Outgoing Infrastructure Australia Executive calls for reform in city planning

Infrastructure Australia’s chief executive, Philip Davies, left his role at the end of July with some advice for the future of Australia’s city planning.

In an article for AFR Weekend, Davies discussed the need for a shift in the way Australian cities are planned.

The Financial Review’s Jenny Wiggins highlighted the weight of this message in her follow-up article.

“We need to change the culture … government departments need to be more engaged with the community around what choices they want to have but we’re still not doing that, we’re leading with the infrastructure solution when the community doesn’t even know what the problem is that we’re trying to solve,” Davies claimed.[1]

This comes as Infrastructure Australia released the July 2018 Infrastructure Priority List. According to this document, as of August nine, Australia has seven high priority infrastructure projects, including the Brisbane Metro and New South Wales WestConnex upgrade.[2] The seven Priority Infrastructure projects include Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane and SA’s Eyre Infrastructure Project.

As reported by Simon Benson for The AustralianDavies discussed Australia’s population growth as another key factor suffering neglect from stakeholders.

“An additional 11.8 million people will call Australia home in the next 30 years, with the bulk of this growth occurring in our largest cities — Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth,” Mr Davies said.[3]

“The reality is, if we don’t ¬improve the way we plan and ¬deliver our infrastructure, we won’t cope with this growth and our cities will be characterised by congestion and constraint”.

Robust, transparent and accountable decision-making is at the crux of Davies’ call for public infrastructure reform.

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Written by Amelia Fynes-Clinton for Globe Group.

[1] J Wiggins, ‘’Complete shift’ needed on infrastructure projects, says ex IA CEO Philip Davies’, The Australian Financial Review, 27 July 2018, available from: https://www.afr.com/business/cultural-change-needed-on-infrastructure-projects-says-ex-ia-ceo-philip-davies-20180725-h134gm, viewed 9 August 2018.

[2] Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure Priority List, Australian Government & Infrastructure Australia, July 2018, https://ia-priority-list.herokuapp.com/pdf, viewed 9 August 2018.

[3] S Benson, ‘Infrastructure blueprint to fix our choked cities’, The Australian, 24 July 2018, available from: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/infrastructure-blueprint-to-fix-our-choked-cities/news-story/39598904efc08b60661e7d915245668a, viewed 9 August 2018.