Launch of Infrastructure Australia's refreshed Assessment Framework

Publication Date
16 July 2021

In this edition: 

  • Our refreshed Assessment Framework
  • Submissions open for 2022 Infrastructure Priority List
  • Policy & Research update
  • New Infrastructure Australia email addresses
  • In the news

Refreshed Assessment Framework

Infrastructure Australia is proud to publish our major refresh of the Assessment Framework.

The 2021 edition includes broadened 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, which are covered in expanded guidance in this edition.

Read the refreshed Assessment Framework
Submit a Proposal
Frequently Asked Questions

The 2021 edition responds to input from stakeholders, aligns with state and territory approaches, and builds on our own research and experience from assessing infrastructure proposals. 

"One of the clear messages we have heard from stakeholders around the country, is that they wanted the Assessment Framework to provide more support for the consideration of broader community benefits that can be delivered through major infrastructure investment,” said Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

Key changes

Since the last edition, we've made a number of changes, including:

  • 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 multi-criteria 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. 

To find out more about the key changes in this edition, register to attend our upcoming webinar on the 2021 Assessment Framework.

Considering broader social and community outcomes

Our refreshed Assessment Framework requires proponents to use robust analysis (drawing on quantitative and qualitative evidence) to demonstrate the merit of each proposal across three overarching Assessment Criteria.

A table showing Infrastructure Australia's Assessment Criteria: Strategic Fit, Societal Impact and Deliverability
Our Assessment Criteria

When will the 2021 Assessment Framework take effect?

Acknowledging submissions may already be in development, Infrastructure Australia has staggered the timing around when proponents are required to follow the new guidelines:

  • Stage 1 submissions are expected to adopt the new guidance immediately.
  • Stage 2 and Stage 3 submissions are expected to align with the new guidance from 1 January 2022.

Infrastructure Australia is already working to embed the new Assessment Framework in internal work practices and develop new training materials for our stakeholders.

Call for submissions - 2022 Infrastructure Priority List

Submissions to the February 2022 publication of the Infrastructure Priority List have formally opened.

It is crucial that Australia has a comprehensive and robust infrastructure pipeline to guide our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Infrastructure Priority List provides evidence based advice to support an informed discussion about Australia’s unfunded investment priorities.

Submissions for the 2022 Infrastructure Priority List update will close 3 September 2021.

The Priority List is a living document and we update the List throughout the year as assessments are completed. Submissions received after 31 August 2021 will be considered for future updates of the List.

Find out more about submissions for the 2022 Infrastructure Priority List update. 

Tonkin Highway Extension Evaluation Summary 

We are pleased to publish our Business Case Evaluation for the Tonkin Highway Extension Project

The Tonkin Highway Extension proposal involves the construction of a 14 km extension of the Tonkin Highway from Thomas Road to the South Western Highway. It is intended to improve access to the south-eastern suburbs, reduce travel times, improve travel efficiency and improve safety.

We have evaluated the business case in accordance with the revised Statement of Expectations, which requires Infrastructure Australia to evaluate project proposals that are nationally significant or where Australian Government funding of $250 million or more is sought.

The Tonkin Highway Extension – Thomas Road to South Western Highway proposal is subject to an Australian Government funding commitment of $404 million, and  is one of a number of infrastructure investment decisions being accelerated by the Western Australian Government as part of its COVID-19 response and recovery.

Policy and Research 

Australian Infrastructure Plan

In August 2021, Infrastructure Australia will release the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan (the Plan).

In developing the 2021 Plan, we aim to provide Australia’s governments with a practical reform pathway focused on supporting the national COVID-19 recovery, and improving the resilience and adaptability of our infrastructure in the face of global shocks and trends.

Stakeholder engagement on the Plan continues. Thank you to the more than 5,000 stakeholders around the country who have consulted with us on this important piece of work.

Market Capacity Program

In parallel to the development of the Australian Infrastructure Plan, we are also responding to a request from COAG (now National Cabinet) to report on the capacity and capability of the market to deliver the forward infrastructure pipeline.

Our Market Capacity Program is seeking to improve pipeline transparency, and our understanding of the forward demand on skills and materials demand across Australia. A more complete picture of the pipeline, working with states and territories to share data, will over time, enable us to better predict and manage the peaks, and risk of overheating markets.

This is a multi-year program of work that will build an increasing evidence base to inform decision making over time, and across state and territory borders. We will be reporting in August to Australia’s First Secretaries Group.

Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps

We are currently finalising our Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps project, which is designed to bring a national perspective to the diverse infrastructure needs facing Australia’s regions. To ensure we have the best possible understanding of each local context, we have collaborated with the Regional Development Australia (RDA) network - through which we've consulted with close to 800 local representatives across 48 sessions.

Our review of will enable us to support the diverse strengths of our regions and identify priority areas for further planning and analysis.

The data and evidence developed during this project will help to inform future submissions to the Infrastructure Priority List, and other funding programs, as well as our own identification of regional needs. We are currently finalising our report, which we expect to release in August.

New Infrastructure Australia email addresses

From 1 July Infrastructure Australia has operated from a new ICT system.

As part of the new system, all staff email addresses will change to:

                           firstname.surname@infrastructureaustralia.gov.au

Correspondence sent to existing email addresses after this date will be auto-forwarded to our staff at their new email address. 

Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic

Infrastructure Australia is pleased to sponsor the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute's (AHURI) Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic conference, taking place on 29 July 2021.

The conference will examine Australia’s population dynamics as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the delivery of critical social infrastructure to support our changing cities and the particular urban transport challenges emerging from the pandemic.

Our CEO Romilly Madew will be providing a keynote address, outlining the economic case for quality, accessible and future-focused social infrastructure.

Register for the Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic conference.

Expression of Interest – Infrastructure Assessment & Prioritisation

We are seeking enthusiastic and forward-thinking infrastructure professionals for a variety of levels including Director, Associate Director, Manager and Advisor who will assist us to:

  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders on developing the Priority List as a long-term pipeline of high-quality infrastructure proposals to guide government investment.
  • Engage with stakeholders (including Infrastructure Australia’s other work functions) on infrastructure development practices, emerging trends and policy issues.
  • Undertake research, develop new guidance and deliver training on best-practice approaches to infrastructure planning and appraisal.
  • Manage the procurement, engagement and ongoing relationships with specialist contractors.

Read the Expression of Interest information.

Apply by 25 July to submit a general application to be considered for any suitable current/future opportunities.

In the news

Before the lockdown in Sydney, Infrastructure Australia addressed

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly
  • The Committee for Brisban's South East Queensland Data and Digital Blueprint
  • Regional Development Australia's (RDA) Forum

ALGA National General Assembly

Romilly Madew spoke at ALGA’s 2021 National General Assembly in Canberra, providing insight into our Assessment Framework and inviting local government to submit proposals for the 2022 Infrastructure Priority List.

“It is vital that local government is meaningfully engaged in infrastructure planning and decision-making – regardless of the scale of the project or reform opportunity,” Romilly said.

“This is key to ensuring our infrastructure networks and assets are productive, reliable and resilient, and support our communities for years to come.”

Read the full speech here

We also warmly thank and acknowledge Adrian Beresford-Wyllie for his contribution to local government in Australia, as he finishes up as Chief Executive of the Australian Local Government Association after 15 years.

South East Queensland Data and Digital Blueprint

Romilly Madew joined Chair Julieanne Alroe at the The Committee for Brisbane's South East Queensland Data and Digital Blueprint event.

In her keynote address, Romilly shared that “the pace and scale of technological change today provides profound opportunities to improve quality of life for our communities, provide better access to services, adjust to changing customer needs and grow new industries.”

“To enable our cities to reach their full potential as smart, connected and liveable, we need to fully understand the levers of change and ensure we have the right models in place to keep pace and plan for better infrastructure outcomes.”

Read the full speech here

We’ll have more to share about the opportunities afforded by data and digitalisation when we publish the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan later this year.

RDA Forum

Our Chief of Policy & Research Peter Colacino addressed Regional Development Australia’s RDA Forum, outlining Infrastructure Australia’s place-based approach to infrastructure planning and the importance of a staged approach to regional development.

We are proud to be partnering with the RDA network to deliver our new research into regional strengths and infrastructure gaps, which is due for release in coming months.

Led by Helen Machalias and Carmen Pennisi, this research has seen Infrastructure Australia host stakeholder roundtables in every region across Australia.

It aims to support a vision for a strong regional Australia by putting a national spotlight on local infrastructure needs across our diverse regions.