Program 1.1—Infrastructure Investment
- Communicating the Imperative for Action-a report to the Council of Australian Governments-was issued in June 2011, updating the nation's infrastructure priorities and urging major reform in the way the development, operation and maintenance of the nation's infrastructure networks are financed.
- Release of a report on regional towns' water quality and security in January 2011, which raised issues about sustainably managing small towns' drinking water supplies.
- Presentation of a draft national ports strategy to the Australian Government in late 2010. COAG agreed on the need for a national ports strategy, and an implementation plan is now under way.
- Infrastructure Australia's discussion paper on a national land freight strategy was released in February 2011, and seeks to provide industry and its customers with direct involvement in the management of, and investment in, the major freight network.
- A sub-committee of the Infrastructure Australia Council was established with a particular focus on identification and resourcing of infrastructure deficiencies in remote Indigenous communities.
- Challenges of Financing Infrastructure-a conference, was convened in April 2011 leading to the establishment of an Infrastructure Australia sub-committee to report on potential reforms for infrastructure investment.
- Release of Better Infrastructure Decision-Making-updated guidelines for making submissions to Infrastructure Australia were released to assist proponents making submissions through the Reform and Investment Framework.
Elements of Program 1.1 were delivered by Infrastructure Australia, a statutory body which advises governments, investors and infrastructure owners on a wide range of issues. These include Australia's current and future infrastructure needs; mechanisms for financing infrastructure investments; policy, pricing and regulation; and their impact on investment and on the efficiency of the delivery, operation and use of national infrastructure networks. The Infrastructure Australia Council also advises on the development of regulative frameworks and the more efficient operation and delivery of infrastructure, to promote productivity improvements.
Infrastructure Australia has 12 members, formally appointed by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. For 2010–11 the members were:
The Infrastructure Coordinator is a statutory office-holder.
Summary of performance
Tables 5.1 and 5.2 summarise Infrastructure Australia's results in delivering Program 1.1 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets published in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS).
Table 5.1 Summary of performance-Program 1.1 key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Target||Result|
|Infrastructure and urban system initiatives are promoted in order to maximise economic development and productivity.||Initiatives endorsed by Australian governments.||10–11 Achieved||09–10 Achieved|
|Infrastructure Australia conducted research into regional water quality, financing reforming, and freight. The reports recommended a range of reforms to maximise economic development and productivity.|
|Integrated infrastructure and urban system priorities are identified to address the local, regional and national needs of Australians.||Integrated infrastructure and urban system priorities identified for transport, energy, communications and water infrastructure.||Communicating the Imperative for Action, Infrastructure Australia's report on national reforms and investments and an update of the nation's infrastructure priorities, was presented to COAG.|
|Demonstration projects and initiatives promote infrastructure efficiency and urban sustainability.||Initiatives endorsed by Australian governments.||On the recommendation of Infrastructure Australia, the Australian Government included $61m in funding for various managed motorway projects.|
|Achieved||All targets for 2010–11 were met or exceeded|
|Not achieved||None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2010–11|
|Partially achieved||Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed|
|Substantially achieved||Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed|
Table 5.2 Summary of performance-Program 1.1 deliverables
|Project management and governance practices recommended, to ensure the implementation of identified infrastructure and urban system initiatives on time and within budget and scope.||All recommended practices adopted.||Better Infrastructure Decision-Making Guidelines was updated to assist proponents in using Infrastructure Australia's Reform and Investment Framework when making submissions to Infrastructure Australia.
For the first time, Infrastructure Australia made recommendations in relation to projects which should be considered for project development funding.
|Recommended pricing, regulatory and market reform.||All recommended practices adopted.||Pricing regulatory and market reform proposed for water, transport and energy sectors.|
|Analysis and prioritisation of infrastructure and urban initiatives.||Recommendations endorsed by Australian governments.||Communicating the Imperative for Action, Infrastructure Australia's report on national reforms and investments and an update of the nation's infrastructure priorities, was presented to COAG.|
|National Freight Strategy.||Recommendations considered by Australian governments.||Draft national land freight strategy was released and public consultation undertaken. A final strategy will be submitted to COAG for consideration in 2011.|
|National Ports Strategy.||Recommendations considered by Australian governments.||National Ports Strategy agreed by Council of Australian Governments and an implementation plan is being prepared.|
Detailed report on performance
(a) Infrastructure Australia
Report to the Council of Australian Governments
In June 2011, Infrastructure Australia presented its third report to COAG, Communicating the Imperative for Action. The report emphasised the need to find better ways of engaging with the community, and making the case for change in the way infrastructure networks are planned, delivered and managed. Most critically, the report identified the need for major reform in financing the development, operation and maintenance of infrastructure networks.
Infrastructure Australia received and assessed 59 new or updated project submissions. Submissions were required to identify how the proposal related to one or more of Infrastructure Australia's seven themes for action, and to apply Infrastructure Australia's Reform and Investment Framework. This framework emphasises the identification and consideration of initiatives and policy reform options to complement or substitute for ‘build solutions’.
The 2011 report updated the recommended infrastructure priority list, which identifies projects with an estimated capital cost of $86.8 billion, including six (with an estimated joint capital cost of $19.2 billion) in the ‘ready to proceed’ category.
National Infrastructure Corridors Strategy
Infrastructure Australia continued to progress a draft national infrastructure corridors strategy. The strategy will be developed to the point where it can be presented for consideration by COAG during the coming year.
Poor infrastructure corridor identification and protection is resulting in incompatible land use on or near key infrastructure precincts. As a result, future infrastructure development is either blocked or becomes very expensive, for instance because extensive tunnelling is required.
National Public Transport Strategy
Infrastructure Australia is finalising a number of studies aimed at providing the foundation for a national public transport strategy. Together with other base work, these studies will be used to begin debate about the role of public transport in personal movement, and the need to narrow distance between infrastructure proposals and benefits to all Australians. A national public transport strategy will be developed later in the year.
Regional Towns' Water Quality and Security
Infrastructure Australia released its report on regional towns' water quality and security in January 2011. The report presented evidence of serious problems in the drinking water supply for many regional towns. More specifically, it illustrated the limitations of the governance and institutional structures in NSW and Queensland in sustainably managing small towns' drinking water supplies.
National Ports Strategy
Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission presented a draft national ports strategy to the Australian Government in late 2010. This was subsequently considered by COAG, which agreed on the need for a national ports strategy, and asked the Infrastructure Ministerial Council to finalise an implementation plan by August 2011.
Draft National Land Freight Strategy
Infrastructure Australia's discussion paper on a National Land Freight Strategy, released in February 2011, builds upon the broad proposition that the freight industry and its customers need to have more direct and effective means of guiding decisions about the major freight network's management and investment in the networks.
The discussion paper was strengthened by extensive private sector input, not just from freight operators but also from the end users of the freight network, that is, the companies and individuals who need the network to work efficiently in order to move their products to market, and who base their locational decisions in part on expectations of governments' intentions regarding the major land transport infrastructure used by freight vehicles.
Consultations on the draft National Land Freight Strategy discussion paper are now completed. The draft strategy will be adjusted, based on the comments received and submitted to COAG for consideration.
Essential Indigenous Infrastructure
A sub-committee of the Infrastructure Australia Council has been established with a range of objectives, including to:
- support the National Indigenous Reform Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement, with a particular focus on identifying and addressing infrastructure deficiencies in remote Indigenous communities, and
- develop infrastructure plans with joint Australian, state, territory, local government and first and third-party support, which aim to ensure that, over time, standards of infrastructure are brought to an acceptable standard in the larger Indigenous communities, comparable with those of non-Indigenous communities of similar size and location.
Thinking Strategically about Infrastructure
With a view to developing the skills of those who advise governments on infrastructure matters, Infrastructure Australia (in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Management) ran a two-day training course, Thinking Strategically about Infrastructure, in March 2011.
Challenges of Financing Infrastructure
In April 2011, Infrastructure Australia convened the inaugural Challenges of Financing Infrastructure conference, which led to the formation of an Infrastructure Finance Working Group. The working group is conducting a review into barriers to private investment in infrastructure, and will identify options for reform. The working group aims to present a range of reform proposals to government in late 2011.