New funding announced for Infrastructure Priority List proposals

Publication Date
12 May 2021

In this edition:

  • Highlights from the Federal Budget
  • Second Sydney Harbour tunnel added to the Infrastructure Priority List
  • A new approach to the Infrastructure Priority List
  • Infrastructure Sector Compass: a new tool to help you build partnerships
  • In the news

Highlights from the Federal Budget

The Australian Government announced an additional $15.2 billion for infrastructure projects in Tuesday's Federal Budget.

This includes new funding to progress 15 early-stage investment opportunities highlighted in the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List:

The budget also included additional funding commitments to progress two investment-ready proposals on the list – METRONET: High Capacity Signalling (WA) and Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade (Qld) – and deliver projects that recently graduated off the Priority List, including the Gold Coast Light Rail: Stage 3M12 Motorway and Gawler Rail Line Electrification.

We are proud that the Infrastructure Priority List remains a vital resource to direct investment towards projects that will improve productivity, support the national COVID-19 recovery and enhance quality of life for our communities.

The importance of a robust, evidence based investment pipeline has only increased as we look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the impacts of floods and bushfires, long-lasting drought, and a changing climate.



Sydney Harbour Bridge

Second Sydney Harbour tunnel added to the Priority List

Last week, we added the New South Wales Government’s proposal for a second Sydney Harbour tunnel as a Priority Project on the Infrastructure Priority List.

This proposal for a Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade aims to ease congestion on one of the Sydney’s busiest growth corridors. Our evaluation confirmed that delivering this proposal is a national priority.

The proposal involves constructing a 6.5 km twin three-lane motorway from the Rozelle Interchange to the Warringah Freeway near North Sydney. It also includes an upgrade of the Warringah Freeway between the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Willoughby Road.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel are critical transport links – carrying more than 250,000 vehicles each weekday as people travel into the CBD and through to other parts of the city. By 2031, this is expected to increase to 300,000 as Sydney’s population grows.

Without an additional harbour crossing, we expect additional traffic and delays around the Sydney CBD, impacting community access to schools, work and essential services.

Our 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that congestion on this part of the road network could cost the NSW economy more than $780,000 per day by 2031.

Read a summary of our evaluation

A new approach to the Infrastructure Priority List

From April 2021, only proposals that are yet to receive funding from the Australian Government will be considered for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List.

We are making this change to ensure the Priority List continues to provide a clearly defined pipeline of investment-ready proposals.

Infrastructure Australia will continue to review business cases where a funding commitment of $250 million or more has been made by the Australian Government. However, the evaluation of funded proposals will focus on identifying delivery risks and opportunities to realise project benefits.

Evaluations released for two new funded projects

Last week, Infrastructure Australia published its independent evaluation of the business cases for the following two Australian Government funded proposals:

All business case evaluation summaries are available on our website.

Infrastructure Sector Compass displayed on a laptop

A new tool to help you build partnerships in the sector

Recently, we launched a public beta version of a new interactive tool on our website:

Infrastructure Sector Compass

We have developed the Infrastructure Sector Compass to help infrastructure professionals, and the community, navigate the sectors.

How to use this tool:

With the Sector Compass, you can:

  • find out about other industry and government organisations that make up the Australian and New Zealand infrastructure sectors. You can find the organisations in a particular sector (such as water or transport), or those that do similar tasks (such as construction or finance).
  • update your own details to encourage other organisations to connect with you.

Add you details and give your feedback 

This version is an early public beta release and is still under development. Some organisation records currently contain data that are not substantiated or contemporary. We encourage you to use the webforms to send us your feedback to help us strengthen the tool.

We will continually improve the Sector Compass to make it more useful to you. With you help, we can make it easier to build partnerships in the sector.

A new infrastructure partner in the Northern Territory

We are pleased to have a new partner to collaborate with – the newly established the Infrastructure NT Commission.

The Infrastructure NT Comimission will plan for, coordinate and align infrastructure needs with industry and population growth, meeting the recommendation made by the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission.

We are proud of our close and collaborative relationship with infrastructure bodies around the country, and we are very pleased to welcome the Infrastructure NT Comimission into this group.

Read our media release

Speaking at the World Economic Forum

Last week, our Chief of Policy and Research, Peter Colacino, presented in a World Economic Forum panel discussion about shifting to a more collaborative approach to contracting for infrastructure delivery.

Drawing from experience in the UK and Hong Kong, as well as Australia, the discussion spoke to the potential for increased contract standardisation, the move to design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA), the evolution of the PPP model as well as the application of collaborative principles.

“We need to change perceptions of value-for-money. There is still a perception amongst some that lowest cost is always best, however we need to shift to a more sophisticated view of maximising public value. Short-termism and project-to-project performance will only ever deliver incremental result. Infrastructure lends itself to longer-term, broader public value, which necessitates collaboration and partnership,” Peter said.

Read our findings on collaboration in infrastructure delivery from the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, as well as our forthcoming Industry Productivity and Innovation work program.

Calling for a shift to resilience planning in the water sector

Our Chief of Infrastructure Assessment, David Tucker, spoke at the Ozwater'21 conference in Adelaide last week.

David highlighted how unprecedented infrastructure demand, severe drought and other environmental changes call for a particular focus on forward-thinking resilience strategies in the water sector:


The way infrastructure is planned, built and operated will need to change ... shifting from risk to resilience planning.

The infrastructure planning phase offers the most significant opportunity to plan for and achieve resilience. 


Infrastructure Australia is publishing a new Assessment Framework in June, with advice on resilience in infrastructure investment, including:

  • Physical climate risks
  • Risks associated with the transition to a low carbon economy
  • Community resilience to a broad range of shocks and stresses (in addition to climate shocks
  • Broader behaviour, technology or economic changes.

Read David's full speech.