Major Projects & Infrastructure, Resources

Independent review into Infrastructure Australia

The Australian Government has announced an independent review of Infrastructure Australia, led by Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdak.

This review will consider Infrastructure Australia’s role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities and advise on what changes may be needed to IA’s focus, priorities and – if necessary – legislation.

Federal Infrastructure minister Catherine King said the review was an important first step in restoring Infrastructure Australia to its rightful place as an expert advisory body of national significance.

“The Government looks forward to a revitalised IA helping the Commonwealth deliver a better future for all Australians through its infrastructure policy and investment decisions,” she said.

A draft report is expected within three months, and a final report shortly thereafter.

“Infrastructure Australia was created to provide expert advice to government regarding infrastructure priorities across the nation,” King said.

“In recent years, the organisation has been allowed to drift with partisan board appointments and a lack of clear direction. It’s clear a review has been necessary and that’s why Labor committed to one before the election.

“In Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdak, we have two of Australia’s pre-eminent infrastructure experts who will conduct a thorough and independent review of Infrastructure Australia and make recommendations to get it back on track.

“Our nation has big challenges ahead, whether that be in dealing with population growth, managing skills shortages, decarbonising the transport and infrastructure sector or dealing with the uptake of electric vehicles.

“This review and the changes it proposes will be essential in ensuring that the Australian Government receives the expert and non-partisan advice it needs to build a better future.

“I thank the board members, some of whom have agreed to step down, for their understanding and contribution as the Government reviews and refreshes Infrastructure Australia.”

Terms of Reference

1. The Review will examine Infrastructure Australia’s (IA’s) role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities, and its capacity to deliver on this role.

2. The Review will make recommendations on reforms that may be required to ensure IA is able to fully deliver on its responsibilities, including but not limited to:

a. Functions

i. the advice and products for which IA is responsible, and whether these remain fit-for-purpose

ii. how IA’s work relates to the work of state-level infrastructure bodies

iii. how IA’s work addresses the priorities and requirements of the Australian Government.

b. Governance and administration

i. the optimal size, mandate, responsibilities, and composition of the IA Board, including the experience, skills, and expertise of members

ii. whether IA’s administrative arrangements are appropriate to support delivery of its role and functions

iii. IA’s relationship with the responsible Minister.

c. Legislation

i. any legislative changes that may be required.

3. The Review will be conducted by Independent Reviewers and supported by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

4. The Review will provide a report to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Australian Logistics Council (ALC) chief executive officer Hermione Parsons said infrastructure was a key part of ensuring the safety, efficiency and future sustainability of the Australian supply chain.

“Participants across the supply chain acknowledge the need to continue investment in world-class transport infrastructure and it is important that the criticality of infrastructure to the supply chain is considered, to support the economy and meet the growing freight task,” she said.

“ALC looks forward to Infrastructure Australia refocusing efforts on achieving greater productivity and all levels of government continuing to invest in the interest of the national economy.”

Dr Parsons said the review was an opportunity to streamline engagement between various levels of government to identify and agree on priority infrastructure.

“We must see investment in infrastructure continue and the development of projects that will deliver real efficiency gains and drive an uplift in productivity,” she said.

“To do that all governments and industry must work together to align our priorities, consistent with achieving the objectives of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

“ALC looks forward to continued engagement with the Australian Government and Infrastructure Australia to support the considerations of the supply chain, freight, logistics and transport sectors to achieve modal shift, reduce emissions and improve outcomes for all Australians.”