Budget a win for sustainable infrastructure

Thursday, 08 October, 2020

Budget a win for sustainable infrastructure

According to ISCA, the federal government’s latest Budget will pave the way for resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

“The Morrison government’s ambitious Budget responds to the once-in-a-century health and economic crises. We now have a once-in-a-century opportunity to reform the way we plan, design, build and maintain our infrastructure assets,” said Ainsley Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of ISCA.

Among the measures announced by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday night, $14 billion has been allocated to new and accelerated infrastructure projects, including Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail and the Western Sydney international airport.

A further $3 billion will be invested in shovel-ready projects, including smaller-scale road safety projects.

“We think this is the right balance between major investment in nation-building infrastructure and smaller-scale projects that optimise existing assets and support jobs in local communities,” Simpson said.

“As infrastructure plays a central role in Australia’s economic recovery, the scale of the federal government’s investment will challenge industry capacity to not only deliver, but to do so sustainably.

Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Infrastructure Audit outlined the challenge: historic levels of investment in megaprojects that were, in some cases, exceeding industry capacity. We are therefore pleased to see that Infrastructure Australia has been allocated new funding to research market capacity and provide an annual snapshot to support the delivery of the investment pipeline and targeted reform.

“We have solid evidence that measuring the sustainability performance of infrastructure upskills the workforce, encourages innovation and trains people to think more strategically across the asset life cycle, which in turn enhances procurement and supply chain efficiencies.”

Independent analysis undertaken by RPS Group, IS Rating Scheme Return on Investment, finds infrastructure projects rated under the IS Rating Scheme will deliver up to $2.40 in benefit for every dollar spent.

ISCA also welcomes the $1.9 billion investment in next-generation energy technologies, which will support low-emissions and renewable technologies and help the federal government reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

“This investment is significant, given 70% of Australia’s emissions are generated by infrastructure,” Simpson said.

ISCA looks forward to further investment to strengthen Australia’s resilience and response to climate change following the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

“As we roll up our sleeves and get to work, our challenge is to ensure the multibillion-dollar investment ahead delivers jobs and growth today, and secures positive, social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for many years to come,” Simpson said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/pogonici

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