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Infrastructure Australia releases transparency and accountability guidelines

2 August 2018 – Outgoing Infrastructure Australia (IA) Chief Executive, Philip Davies has announced the release of a set of new guidelines that the independent statutory body hopes will drive greater transparency and accountability in infrastructure decision-making and reduce instances of major projects receiving funding before appropriate planning and assessment has been released.

The new principles, which IA hopes will be applied by governments and project proponents across the country and included as part of the National Partnership Agreement negotiations between the Australian Government and the states and territories, were developed as part of a list of recommendations in the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan. According to IA, the focus of the guidelines is ensuring major public infrastructure investments deliver the best outcomes for the community and the best value for taxpayers while promoting greater accountability and transparency.

Richard Lewis, Director at Iron Capital Group, said, “While there is little need for more red tape that constricts industry, with such vast public and private investment flowing into infrastructure projects across the country, guidelines such as these from IA do provide the sector with some timely direction that puts the community’s needs front and centre.”

Infrastructure Australia – Infrastructure Decision-making Principles:

  • Governments should quantify infrastructure problems and opportunities as part of long-term planning processes.
  • Proponents should identify potential infrastructure needs in response to quantified infrastructure problems.
  • Proponents should invest in development studies to scope potential responses.
  • Where an infrastructure need is identified, governments should take steps to ensure potential responses can be delivered efficiently and affordably.
  • Governments should undertake detailed analysis of a potential project through a full business case and should not announce a preferred option or cost profile before undertaking detailed analysis involving multiple options.
  • Proponents should assess the viability of alternative funding sources for each potential project.
  • Project proposals should be independently assessed by an appropriate third party organisation.
  • Governments and proponents should undertake meaningful stakeholder engagement at each stage, from problem identification and option development to project delivery.
  • Governments and proponents should publicly release all information supporting their infrastructure decisions.
  • Governments should commit to, develop and release post-completion reviews.
  • Where projects are funded as part of a broader program, the corresponding decision-making processes should be robust, transparent and prioritise value for money.

A full copy of the Infrastructure Decision-making Principles can be found here.

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