Perspective on Australian Infrastructure 2020

Australia’s expected population increase and consistently changing landscape will bring about future challenges in infrastructure. According to Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019, the population is predicted to reach 31.4 million by 2034. This massive growth only means the country needs to meet the demand for better infrastructure and faster service delivery to keep pace with the change.

And while every infrastructure aims to support the changing needs of the public, it is crucial to understand how every project can improve service delivery to the masses and determine its worth according to how it can provide the needs of the community.

Infrastructure needs to promote better service delivery. In ten years’ time, the country’s continued growth is expected to bring in bigger challenges not only in being able to provide the needs of the public, but also in making sure today’s current infrastructure is scalable enough to grow with the population.  

With the country’s growth comes a need to reassess what infrastructure investments and reforms can help improve our living standards today and into the future.


Infrastructure Challenges

We’ve come to observe how many of today’s infrastructure are unable to provide these needs. The growing congestion in big cities, overcrowded streets and highways, mounting costs and outages, and a general decline in service standards can question just how effective today’s infrastructure is.

We need to be wary of signals that tell us why some of the infrastructure we see today
needs to be improved to support the country’s growth into the future.


Old or legacy infrastructures

In periods of growth, it can be easy to ignore old infrastructures, but foregoing maintenance repairs can only lead to bigger costs when bigger problems come along.


Foregoing preventive maintenance

A report from the Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019 notes a common trend of underspending on  preventative maintenance, lack of data, and inadequate reporting, which has led to a backlog in maintenance funding throughout the infrastructure sector. This can lead to further degradation of assets, which can impact the cost of asset maintenance in the future.


Planning and decision-making

Proper planning and making data-driven infrastructure decisions are crucial to long-term success. Adhering to industry best practices and learning more about the needs of the community ensure that these infrastructures are able to stay true to their core purpose of giving the people better accessibility options that are of high quality and are on par with international infrastructure standards.


The need for emission reduction

The Infrastructure Audit also reports that Australia is now at risk of failing to adhere to the 2030 Paris Agreement commitment that aims to reduce emissions by 26–28% below 2005 levels.

This means future infrastructure projects will have to pay closer attention to how it impacts the environment and actively work at reducing these emission numbers, specifically under transport, direct combustion, and fugitive emissions.


Operational restrictions in airports

As airports play a key role in the success of the country’s infrastructure efforts, service providers will need to find ways to get past operational restrictions, which could reduce their overall efficiency.

Now and into the future, it is important to consider how these reviews can compromise the need to augment Australia’s airports so it can better adapt to the needs of the people.


Infrastructure Opportunities

Collecting data-driven insights from the public

In a bid for customer-centricity, one area of opportunity for infrastructure owners is to gather more user data and look into the essential insights that can help them understand user behaviour so they can meet these expectations and even exceed them in the future. Doing so will not only promote innovation in finding new ways to deliver these services better but also work together to promote efficiency both from the operations side and the user experience.


Satellite cities can support growth

Smaller capitals and satellite cities in Australia can bring so much to lessening the infrastructure woes of big cities. They can help accelerate growth by taking advantage of the existing infrastructure found in bigger cities.


Australia can take the lead in sustainability

Making use of infrastructure best practices that promote sustainability can put Australia in the centre stage, which not only inspires the world to do the same but also helps create a better future for future generations.

This can also open more business opportunities that allow service providers the stage to share innovative concepts that can transform other cities while focusing on quality and cost.


Conclusion: The Citizen Is King

One thing is for sure — the key to success in Australia’s growth is its people. This means the government, city planners, investors, and stakeholders must learn to recognise the changing needs of the people and find ways to address them in a sustainable way.

As the public’s needs evolve in the next ten years, Australia’s infrastructure must evolve with it. And as the population increases, the need for infrastructure maintenance becomes imperative.

These factors must be put front and centre throughout the planning, designing maintenance, or repurposing of today’s infrastructures to ensure these can positively impact the needs of people now and into the future.

Making use of customer insights and real-time data can help Australia’s decision-makers to go beyond old patterns and build lasting infrastructures that are scalable, practical, and help support the community in getting what they need to be where they need to be.

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