New South Wales

G20 leaders establish Sydney as Global Infrastructure Hub

WORLD leaders at the recent G20 summit have agreed to establish a Global Infrastructure Hub to help foster collaboration between governments, the private sector and development banks to improve the functioning and financing of infrastructure markets.

To be based in Sydney, the Infrastructure Hub is expected to assist with the implementation of the G20's Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII), a multi-year program designed to support public and private investment in quality infrastructure.

"With a four year mandate, the Hub will work internationally to help countries improve their general investment climates, reduce barriers to investment, grow their project pipelines and help match investors with projects," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement last week.

It will be funded by the Australian Government and other G20 members, with additional support from non-member countries and other organisations.

"All countries, regardless of whether they are members of the G20, will be able to work with the Hub and access and contribute to the information and expertise it gathers," Mr Abbott said.

"Establishing the Global Infrastructure Hub is a significant and practical initiative by the G20 to drive faster progress on its infrastructure agenda and move engagement with the private sector beyond business as usual."

Property development industry group, Urban Taskforce, said establishing the Global Infrastructure Hub in Sydney could lead to extensive offshore opportunities for Australian infrastructure developers across Asia.

"With India planning 100 smart cities and China continuing to improve infrastructure, there will be great opportunities to involve these countries in World's Best Practice on getting the balance right between the roles of government and the private sector in the provision of infrastructure," said Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

"The rising middle class in Asia is leading to a major focus on new railways, metros, light rail, highways and major mixed use urban projects. Already many Australian companies are involved in very large infrastructure projects across Asia and other parts of the world.

"Some of our largest companies like Lend Lease, Brookfield Multiplex, Leighton Properties and Goodman are already leaders in their field in countries outside Australia.

"As well as the potential for increased markets for developers there is the increased work potential for consultants like project managers, planners, engineers and architects. Many of these disciplines are already operating offshore and the new Global Infrastructure Hub in Sydney can be of great assistance in connecting these consultants to new markets.

"A further gain to New South Wales and Sydney will be in the flow of international experts to contribute their knowledge to the enormous potential infrastructure projects proposed, particularly in Sydney.

"As the NSW Government ramps up its expenditure on infrastructure with the potential sale of the electricity poles and wires, Sydney and the state will benefit from the world's best infrastructure brains," Mr Johnson said.

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