A major new report, Infrastructure Governance in Australia, has called for greater separation between politics, planning and projects
The report by Consult Australia presents a model infrastructure body or “IBody” for adoption by all jurisdictions following a comprehensive review of their existing governance procedures.
Its four key recommendations include:
- Independence locked in by statute
- Long-term planning
- Assessment in line with Infrastructure Australia guidelines
- A published pipeline of priority projects
Ibodies are established by an Act of Parliament, which will set out its functions and structure based on four core components. Consult Australia is proposing that those states, which have already established an Ibody (NSW, QLD and VIC), review their legislation so that it aligns with the model.
Megan Motto, CEO of Consult Australia, said, “Our nation’s ability to efficiently connect people to places and products to markets is critical for continued economic growth. Yet still politics can interfere with this process, placing stress on jobs and growth, and wasting taxpayer funding.
“IBodies will address this by presenting a model of uniformity across all jurisdictions. They will strengthen independence through reporting directly to Parliament, and build stronger collaboration across jurisdictions in conjunction with Infrastructure Australia.”
The report examines current decision-making processes and plans in all jurisdictions, including the governance arrangements of existing bodies: Infrastructure NSW, Infrastructure Victoria, and Building Queensland.
“Independent advice provided to the government of the day is independence-on-a-leash. It risks the clash of short and long-term cycles, with decades of foresight required for infrastructure potentially lost in the weeks of a campaign trail,” Ms Motto said.
“An IBody would buffer this, locking in independence through statute so only Parliament could make changes, and ensure we can plan beyond the short term for sustainable economic growth.”