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REFORM AND ACTION WELCOME ASPECTS OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

Tuesday 7 September – The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, released late last week, puts fresh focus on reform in order to fully leverage the historic $110 billion investment announcement made during the Federal Government’s May 2021 Budget.

Aiming to stimulate the nation’s COVID-19 recovery, the plan also offers Australia’s infrastructure sector a 15-year roadmap to ‘drive economic growth, maintain and enhance our standard of living and improve the resilience and sustainability of our essential infrastructure’.

According Infrastructure Australia’s CEO Romilly Madew, appropriate reforms will underpin future Australian economic growth. “(The plan) is focused on identifying the actions required to deliver infrastructure for a stronger Australia and support our national recovery from the still-unfolding COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Madew said.

“We have seen significant investment in the infrastructure sector since the start of the pandemic, but to drive the next phase of the national recovery, we need to pursue reforms that unlock the full benefits of stimulus spending.”

The plan outlines a list of key opportunities, including:

  • supporting growth in regional centres and northern Australia;
  • investing in technology;
  • promoting shifts in behaviour around infrastructure use with a focus on sustainability; and
  • more collaborative models of infrastructure delivery to support productivity and innovation.

Iron Capital General Manager Rob Alexander said a focus on implementation was a pleasing aspect of this year’s plan.

“Infrastructure Australia has stated its intention to work alongside government, industry and the community to get the projects delivered,” Rob said.

“Recommendations and ‘enabling activities’ run right through the plan and there are also parties identified to sponsor required reforms. It suggests there’s a genuine commitment collaboration and action.”

The plan’s reform pathway is designed to respond to the 180 infrastructure challenges and opportunities identified in the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit. It also responds to the additional infrastructure impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.