Under the Infrastructure Victoria Act 2015, Infrastructure Victoria must prepare an updated infrastructure strategy every three to five years. Victoria’s infrastructure strategy 2021–2051 is an update and builds on the 2016 version. We have undertaken many activities in preparing this updated strategy. For our full methodology, please refer to Appendix D in Volume 2.
Consulting on and reviewing objectives
Infrastructure Victoria surveyed the Victorian community on the strategy objectives.22 This confirmed substantial support for the existing objectives. Our objectives also align with the directions in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In response to the survey feedback, and in line with the SDGs, we have adjusted the language of the objectives to make them clearer. You can find the survey report at infrastructurevictoria.com.au
Releasing a discussion paper
In April 2019, Infrastructure Victoria published a discussion paper, Growing Victoria’s potential, framing some of the strategic issues confronting Victoria to inform the strategy. We have incorporated the feedback on this discussion paper in our analysis.
Consulting on the draft strategy
We released a draft strategy for consultation in December 2020. To maximise opportunities for community and stakeholder input, we developed a three-month engagement program, including 34 online forums, roundtables, and community focus groups. We received over 200 submissions. From these aactivities, we received over 2600 proposals for changes to the draft strategy. We have considered each of these and incorporated them as appropriate. For more information, see Appendix E of Volume 2, and Victoria’s draft infrastructure strategy public engagement findings report.
Infrastructure Victoria commissioned the state’s largest ever online deliberative community panel, to examine how the Victorian Government should support people to adopt low or zero emissions vehicles sooner. The Tackling transport emissions to encourage uptake of low or zero emissions vehicles sooner – community panel report has informed the development of recommendations in this strategy.
Focusing on regional infrastructure priorities
Infrastructure Victoria has undertaken a program of work to better understand the infrastructure priorities of Victoria’s regions. This included substantial data collection and workshops held in each region to produce Regional Infrastructure Needs profiles. We used two frameworks designed to assess potential recommendations that either built on comparative advantage or addressed regional disadvantage, supported by stakeholder feedback. These form the basis of many recommendations in this strategy. You can find all the related reports on our webpage about Infrastructure priorities for the regions.
As part of the strategic assessment of projects, Infrastructure Victoria has commissioned new modelling incorporating population, employment, transport infrastructure, land use planning and economics, so the most up to date evidence informs our recommendations. This includes modelling of major transport projects, and examines different future scenarios. This modelling and economic assessments allowed us to prepare our Major transport program strategic assessment report, about the performance and viability of major transport projects.
Responding to external changes
This strategy was developed during a time of considerable change, including from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have undertaken additional research on the short-term impacts of the pandemic on transport demand, documented in our research report Transporting Melbourne’s Recovery. We have also modelled scenarios that consider potential longer-term effects of the pandemic, such as greater incidence working from home, documented in our Major transport program strategic assessment report. We have considered the potential effects of these circumstances on our recommendations.
Undertaking new research and advice
Beyond our work on regional infrastructure needs, Infrastructure Victoria undertook many research projects to gather more evidence on specific issues. We have published several research reports on transport network pricing, infrastructure provision in different development settings, metropolitan infrastructure needs, social housing outcomes, water governance, housing targets and cost reflective energy pricing, all available on our website. We have published three substantial reports on advice requested by the Victorian Government, including on future ports Page 14 Victoria’s infrastructure strategy 2021-2051 capacity, automated and zero emissions vehicles, and recycling and resource recovery infrastructure. In December 2020, the Victorian Government requested advice on gas infrastructure, to be delivered in December 2021. We also undertook internal research projects on climate change, infrastructure for growth areas, density done well, integrated land use and infrastructure planning, energy transition, social and affordable housing, health infrastructure and justice and emergency services infrastructure. This strategy reflects the findings of these new research and advice projects.
Timing, costings and funding options
We have proposed a timeline and undertaken strategic costings for each recommendation, and also proposed potential funding options for recommended major policies, reforms and projects. These costings are strategic level estimates, and often expressed as a cost range. A final costing requires more detailed work by the Victorian Government, based on implementation specifications. The detail of the timing, costing and funding options for each recommendation can be found in Appendix C of Volume 2.
In many instances, Infrastructure Victoria commissioned pre-eminent experts to provide their views on developing evidence and potential recommendations for this strategy. For example, we consulted expert advisers to develop our assessment frameworks for Infrastructure priorities for the regions and established a Transport Advisory Panel to inform the development of transport recommendations. Our advice reports also used expert advisors to inform their findings.
Reviewing and revising 2016 recommendations
Infrastructure Victoria has reviewed all the recommendations made in the 2016 strategy. We have used updated evidence, modelling and analysis to re-examine them for inclusion in this strategy. Some of our 2016 recommendations have been implemented or substantial progress has been made, and therefore they do not reappear here. For others, the strategic context has changed, or new evidence has been produced, and the recommendations have been revised to reflect this. New evidence suggested some new actions which have formed the basis of new recommendations. We have documented progress on the 2016 recommendations and their links with this strategy (see Appendix F in Volume 2). Progress has been made in implementing most of our 2016 recommendations. Of the 137 recommendations, our review finds that 29 have been substantially completed, 98 are in progress, and 10 have not commenced.
Engaging stakeholders and the community
Beyond the three-month consultation on the draft strategy, we have extensively engaged with stakeholders throughout our evidence gathering, research and advice development phases, including with the Victorian Government, local governments, businesses, community organisations and the Victorian community. We have also engaged with multiple government and stakeholder reference groups for different strategy and research activities. We have engaged people consistently, in multiple ways, including surveys, deliberative forums, submissions processes and using digital and social media platforms.
Consulting on the draft strategy
Infrastructure Victoria released a draft of this strategy for consultation on Wednesday, 9 December 2020. We designed a comprehensive engagement program to facilitate community feedback that ran until 26 February 2021, using our own website and the Victorian Government’s Engage Victoria consultation portal. During the engagement period, we recorded 18,798 visits to the Infrastructure Victoria website and 7048 visits to the Engage Victoria portal, a total of 25,846 web visitors.
We also consulted widely on the themes and recommendations through 34 community and stakeholder events during the consultation period, attended by 464 participants. This comprised:
192 participants at nine regional roundtables
142 participants at 12 industry or sectoral dialogues
78 participants at five workshops
28 participants at two local government forums
24 participants in six focus groups.
We also commissioned a deliberative engagement process to better understand the community’s views on supporting the uptake of zero emissions vehicles, as part of this consultation program. A further 211 Victorians took part in a five-week virtual workshop series. Victorians were encouraged to lodge a submission on the draft strategy, complete a survey, answer discussion questions, attend a focus group or otherwise contribute through the Engage Victoria website. We documented more than 2600 proposals for change, including feedback from more than 200 submissions.