THE Australian government has launched a review of Infrastructure Australia. It has appointed Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdak to lead the review.
The government said the review would consider Infrastructure Australia’s role as an independent adviser to the Commonwealth on nationally significant infrastructure priorities and advise on what changes may be needed to IA’s focus, priorities and – if necessary – legislation.
Federal minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government Catherine King said IA was was created to provide expert advice to government regarding infrastructure priorities across the nation.
“In recent years, the organisation has been allowed to drift with partisan board appointments and a lack of clear direction. It’s clear a review has been necessary and that’s why Labor committed to one before the election,” she said.
“In Nicole Lockwood and Mike Mrdak, we have two of Australia’s pre-eminent infrastructure experts who will conduct a thorough and independent review of Infrastructure Australia and make recommendations to get it back on track.”
Ms King said Australia has big challenges ahead, whether that be in dealing with population growth, managing skills shortages, decarbonising the transport and infrastructure sector or dealing with the uptake of electric vehicles.
“This review and the changes it proposes will be essential in ensuring that the Australian government receives the expert and non-partisan advice it needs to build a better future,” she said.
“I thank the board members, some of whom have agreed to step down, for their understanding and contribution as the government reviews and refreshes Infrastructure Australia.”
A statement from the government said the review is an important first step in “restoring IA to its rightful place as an expert advisory body of national significance”.
A draft report is expected within three months, and a final report shortly thereafter.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the appointment of Ms Lockwood and Mr Mrdak to lead an independent review of Infrastructure Australia.
ALC CEO Dr Hermione Parsons said infrastructure was a key part of ensuring the safety, efficiency and future sustainability of the Australian supply chain.
“Participants across the supply chain acknowledge the need to continue investment in world-class transport infrastructure and it is important that the criticality of infrastructure to the supply chain is considered, to support the economy and meet the growing freight task,” she said.
“ALC looks forward to Infrastructure Australia refocusing efforts on achieving greater productivity and all levels of government continuing to invest in the interest of the national economy.”
Dr Parsons said the review was an opportunity to streamline engagement between various levels of government to identify and agree on priority infrastructure.
“We must see investment in infrastructure continue and the development of projects that will deliver real efficiency gains and drive an uplift in productivity,” she said.
“To do that all governments and industry must work together to align our priorities, consistent with achieving the objectives of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.”