investment advisor

The Federal Government’s introduction of the Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023 into Parliament will see Infrastructure Australia (IA) become  the government’s premier adviser on major infrastructure investment and position it to provide quality independent advice.

The legislation is part of the Federal Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Review of IA, the review was undertaken in 2022 and was a significant election commitment.

Australian Constructors Association (ACA) CEO, Jon Davies, said irrespective of the changes, the most important change will be the government listening to Infrastructure Australia’s advice – otherwise what is the point of having them.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” Mr Davies said.

“ACA has supported Infrastructure Australia’s reform recommendations but implementation by government has been non-existent.

“Government needs to urgently enact these reforms as the health of the industry is too important to ignore.”

Mr Davies said the next critical step is the Federal Government using its buying power to accelerate reforms.

ACA has developed a way for the Federal Government to expedite reforms through a new ratings initiative called the Future Australian Infrastructure Rating (FAIR).

“FAIR would enable greater sharing of learnings that would significantly help the industry to improve,” Mr Davies said.

“Already there is a provision for state and territory delivery agencies to submit post completion reports to Infrastructure Australia under the National Partnership Agreement, but this rarely occurs.

“FAIR would provide a mechanism for Infrastructure Australia to ensure agencies fulfilled this requirement.”

Mr Davies said under the FAIR initiative, an online database of learnings and innovations from projects would be established where industry and clients alike can identify ways to improve on upcoming projects.

“The sharing of lessons learned is just one benefit of the FAIR initiative—the opportunity to implement reforms that will improve industry productivity, diversity, technology adoption and more are limitless,” Mr Davies said.

“Government is moving in the right direction. It now needs to follow through and act on the advice.”

The Labour Government stated that these changes are an important step in restoring IA to its rightful place as the Federal Government’s independent infrastructure adviser, and achieve its core purpose in providing quality independent advice on infrastructure that supports the economy, builds the nation and addresses the challenges and opportunities of the future.

A number of the review’s major recommendations will be implemented through legislative change, with the remainder to be largely implemented through a revised Statement of Expectations.

The bill aims to define IA’s mandate, refine the product suite to better support government investment objects, allow a well targeted Infrastructure Priority List and improve evaluation functions.

It also puts in place a new governance structure made up of three expert commissioners in place of the existing board. The Commissioners will be supported by an advisory council.

The changes will provide IA with a clear purpose and streamlined functions that align with the Federal Government’s strategic infrastructure priorities.

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