The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has released a new report that urges governments to create a long-term plan for developing much-needed infrastructure to support the country’s economy.

The report compiles the views of 35 key representatives from the building sector, government and academia to call for a clear pathway to sustainable and productive infrastructure.

Emphasising the importance of sustainable and productive infrastructure to Australia’s economy, ASBEC President Ken Maher explains that current infrastructure planning processes suffer from short-term thinking, politicisation, and funding constraints.

Observing that the need of the hour is a truly visionary, 30-year plan that can spot the gaps and priorities across the nation, he urged governments to work collaboratively with the private sector to release new funds for infrastructure investment based on independent, transparent advice supported by broad cost-benefit analysis.

According to Maher, this investment is needed to ensure business investment can support the country’s growing population and the changing realities of a society where household energy consumption and car use is declining, while extreme weather events become more common through the impact of Climate Change.

Maher also notes that politicians are unable to look beyond the 3- or 4-year election timetable, and take too long to make critical infrastructure decisions, with scoping projects and tender processes stretching the timetable out to years. Underlining the importance of taking the long view, he said that a 30-year plan would be better than the 15-year plan intended by Infrastructure Australia.

ASBEC has identified that the pathway to the productive, sustainable infrastructure needed by Australia should include: a 30-Year Infrastructure Plan developed by Infrastructure Australia with 5-year review cycles, augmented by a National Spatial Masterplan; Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement informing the design and delivery of the Infrastructure Plan, founded in collaboration between community, industry and government; and Five Pathways guiding the implementation of the plan: Engagement, Planning, Decision, Funding and Execution.

Read the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council: Pathway to Productive and Sustainable Infrastructure Workshop Report.