In a report jointly launched by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) and Urbis, industry fragmentation, subjective decision-making, risk aversion and sectoral capacity have been identified as global infrastructure barriers.

Advance our nations, fair – world-class infrastructure for thriving nations report explores the relationship between world-class infrastructure and thriving nations, with new opportunities identified that deliver investment returns for all beneficiaries, ecosystems and economies.

ISC CEO Ainsley Simpson, said, ‘’Infrastructure is instrumental in building resilience and helping us drive and reinforce positive change.

“The infrastructure sector is key to addressing some of the major challenges of our time whether it is climate change, addressing inequality or riding the wave of the technology disruption.

“In this coming decade, competition does not take the form of organisations; but the ticking clock of climate change and rising inequality – we just need to recognise we do have a shared vision and that we are all on the same team,” Ms Simpson said.

Urbis Future State Director, Kate Meyrick, said that the infrastructure community has lost sight of infrastructure’s purpose: to rightfully serve the people it exists for.

“Infrastructure is all about hope – it’s about solving problems and enabling opportunities.  If we want to be a better ancestor for future generations then we need to take a more restorative approach and make far bolder decisions today,” Ms Meyrick said.

“A critical factor in making progress and achieving any success will be working together. We need to start joining the dots and engage a place-based collaborative approach.

“First, we must understand that infrastructure is the essential platform for realising long-term accomplishment. With collective input, we will make real progress by sharing local and global learnings, systems, and achievements. Only then will we truly achieve infrastructure’s purpose of driving social progress, quality of life, resilience and productivity in our communities, cities, regions and nations.

The report calls for collaborative reform across eight key areas including:

  • An industry united by its declared purpose – Driving change from within underpinned by a cultural shift from monopolistic to a common-good approach
  • Knowledge and capacity building – To build the expertise of the sector, accelerate the sharing of new ideas that drive service level innovation
  • Codifying excellence – Setting out the standards of world-class infrastructure to clarify expectations; ensuring alignment with relevant international rating
  • A robust data platform – Combining the longitudinal and real-time information required to drive evidence-based decision-making. Underpinning transparent prioritisation and business case development
  • A fully integrated infrastructure model – Driving change from within underpinned by a cultural shift from a monopolistic to a common good approach
  • Place-based, creating intergenerational value – Clearly solving for a defined problem and generating new opportunity through more enlightened delivery models grounded in conversations with the end user
  • Procurement based on multi-dimensional value – Capturing all positive externalities and addressing negative impacts. Embedding resilience and demonstrating the highest and best use of funds
  • Funding Security – Depoliticising funding and increasing certainty, connecting funding to outcomes overtime. Leveraging new forms of finance instrument to meet the burgeoning cost of transformational infrastructure

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council will be assembling a Coalition of their members to review the report and collaborate across industry to drive this agenda forward.

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