Australia’s infrastructure investment roadmap points to a resilient, inclusive and low-emissions future

Friday 26 February 2021, Sydney: The 2021 Infrastructure Priority List is a welcome step towards a resilient, inclusive and low-emissions future, says the nation’s peak body for sustainable infrastructure, ISCA.

Infrastructure Australia has added a record 44 new proposals to its $59 billion investment roadmap across transport, energy, water, waste, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

Ainsley Simpson, ISCA’s Chief Executive Officer, commends Infrastructure Australia’s commitment to transparency, best practice and robust decision-making principles for infrastructure investment.

“We are pleased with the clarity of criteria used to assess potential infrastructure projects and the sharper focus on world-class infrastructure that delivers social, cultural, environmental and economic value to our communities,” Ms Simpson says.

Projects on the Priority List are advanced proposals with fully-developed business cases that has been assessed by Infrastructure Australia’s independent board. Projects remain on the Priority List until delivery or constructions begins.

Ten projects have moved off the Priority List and are now in the construction phase. Nine of the 10 projects are pursuing third party verification of their social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits using ISCA’s IS Rating Scheme.

“Among the projects now progressing with IS ratings are the M4 Motorway Upgrade in New South Wales, the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook Line in Western Australia and sections of the Bruce Highway and M1 Pacific Motorway in Queensland,” Ms Simpson says.

“By embedding sustainability into decision-making at the earliest stages of projects we can consider whole-of-life outcomes of infrastructure. We have clear evidence that sustainable infrastructure projects not only deliver better environmental outcomes, but also maximise social, cultural and economic benefits.”

Independent analysis finds infrastructure projects rated under the IS Rating Scheme will deliver up to $2.40 in benefit for every dollar spent.

“These IS ratings will provide an assured evidence-base of sustainability performance during the post-construction review process as Infrastructure Australia assesses each project’s outcomes against the expectations of the business case.”

ISCA also welcomes the Priority List’s “holistic focus” on infrastructure projects across transport, utilities and social infrastructure. New projects on the list will address the international competitiveness of Australian ports, new energy sources and water scarcity.

More than half of the investment opportunities on the 2021 Priority List are focused on regional communities.

“With seventy per cent of Australia’s emissions enabled by infrastructure, and a holistic approach to infrastructure investment is fundamental to our resilient, inclusive and low-emissions future,” Ms Simpson concludes.

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