CEO's newsletter March 2018

Update to Assessment Framework

Good morning,

In recent weeks, our Future Cities report has sparked debate over what future we envision for our cities and regions and the crucial planning decisions ahead. Our growing population—set to reach 36 million by 2046—presents exciting opportunities to boost our national productivity, and strong infrastructure planning will be a key means by which we take advantage of this growth.

A well-considered vision for the future is important. While our recent publications have explored a larger vision for reform (Future Cities and Reforming Urban Water), we know very well that an intelligent vision is nothing without ensuring that we have the right tools in place so we invest in the right projects, at the right time and at the right cost.

Today, we release an update of our Assessment Framework. The Assessment Framework provides updated guidance on best practice for submitting infrastructure business cases to Infrastructure Australia.

Assessment Framework—supporting stronger business cases

The Assessment Framework sets out the process we use to consider initiatives and projects for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List, acting as a manual for proponents making a submission to the list.

More than that, the Framework provides accessible guidance to promote best practice in the sector.

We use the Assessment Framework to promote best practice in cost benefit analysis and business case development for infrastructure proposals that come to us. In turn, this improves the quality of proposals included in the Infrastructure Priority List, which has become a critical point of reference for governments so that they can invest in projects that best meet our future infrastructure needs.

This year's update to the Framework provides easy-to-use guidance on three complex areas:

  • How climate change risks are treated in the economic appraisal of an infrastructure project (for example, would a mass transit project be impacted by increasing heat in cities? Have we accounted for changes in the demand drivers for certain infrastructure that might result from climate change, such as changing needs for energy, water and transport?).
  • How to capture land use impacts in the cost benefit analysis of an infrastructure project (for example, how to better capture the ‘city-shaping’ impact of a major transport project that is likely to influence where people live and work).
  • Reviewing and reporting on projects after implementation, to determine if outcomes were achieved and to inform future infrastructure decisions. It is critical that we learn from our past projects.

Strengthening the tools we use to design and learn from our endeavours in infrastructure is just as crucial as intelligent debate about how we want our cities and regions to grow.

We hope that the Assessment Framework, along with our Infrastructure Priority List, will help to improve the quality of infrastructure development in Australia and promote an exchange of knowledge that serves our shared future.

Thank you.

Philip Davies
Chief Executive, Infrastructure Australia