastructure Australia will also deliver the next Australian Infrastructure Audit. With a focus on quality, accessibility, and affordability, the Audit will identify and assess the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the Australian infrastructure sector over the next 15 years.
Together, these documents will create a cross-sectoral picture of our infrastructure challenges to help guide infrastructure decision-making and reform.
Once again, I would like to thank you all for your continued support. We look forward to collaborating with you in the coming year and wish you all a safe and restful Christmas break.
Acting Chief Executive