Each year, Infrastructure Australia updates and publishes the Infrastructure Australia Priority List. The Infrastructure Australia Priority List identifies priorities for the current federal government.

But why do they exist, what do they do, and how can you join this exclusive club?

The Problem

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century and the earliest parts of the 21st century, the federal government’s approach to infrastructure planning was often dictated more by the whims of the current political ilk than based on the actual benefit that would flow to the Australian public. As the federal government is elected to make decisions and spend public money, the allocation of these funds was liable to be called into question.

The “Solution”

To counteract this perceived bias, or more importantly, to ensure that projects that would spend the public funds would be properly considered and funded on an equal basis, the federal parliament enacted the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008. This Act created the statutory body that is, Infrastructure Australia.

The purpose of Infrastructure Australia is to create a list of “shovel ready” projects on which the federal parliament can comment and ultimately elect to fund. Those projects are submitted each year by various parties (usually state governments, and sometimes councils) which are then put through a review process and either accepted and included on a list, or not.

The Priority List

Each year Infrastructure Australia releases a list of priority projects. Those projects are listed as either “High Priority Projects” or “Priority Projects” and also include a range of broader initiatives that Infrastructure Australia consider are high priority.

The full list can be downloaded here.

The projects are usually defined and contained projects limited to physical works (such as new roads or railways), while the initiatives capture larger, long term issues that need to be tackled.

The key themes in 2021 are:

  • Increasing accessibility to digital connectivity
  • Focus on regional development and regional transport connections
  • Promoting and pursuing energy capacity and security

The key projects for 2021 include:

  • Brisbane Metro
  • Sydney Metro
  • Inland Rail
  • More frequent intercity rail services

The key initiatives for 2021 included:

  • Developing a national water security framework
  • Undertaking research and planning to adapt to and plan for increasing sea levels
  • Increased social housing initiatives

The Priority List and Initiatives shape the built environment of Australia and play a pivotal role in the allocation of federal funds to states and councils. Infrastructure Australia continually reviews new submissions, including the most recent submission being the inner Newcastle bypass.

Morrissey Law + Advisory assists in preparing to tender and work on approved projects and initiatives, including strategically assisting in planning for their pipeline of potential works.

Morrissey Law + Advisory communications are only intended to provide commentary and general information as at the date of publication. They are for reference purposes only, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should always be obtained about particular transactions, contracts or matters of interest before taking any action based on this communication. Authors and contributors may not be admitted in all State and Territories.