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To help us shape the future and the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, we are inviting government, stakeholders and the community to provide feedback and submissions on the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019.

We have structured the submissions portal so that you can provide your feedback and ideas for policy reform or project investment in three simple steps.

If your submissions include a specific project investment, you should provide supporting documents through our Infrastructure Priority List submission process.

Submissions to the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 have been extended until 31 December 2019.

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Showing issues identified within: Infrastructure services for users
Showing issues identified within: Industry efficiency, capacity and capability
Showing issues identified within: Passenger Transport
Showing issues identified within: Freight Transport
Freight Transport
Showing issues identified within: Social Infrastructure
Social Infrastructure
Showing issues identified within: Energy
Energy
Showing issues identified within: Telecommunications
Telecommunications
Showing issues identified within: Water
Showing issues identified within: Urban Transport Crowding and Congestion
Challenges & Opportunities (Optional)
Select an Issue
Showing C&O identified within: Infrastructure that works for users
Infrastructure services for users: Infrastructure that works for users
Governments and service providers do not always adequately measure and report on access, quality and costs for users.
Technologies can help to overcome barriers to service access as a result of distance or location.
User data and customer insights can enable innovation to better meet users’ needs.
Users that are disadvantaged, such as those with low digital literacy or with disability, may be unable to access infrastructure services provided through new technologies.
Showing C&O identified within: Costs and affordability
Infrastructure services for users: Costs and affordability
Limited reliable data exists to allow government, regulators and users to understand the total costs of infrastructure.
Improved collection of data, including by third parties (such as financial institutions) could support improved decision making using big data.
User-pays funding for infrastructure has widespread support within the community. However, its regressive nature disproportionately affects low-income earners.
Some users have limited information or understanding of the costs associated with their use of infrastructure, however new technologies will increase information and control for those that can afford them.
Showing C&O identified within: Infrastructure for fast-growing cities
Infrastructure services for users: Infrastructure for fast-growing cities
Rapid growth in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth has brought many benefits, but has also put legacy infrastructure under increasing strain.
Unreliable and inconsistent population projections makes planning for future needs difficult.
In fast-growing cities, many of our most vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, suffer from poor access to services.
Showing C&O identified within: Infrastructure for smaller cities and regional centres
Infrastructure services for users: Infrastructure for smaller cities and regional centres
Smaller capitals and satellite cities have capacity to grow, and in turn take pressure off infrastructure in our fast-growing cities.
Developments in the economy, regulation, technology and service delivery mean our infrastructure needs are changing, leaving some regional centres at risk of being left behind.
Showing C&O identified within: Infrastructure for small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Infrastructure Services for users: Infrastructure for small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Infrastructure is more expensive to provide per unit of consumption in low population density areas, but communities and businesses in these areas are also more reliant on available infrastructure for their productivity and wellbeing.
Regional infrastructure faces a range of unique challenges and risks, which make it difficult to efficiently provide services that support growth in regional industries.
Infrastructure can do more to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote communities and rural areas, and to underpin progress towards local and national objectives for improving quality of life.
Showing C&O identified within: Infrastructure to support regions and unlock growth in northern Australia
Infrastructure Services for users: Infrastructure to support regions and unlock growth in northern Australia
Fluctuations in economic activity in regional industries make it difficult for infrastructure to efficiently and sustainably underpin long-term growth and development.
Infrastructure can help to catalyse growth across northern Australia, and unlock development across a range of industries.
Development in northern regions could benefit from more detailed information and evidence-based studies of economic opportunities, as well as a better understanding of local needs and values, particularly of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Showing C&O identified within: Planning and decision making
Industry efficiency, capacity and capability: Planning and decision making
Decision-making processes across many jurisdictions and sectors are not meeting best practice standards, including application of the Infrastructure Decision-making Principles.
Many decisions are being made without meaningful engagement, and without the means for comment and stakeholder feedback to inform project planning and delivery.
Across many infrastructure markets, regulatory principles are complex, inconsistent, do not sufficiently protect the long-term interests of users, and reporting does not always align with user outcomes.
How infrastructure is provided and used will transform over coming decades, meaning laws and regulations will need to be reviewed, removed or updated.
Showing C&O identified within: Funding and financing
Industry efficiency, capacity and capability: Funding and financing
Funding for public infrastructure has risen above historic trends, but remains below that of many OECD nations and may need to rise further to maintain or improve user outcomes.
Many community service obligations lack transparency, are not frequently reviewed, and may be inefficient.
A historical underspend on preventative maintenance, short budgetary and funding cycles, a lack of data and incentives, and inadequate reporting have contributed to a maintenance funding backlog across infrastructure sectors.
Low or non-capital better-use solutions to infrastructure problems could help to avoid or delay investment in expensive new or upgraded assets.
Showing C&O identified within: Market depth and skills
Industry efficiency, capacity and capability: Market depth and skills
Increased transparency of the infrastructure pipeline has not improved coordination on the timing and release of projects into the market, leading to some stretching of resources.
The overall volume and project scale of infrastructure construction has created a heated, stretched construction market and reduced competition for projects.
Despite meaningful progress in key jurisdictions and large agencies, the public sector is inadequately skilled and resourced to undertake a high volume of sophisticated procurement activity, including the oversight of projects during the delivery phase.
There are skill constraints for key roles within the sector.
Showing C&O identified within: Procurement and contracting
Industry efficiency, capacity and capability: Procurement and contracting
Truncated bidding timelines, unnecessary documentation requirements and under-resourced government project teams are leading to poor procurement and delivery outcomes.
Community pressure can encourage premature project commitments or the acceleration of project delivery. Decision makers are often poorly resourced to respond to this pressure to arrive at an informed decision.
Showing C&O identified within: Security, resilience and sustainability
Industry efficiency, capacity and capability: Security, resilience and sustainability
Anticipating and mitigating against ever-changing risks to infrastructure is becoming more difficult as assets and networks become more interdependent and complex. Australia lacks comprehensive resilience strategies for its assets and networks.
Climate and cyber risks are likely to pose considerable and growing threats to Australia’s infrastructure.
Australia could lead the world in developing and applying sustainability-enhancing approaches to its infrastructure.
Australia is at risk of not meeting its 2030 Paris Agreement commitment to reduce emissions by 26- 28% below 2005 levels.
Showing C&O identified within: Changing urban travel patterns
Passenger Transport: Changing urban travel patterns
Urban travel patterns are becoming increasingly complex, driven by economic, social, demographic and technological changes. There is a risk of growing divergence between the way our networks are planned and designed, and the needs of customers.
Rapidly changing land use and development can place pressure on urban transport networks. Densification in our largest cities places pressure on legacy networks, while greenfield development requires new infrastructure and services.
Our radial public transport networks are inflexible and have varied levels of service and relatively low mode shares.
New technology and data sets are increasingly available in the transport sector, that can be used for planning and service delivery.
Australia has relatively low rates of active transport, driven by a range of issues including low densities and long distances, insufficient infrastructure and safety concerns.
Showing C&O identified within: Technology and the future of passenger cars
Passenger Transport: Technology and the future of passenger cars
The accessibility and affordability of ride and carsharing could decrease demand for public transport.
Connected vehicles can reduce accidents, improve traffic flow and reduce costs for drivers.
Many regional, remote and rural communities do not have the economies of scale to justify private investment in charging infrastructure.
There is a lack of appropriate regulation, trials and physical infrastructure to enable the use of many cooperative and autonomous vehicle features.
Showing C&O identified within: International, inter-state and inter-regional connectivity
Passenger Transport: International, inter-state and inter-regional connectivity
There is congestion on roads around our major airports, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
Some of our major airports are subject to operational restrictions reducing airport efficiency however adding to local amenity.
Governance and funding of our regional road networks is inconsistent and lack transparency. This means funding and maintenance is subject to budget volatility of different levels of government.
Regional aviation often struggles to be financially viable and customers view it as costly.
Our regional railways generally have uncompetitive travel times with cars and planes. This means they carry a relatively small share of passengers.
The popularity of cruise ships in Australia in growing, producing important tourism opportunities for fast-growing cities and regional centres. However, there are a lack of berths for international cruise ships, particularly in Sydney.
Showing C&O identified within: Funding and maintaining our transport assets
Passenger Transport: Funding and maintaining our transport assets
Asset maintenance lacks transparency, consistency and accountability. This is particularly the case for sectors that rely on government funding rather than user charges, such as roads and public transport.
There is no clear link between expenditure on roads and usage, which means road expenditure is inequitable, inefficient, unsustainable and lacks transparency.
Public transport investments and operating subsidies are substantial, but decisions lack transparency.
Regional and remote local governments struggle to fund and maintain roads and airports. Local governments often have relatively small revenue bases but are responsible for the maintenance of expensive transport networks.
There are numerous emerging revenue sources for the transport sector, with many related to technological development and changing patterns of demand for transport.
Showing C&O identified within: Passenger transport sustainability and resilience
Passenger Transport: Passenger transport sustainability and resilience
Transport sector emissions are increasing. Passenger cars account for the vast majority of emissions, but heavy vehicles and aviation are projected to drive growth in emissions in the next ten years.
Australian governments often do not incorporate sustainability or resilience into their final infrastructure projects.
If partnered with low carbon intensity fuels hybrid electric, plug-in electric, hydrogen fuel cell and automated vehicles are less emissions intensive than internal combustion engine vehicles. These technologies can be leveraged to transition to a low-carbon transport sector.
Climate change is likely to cause increasingly frequent and severe weather events that damage transport assets.
Showing C&O identified within: Safety in the transport sector
Passenger Transport: Safety in the transport sector
Road safety performance is not on track to meet the objectives of the National Road Safety Strategy.
Project selection and funding is based on incomplete safety data.
Regional, rural and remote road networks are less safe. There is an opportunity to focus investments and policies on these areas.
Australians are holding on to their vehicles for longer.
Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are over represented in fatalities and injuries.
Technological change is driving the collection of valuable data by transport operators and network owners.
Showing C&O identified within: Transport accessibility and equity
Passenger Transport: Transport accessibility and equity
Public transport service levels and access is lower in the outer suburbs and regional centres. This results in lower public transport mode share, and a reliance on cars in these areas.
People on the outskirts of our cities and in regional and remote Australia pay proportionally more for transport.
There is insufficient funding to make our public transport networks accessible to people with disability.
Emerging point-to-point operators are not subject to the same subsidy schemes and accessibility legislation as taxis, meaning they are not accessible to many people with disability.
Showing C&O identified within: Freight gateways supporting international trade
Freight Transport: Freight gateways supporting international trade
Growth in Asia and an increasingly globalised economy means the volume and value of Australia’s trade is increasing.
Charges for truck and train operators accessing our major ports have increased and could be passed on to customers. It is challenging for governments to know if and when a regulatory response is required.
Our major container ports are becoming more productive, but continue to lag behind our trading partners for key indicators. Our ports will need to continue to improve to ensure Australia is globally competitive.
The need to balance passenger and freight services, operating restrictions and constraints on airport land and surrounding roads reduces the efficiency of our airports.
Showing C&O identified within: The urban freight challenge
Freight Transport: The urban freight challenge
Conflict between land uses, particularly in the inner areas of our fast-growing cities, decreases the efficiency of our urban supply chains, particularly warehousing. Conflicting demand for land is inevitable, and governments face a challenge in balancing the needs of different parties.
Freight transport in our fast-growing cities is impacted by congestion leading to increased costs.
An increase in deliveries by light commercial vehicles is contributing to road and kerbside congestion, particularly in inner urban areas. This is driven by growth in online shopping and changing consumer expectations about timely and door-to-door deliveries.
Showing C&O identified within: Ensuring the national freight network is effective and efficient
Freight Transport: Ensuring the national freight network is effective and efficient
Inconsistent regulations, standards and technologies across our road and rail networks increase costs for transport operators and agricultural producers, which are ultimately passed on to customers.
High productivity vehicle use is limited by community sentiment as well as physical and regulatory impediments to access to our road network.
The pace and impact of technological change on our supply chains is uncertain. Governments face dual challenges of enabling private sector innovation while also regulating to ensure change does not harm the community.
New technologies can help improve road safety and efficiency, but they have upfront costs that mean uptake rates remain low.
Showing C&O identified within: Unlocking regional economic development through freight
Freight Transport: Unlocking regional economic development through freight
Remote and regional supply chains are critical for industry and to supply communities with basic needs. However, local governments often struggle to fund and maintain critical transport infrastructure.
The complexity of the freight sector means leveraging infrastructure investments to maximise regional development can be challenging.
Highly variable and seasonal traffic can make investment and maintenance of regional grain railways difficult to justify. This results in bottlenecks, speed restrictions, lower capacities and sometimes line closures.
Showing C&O identified within: Transporting, storing and making the most of our waste
Freight Transport: Transporting, storing and making the most of our waste
Australia has increasing waste generation, a lack of a mature market for private investment and a reliance on waste export.
A limited number of new waste facilities and landfill sites have been approved and residential development is encroaching on existing sites.
Waste is often transported large distances from where it is generated due to a patchwork of government regulation.
There is a lack of a mature market for private investment in recycling and waste disposal. There is a chance to capitalise on increased demand for recycled products and larger economies of scale as waste generation increases.
A lack of scale and access in remote communities means waste freight is inconsistent and not cost effective for consumers or taxpayers.
Transporting waste can have high impacts on urban amenity.
Showing C&O identified within:Health and aged care
Social Infrastructure: Health and aged care
Showing C&O identified within: Education
Social Infrastructure: Education
Showing C&O identified within: Green, blue and recreation
Social Infrastructure: Green, blue and recreation
Showing C&O identified within: Arts and culture
Social Infrastructure: Arts and culture
Showing C&O identified within: Social housing
Social Infrastructure: Social housing
Showing C&O identified within: Justice and emergency services
Social Infrastructure: Justice and emergency services
Showing C&O identified within: Affordable and competitive energy
Energy: Affordable and competitive energy
Transparent and affordable electricity prices are essential to reducing pressure on household budgets, particularly for lower income households.
Regaining energy price competitiveness is important for lower business costs and improving productivity of Australian firms.
Showing C&O identified within: Secure, reliable and sustainable energy
Energy: Secure, reliable and sustainable energy
Balancing reliability and affordability in line with users’ willingness to pay will be an ongoing challenge in energy systems with rapidly transforming wholesale and network characteristics.
Governments, regulators, operators and service providers need to manage growing risks to Australia’s energy systems and fuel sources, including risks from climate change, cyberattack or disruptions to fuel supply.
Despite positive progress on the development of a national climate policy, ongoing politicisation of the issue and policy inconsistency between levels of government reduce market certainty.
Showing C&O identified within: Transitioning to Australia’s future energy fuel mix
Energy: Transitioning to Australia’s future energy fuel mix
Many major coal generation assets are ageing and approaching retirement. The capacity they provide will need to be replaced.
As the penetration of small- and large-scale renewables increases across the network, additional investment in networks and generation will be required to manage reliability and service levels.
New forms of large-scale storage are increasingly available, including pumped hydroelectric and battery assets.
Showing C&O identified within: Planning for our future energy networks
Energy: Planning for our future energy networks
Transmission networks need to respond to new generation in areas not currently served or without sufficient spare capacity.
Coordinating investment in new generation and network assets in Renewable Energy Zones can promote investment in renewable generation, provide clarity for network investors, and increase scale and lower costs for new generation providers.
Showing C&O identified within: New opportunities for consumer choice
Energy: New opportunities for consumer choice
Home solar and storage can help users to save costs and control energy use, but government policies are uncoordinated.
Demand response from users can defer or avoid expensive new electricity infrastructure investment, and better use existing infrastructure.
Electric vehicles could provide additional storage capacity to stationary electricity systems. There are regulatory and technical barriers to be overcome.
Showing C&O identified within: Delivering energy in remote communities
Energy: Delivering energy in remote communities
The costs of serving remote and regional areas remain high, with customers in those areas also often receiving poor reliability outcomes.
There is an opportunity to leverage new local energy supply solutions that either replace or complement diesel generation in remote and regional areas.
The current regulatory regime does not optimise emerging opportunities for energy supply to regional and remote communities via stand-alone power systems.
Showing C&O identified within: Harnessing Australia’s energy advantage
Energy: Harnessing Australia’s energy advantage
Australia could develop new industries based on cheap and abundant new sources of energy, including large-scale solar and wind.
Australia could leverage its energy resources to provide global leadership and innovation on energy research and development through its high-quality research and education institutions.
Australia’s regions have significant reserves of onshore gas. However, there are restrictions on accessing reserves across many regions.
Showing C&O identified within: Telecommunications enable productivity and innovation
Telecommunications: Telecommunications enable productivity and innovation
Digital technologies are using telecommunications networks to enhance Australia’s economic productivity.
Australia’s comparative performance for fixed broadband speeds is poor, and we lag well behind comparable nations.
Cybersecurity risks, such as data privacy and system resilience, are growing as more Australians use more interconnected digital services.
Showing C&O identified within: The mobile coverage dilemma
Telecommunications: The mobile coverage dilemma
Prioritisation of mobile network upgrades in rural and remote areas creates gaps in crucial areas, such as on productive land and along transport corridors.
5G technology presents an opportunity for Australia and we are well positioned to embrace it ahead of other nations.
5G networks will require substantial new infrastructure, creating both cost, planning and security challenges.
Government needs to balance different demands, including from mobile service providers, to deliver efficient and competitive allocation of radiofrequency spectrum.
Showing C&O identified within: Maximising the benefits of nbn investment
Telecommunications: Maximising the benefits of nbn investment
There is an inherent tension between the nbn’s strategic goals, requiring potential trade-offs between achieving user outcomes and delivering a return on the capital investment made by taxpayers.
The technology mix for the nbn has diversified, meaning different users will receive different types of connections.
Private market broadband and mobile operators are providing competitive services in commercial locations to fill nbn gaps.
A proposed eventual sale of the nbn to the private sector raises challenges in striking the right balance between realising its value for shareholders and achieving long-term goals for users.
Showing C&O identified within: Social inclusion and affordability for telecommunications services
Telecommunications: Social inclusion and affordability for telecommunications services
The quality of telecommunications services varies for different groups across Australia, with digital inclusion lagging for low-income households, people who did not complete secondary school, those aged over 65 and people with disability.
Telecommunications community service obligations lack transparency, competition and specificity, and are often technology prescriptive.
In fast-growing and smaller cities, telecommunications services are supported by substantial infrastructure that brings fast speeds and data allowances.
In regional centres and rural and remote areas, telecommunications infrastructure often delivers costly services which provide poor connectivity, speeds and data allowances.
Businesses are increasingly demanding more from telecommunications services to compete in the digital economy, but increased downloads, speeds and storage come at a cost.
Showing C&O identified within: Changes facing urban water
Water: Changes facing urban water
Imminent renewals of ageing assets bring an opportunity to rethink how water and wastewater services are delivered, and to use technology to improve efficiency and levels of service.
The urban water sector faces considerable risks, including the impacts of climate change, population growth, ageing assets, and changing needs and expectations from users.
Showing C&O identified within: Sustainable water for liveable cities
Water: Sustainable water for liveable cities
In increasingly dense cities, water will need to play a growing role in supporting our cities as desirable places to live, work and visit over coming years.
Governments and utilities have not fully explored options for greater efficiency by households and industry, including potable reuse.
Showing C&O identified within: Water and wastewater in regional and remote communities
Water: Water and wastewater in regional and remote communities
Regional and remote utilities face considerable challenges, including reliance on a single source of supply, limited resources, a lack of scale and unreliable information on services.
Many regional and remote utilities face mounting costs to maintain, renew or upgrade ageing water and wastewater assets, but have limited funding through grants or revenue. Where funding is provided, it is often inefficient or lacks transparency.
Some remote communities, many with predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, do not have access to reliable and safe water and wastewater services, while monitoring is often inadequate.
Showing C&O identified within: Water oversight, regulation and decision making
Water: Water oversight, regulation and decision making
Information on water and wastewater services is not nationally consistent, reliable, insightful, or reflective of outcomes that matter to users.
No jurisdiction meets best practice regulation and governance in urban water. Key issues include a lack of focus on user objectives, and limited coordination, accountability and independence of decision making.
National objectives have not been updated since the Millennium Drought, despite clear lessons for the water sector during this period, and the need for long-term proactive and adaptive strategies to efficiently meet future needs.
Showing C&O identified within: Balancing competing needs for water
Water: Balancing competing needs for water
Striking an efficient and sustainable balance between competing needs from Australia’s water resources has proved problematic. Progress against past reform efforts has been significant but patchy.
Changes in water demand over coming years could affect economic activity and infrastructure requirements in some regional areas. These changes may be exacerbated in drier years.
Water infrastructure could help to unlock economic opportunities, supported by evidence-based assessments that take into account potential benefits, costs and risks for industry, local communities and the environment.
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