Major construction players welcome Infrastructure Victoria proposal
The Australian Constructors Association (ACA), which represents the country’s major construction contractors, has welcomed the initiative of the Victorian Government in introducing legislation to establish Infrastructure Victoria
Commenting on the legislation currently before the Victorian Parliament, ACA Executive Director, Lindsay Le Compte said that the proposal is an important first step in de-politicising the identification and development of important infrastructure projects for the State.
"It is pleasing to see the Government moving forward with the legislation to establish Infrastructure Victoria as an independent statutory body with a charter to develop a 30 year State infrastructure plan," Le Compte said.
However, Le Compte also said that there are opportunities to improve the legislation before it is enacted to strengthen the role of Infrastructure Victoria to avoid the potential for the political process to destabilise the infrastructure pipeline that the 30 year strategy is designed to achieve.
Le Compte said that, unlike the position in NSW, the legislation provides for the Government, and not Infrastructure Victoria, to be responsible for developing five year infrastructure plans.
"While the legislation empowers the Government to refer its five year plans to Infrastructure Victoria for advice, the legislation does not oblige the Government to do so. This could have the unintended consequence of supporting arguments as to the politicisation of infrastructure planning and development when the opportunity is available to disconnect the infrastructure pipeline from the electoral cycle.
"While governments will always retain the ultimate decision on infrastructure priorities, it should at least be a requirement for Infrastructure Victoria to assess and comment on all plans before they are adopted. This would ensure that any issues that are raised by the community, stakeholders and interest groups are able to be assessed by an independent body, thus enabling the Government to avoid arguments that the plans are politically motivated.
"This approach would also support business confidence and add much needed certainty to the construction industry and its supply chain that projects will proceed according to announced programs and timeframes," Le Compte said.
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