A BI-ANNUAL national infrastructure forum will be established to improve the way major projects are delivered in Australia, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell announced last week.
Mr O'Farrell said the first forum would be hosted by the NSW Government and provide a platform for governments to identify best practice across other jurisdictions and foster greater collaboration with the private sector.
"More than 50 per cent of the nation's publicly funded infrastructure spend is delivered by the private sector yet its expertise has been under-utilised by government," Mr O'Farrell said.
"A more interactive approach between government and industry – particularly during project planning - can achieve more innovation and better outcomes for taxpayers.
"From the concept to construction stages, there are inefficiencies in how infrastructure is delivered – this affects the final cost of projects to government and can be the difference between projects getting off the ground or not."
Mr O'Farrell said the lack of a coordinated and staged national pipeline of projects has emerged as a major issue in the NSW Government's discussions with the private sector, adding that NSW is keen to progress the development of a medium term, rolling construction schedule of projects being undertaken by all three levels of government.
"This would give industry greater certainty for planning, better innovation and procurement, which in turn will lead lower construction costs," Mr O'Farrell said.
"I am delighted an outcome of COAG was for NSW to host the first National Infrastructure Delivery Forum to start this important process, which fits in with our own infrastructure agenda in NSW."
According to the NSW Government, the forum was a recommendation of the Better Value Infrastructure Plan presented to COAG by NSW, which aims to improve the way infrastructure is delivered by:
- Publishing a project pipeline for industry;
- Working closely with industry to achieve more innovative and commercial solutions in infrastructure design and delivery;
- Promoting skills development in the management of projects through secondments between government and industry; and
- Removing duplication between levels of government to reduce the regulatory burden of environmental planning and assessment processes.