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Response to the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019

Infrastructure Australia Round Table

IAP2 Australasian members, Directors and CEO attended the Infrastructure Australia Round Table on Community Engagement held in Sydney at Infrastructure Australia’s offices in September 2019.

At the Round Table the participants focused on two key challenges:

21       Challenge

Many decisions are being made without meaningful engagement, and without the means form comment and stakeholder feedback to inform project planning and delivery.

By not adequately engaging governments and proponents miss the opportunity to address stakeholder’s concerns, ensure projects and reforms meet their needs, establish social licence and build trust in decisions.

33       Challenge

Community pressure can encourage premature project commitments or the acceleration of project delivery. Decision makers are often poorly

resourced to respond to this pressure to arrive at an informed decision.

Poorly planned, budgeted or scoped projects can result in project cost blow-outs or delays, as well as a failure to meet project objectives, resulting in long-term costs to users.

Participants at the Round Table also considered the relationship between Challenge 33 and Challenges 30 and 31.

At the conclusion of the discussions, IAP2 Australasia offered to invite further member feedback at the annual IAP2 Australasian Conference, advising that it would not be available until post the extended submission close date of 30 October 2019. This feedback is provided below.

IAP2 Australasia Response

IAP2 Australasia asked delegates at the annual IAP2 Australasian Conference to complete a short survey, via the conference software application (or ‘app’).

The short survey contained six statements that were based on the Round Table discussions. Each of the statements arrived at a number of suggestions to address the Challenge 21 and Challenge 33.

Survey respondents were asked to provide their feedback on the suggestions and to rate the following six statements according to their level of agreement.

A summary of the responses received from conference delegates is provided below.

Statement Response
Legislate to drive quality community engagement and participation in infrastructure planning. 69.5% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
Provide more resources to engage communities at the problem stages of the infrastructure planning, not just the solution. 91.3% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
Make community engagement a key performance indicator for Chief Executives and other leaders. 91.3% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
Ensure contracts with the major contractor define engagement outcomes, obligations and budget. 91.3% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
Pass stakeholder and customer databases through the project lifecycle, from one lead agency to the next to ensure continuity of knowledge. 84% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
Change business case requirements to ensure a social risk profile is included in all project assessments. 95.6% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.

To conclude, IAP2 Australasia strongly supports leading practice engagement through the lifecycle of infrastructure feasibility, planning and delivery in Australia. We believe infrastructure leaders play a significant role in fostering an industry that recognises the importance of quality engagement and its role in the delivery of successful and sustainable infrastructure outcomes.