Infrastructure Australia was established in 2008 to advise governments, industry and the community on the investments and reforms needed to deliver better infrastructure for all Australians.
Infrastructure Australia has two core functions. The first is to set the agenda on the long-term opportunities for infrastructure investment and reform. The Australian Infrastructure Audit acts as the foundation for Infrastructure Australia’s reform and investment recommendations. The Audit, released every five years, takes a forward-looking view to assess Australia’s nation's infrastructure needs and examines future challenges and opportunities. Developed in collaboration with Australia’s governments, industry and communities, the Audit provides the rich evidence base underpinning Infrastructure Australia’s advice. In turn, it informs the organisation’s other key publications: the Australian Infrastructure Plan, the Infrastructure Priority List and the Reform Series of advisory papers.
The Australian Infrastructure Plan sets out policy responses to the infrastructure needs identified in the Audit. Intended to support the ambitions of Australia’s governments, as well as industry and community, the next Plan will be released in 2021. Infrastructure Australia publishes additional data and research on how best to implement the reform recommendations of the Plan via the Reform Series, a series of advisory papers for government, industry and communities. The Reform Series allows Infrastructure Australia to support the momentum of reform and to spark national conversations about what we want to get out of our infrastructure networks and steps to get there.
The second core function of Infrastructure Australia is to evaluate business cases for nationally significant investment proposals that are seeking more than $100 million in Commonwealth funding.
Infrastructure Australia relies on a robust assessment process to independently evaluate infrastructure proposals and ensure they offer the best use of public infrastructure funds. This process, grounded in principles of transparency, supports community confidence in future infrastructure investments.
The publicly available Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework sets out the process by which Infrastructure Australia assesses any given proposal and provides actionable guidance on the information and economic analysis required for a project to be included on the Priority List.
Business cases that withstand a rigorous economic assessment are then added to Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List. The Priority List is a consensus list of nationally significant investment opportunities that address critical gaps in our infrastructure, is updated annually. The Priority List has two broad categories: Projects and Initiatives. Projects are proposals for which we have seen and assessed a fully-developed business case. Initiatives are early-stage proposals that require further development. Infrastructure Australia has the power to identify infrastructure initiatives, which are a call to action for governments or the private sector to submit a business case.
The 2019 Infrastructure Priority List presents 121 nationally significant proposals, with a combined value of AUD$58 billion.
The process of evaluating business cases is underpinned by Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework, which provides detailed guidance on how a business case should be prepared. There are five stages to submitting a project to the Infrastructure Priority List, as outlined in the Assessment Framework. Early stage processes include groundwork like identifying the cost of the problem or the value of the opportunity, and long-listing and shortlisting a range of possible solutions. Once a business case has been completed, it is evaluated on strategic fit, social, economic and environmental benefits, and deliverability. Infrastructure Australia uses a benefit–cost ratio (BCR) to show the cost of the project against the projected benefits it would have to the community and the economy.
After a project moves through these stages and is delivered, proponents are encouraged to submit a post completion review. This step is crucial to identifying any pressure points or errors in order to build future industry and planning capability for significant infrastructure projects.
Established under the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008, Infrastructure Australia is an independent statutory body. In 2014, the legislation was amended to establish the institution’s independence from the Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development, establishing its current board and CEO structure. Members of the board, including the chair Julieanne Alroe are appointed by the minister for Infrastructure, the Honourable Michael McCormack, deputy prime minister of Australia, and minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Infrastructure Australia’s board members are drawn from business, academia and across the public and private sectors, and represent an array of sectors and jurisdictions. The organisation’s chief executive officer Romilly Madew AO reports to the Infrastructure Australia Board, and is supported by an executive leadership team overseeing four business functions. More information on our Board members, organisational structure, Annual Report, Corporate Plan, Statement of Expectations and more is available on our website.
 A nationally significant project is an area (like water, transport, energy or communications) in which investment will materially improve national productivity.