In July 2022, the Australian government announced an independent review of Infrastructure Australia (the Review). The Review was commissioned to consider Infrastructure Australia’s role as an independent advisor to the Australian government on nationally significant infrastructure priorities and advise on what changes may be needed to enhance Infrastructure Australia’s focus, priorities and, if necessary, legislation.

The purpose of the Review is to ensure Infrastructure Australia is positioned to achieve its core purpose – to provide quality, independent cross sectoral advice to the Australian government on nationally significant infrastructure that supports the economy, builds the nation and addresses the challenges and opportunities of the future.

The key issue the Review has acknowledged is getting the balance right between the independence of expert investment advice to the government, and the influence of that advice in government decision making processes, given the range of public bodies now advising the Commonwealth on investments.

The Review found a clear mandate is required to strengthen Infrastructure Australia’s role in the Commonwealth infrastructure eco-system. Infrastructure Australia’s mandate should be defined as the Australian government’s national advisor on infrastructure investment planning and prioritisation.

Key findings:

  • Infrastructure Australia requires a clear mandate and must be empowered to carry out that mandate.
  • Infrastructure Australia’s assurance role and assessment responsibilities must also be revised in order to recognise and enhance its value as the national advisor to the Australian government. This includes a reconsideration of what is regarded as ‘nationally significant’ infrastructure.
  • To carry out its mandate, Infrastructure Australia requires a strong governance framework to realise its full value and potential.
  • Infrastructure Australia’s revised mandate will require a rethink of the responsibilities of other Commonwealth agencies also involved in infrastructure planning, project funding and financing, and project advice.
  • Infrastructure Australia has been sidelined by governments in recent times. Accordingly, its ability to inform and influence the Government on infrastructure matters has waned.
Editor's note

The Australian government's response to this review report is also available for download.

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