Delivering infrastructure policies, reforms and projects
Publishing this strategy is a new beginning, not an ending. We hope its strong, evidence-based ideas and recommendations influence the public discussion and government, business, and community decisions for many years. For more detail on each recommendation, we have produced a strategic estimate of its potential cost range, stipulated the recommended timing for delivery, and considered funding options for major policies, reforms and projects (see Appendix C of Volume 2).
We have deliberately made recommendations that the Victorian Government can implement. We also recognise that other governments, businesses, organisations and the Victorian community can also take action to achieve the strategy’s objectives. For example, we have noted some specific recommendations where the Australian Government can contribute in our funding options.
Most immediately, the Victorian Government has 12 months to respond to this strategy’s recommendations and publish a new five-year Victorian Infrastructure Plan. Even after this response and the Victorian Infrastructure Plan’s publication, the more detailed tasks of planning and delivery will continue. Infrastructure Victoria has a continuing role in monitoring delivery of the Victorian Infrastructure Plan by publishing regular assessments each year in our Annual Report.
Our consultations revealed many delivery aspects needing close attention to produce the best results. These include:
Integrating land use and infrastructure planning
Each policy change, reform and infrastructure project provides a new opportunity to better integrate with land use changes and other infrastructure sectors. This helps maximise the benefits of change, achieves better land use outcomes, and helps deliver the aspirations of Plan Melbourne.
Achieving climate goals
Achieving the Victorian target of net zero emissions by 2050 will require change in all infrastructure sectors. Each policy, reform and project should consider its climate impacts, resilience to a changing climate, and opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Deep consultation and engagement
Almost unanimously, communities, industries, local governments and organisations called for governments to consult with them more genuinely and thoroughly, when implementing infrastructure policies, reforms, and projects. Thorough consultation and engagement can reveal more detailed local community and industry impacts of decisions, help facilitate support, and identify opportunities to produce better outcomes. Given their traditional custodianship of the land and right to self-determination, genuine consultation with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities is especially critical.
Detailed planning and assessment
For this strategy, we have made recommendations based on strategic and high-level evidence. Before policies, reforms and projects are announced and implemented, they should be further interrogated and refined, such as with detailed business cases or regulatory impact statements. This will improve their ability to deliver benefits with greater confidence and lower costs.
Collaboration in delivery
Apart from the Victorian Government, other parties may bring knowledge and resources to achieve the strategy’s recommendations. The Victorian Government can fully explore all sources of funding and potential delivery partners in progressing the recommendations.
Achieving broader social and economic goals
Changes to infrastructure can include an examination of the way they can also contribute to broader Victorian Government social and economic goals.
Helping empower Aboriginal Victorians
Infrastructure projects can help advance the goals of self-determination, Closing the Gap in outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians, and enhancing the visibility of Aboriginal culture. For example, building on existing social procurement requirements giving Aboriginal Victorians jobs constructing infrastructure, helps further strengthen their employment outcomes. Similarly, new infrastructure can incorporate Aboriginal cultural symbols, artwork, totems, stories and languages to reflect and promote Victoria’s Aboriginal heritage and culture, helping increase its visibility and prominence.
Well-designed infrastructure maximises benefits and minimises impacts. Good design includes considering functionality, life-cycle infrastructure costs, energy efficiency, resilience and accessibility. Attention to aesthetics can help reduce community concern about preserving their neighbourhood character. Good design also explores opportunities for other benefits, such as creating and connecting open spaces.
Industry capacity and capability
Victoria has a significant pipeline of funded or committed infrastructure projects. The volume is challenging the capacity of the construction industry to deliver. This includes sourcing raw materials and maintaining a skilled workforce of professionals to build, operate and maintain the infrastructure. Industry capacity and capability should be a major consideration in planning and design of infrastructure polices, reforms and projects.
Job creation and social procurement
Infrastructure projects can create employment during their construction, and from their operation and maintenance, which may be especially important during economic downturns. Procurement can be used to help maximise the benefits of job creation, including by requiring local content, and ensuring jobs are offered to local communities, or to specific groups experiencing disadvantage, such as young people. Procurement can also help achieve environmental objectives, such as by requiring a minimum proportion of recycled materials.
The Infrastructure Victoria Act 2015 does not envisage a role for us in delivering this strategy. But our work continues, including by providing periodic advice to the Victorian Government, conducting research into infrastructure matters, and monitoring delivery of the Victorian Infrastructure Plan.
In three to five years, we will again update this strategy so it remains current, relevant, and incorporates the latest evidence. We thank everyone involved in helping create this strategy, and look forward to continuing our dialogue with communities, industries and governments.