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Media Release | Federal Budget 2020

Australia’s well-balanced Budget a once-in-a-century Opportunity for Sustainable Infrastructure

Wednesday 7 October 2020, Sydney:
A well-balanced budget sets the foundations for sustainable, resilient and productive infrastructure, says the nation’s peak body for sustainable infrastructure, ISCA.

“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,” says Ainsley Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of ISCA.

Among the measures announced by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday night, a massive $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,” Ms Simpson explains.

“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 mega-projects 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,” Ms Simpson says.

“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 lifecycle, 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 per cent of Australia’s emissions are generated by infrastructure,” Ms Simpson says.

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 multi-billion-dollar investment ahead delivers jobs and growth today, and secures positive, social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for many years to come,” Ms Simpson concludes.