Wednesday, 24 May 2023
Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023; Consideration in Detail
by leave—I move amendments (1), (2), (5) and (7) on the sheet revised 24 May 2023, as circulated in my name, together:
(1) Schedule 1, item 3, page 3 (after line 22), after paragraph 5(c), insert:
(d) to collect, analyse, share and publish cost and other project data on completed infrastructure projects for the purpose of producing reference class forecasts;
(2) Schedule 1, item 4, page 4 (after line 10), at the end of section 5A, add:
(4) Infrastructure Australia must:
(a) make an audit available on Infrastructure Australia's website as soon as practicable after giving the audit to the Minister; and
(b) cause a copy of an audit to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sittings days of that House after giving the audit to the Minister.
(3) Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (after line 8), after subsection 5B(8), insert:
(8A) Without limiting subsection (7), the proposals covered by that subsection include proposals that involve capital expenditure of at least $100 million.
(4) Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (after line 14), at the end of section 5B, add:
(10) The summary of a proposal evaluated during a quarter must also include:
(i) if the proposal involves capital expenditure of $100 million or more—a cost benefit analysis of the proposal prepared under section 5CA; or
(ii) for any other proposal—a cost benefit analysis of the proposal if one has been prepared under section 5CA; and
(b) a summary of Infrastructure Australia's evaluation of the proposal.
(5) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (after line 10), after subsection 5C(5), insert:
(5A) An Infrastructure Plan must include relevant reference class forecasts.
(6) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (after line 13), after section 5C, insert:
5CA Cost benefit analysis
(1) Infrastructure Australia must not include a proposal in an Infrastructure Priority List referred to in paragraph 5(b) unless a cost benefit analysis of the proposal has been prepared in accordance with a method approved under subsection (2).
(2) Infrastructure Australia must approve a method for preparing cost benefit analyses of proposals. The method must enable proposals to be compared.
(3) Infrastructure Australia must cause a method approved under subsection (2) to be reviewed:
(a) no later than 12 months after the commencement of this section; and
(b) every 24 months after that first review.
(4) Without limiting subsection (3), a review under that subsection must consider whether cost benefit analyses are adequately taking account of social, environmental and economic costs and benefits.
(5) The report of the review must be made available on Infrastructure Australia's website within 14 days of the report being approved by the Board.
(7) Schedule 1, page 8 (after line 9), after item 5, insert:
5A Afte r paragraph 6A(2)(d)
(da) the power to collect cost and other project data from infrastructure projects receiving public funding;
(8) Schedule 1, page 8 (after line 18), after item 7, insert:
7A Before section 40
39E Indexation of amounts
(1) The amount referred to in subsection 5B(8A) is to be indexed in accordance with the method determined by the Minister by legislative instrument. The method must provide for the amount to be indexed:
(a) for the first time on a day in 2028; and
(b) at least once every 5 years.
(2) The amount referred to in subparagraph 5B(10)(a)(i) is to be indexed at the same time, and by the same amount, as the amount referred to in subsection 5B(8A).
(3) Subsection 5B(8A) and subparagraph 5B(10)(a)(i) are taken, on and from a day of indexation, to refer to the amount as indexed on that day.
(9) Schedule 1, page 8 (before line 19), before item 8, insert:
National Land Transport Act 2014
7B Subsection 16(1)
Before "Commonwealth funding", insert "Subject to subsection (1A),".
7C After subsection 16(1)
(1A) If an Investment Project involves capital expenditure of $100 million or more, Commonwealth funding may only be provided if the project has been evaluated by Infrastructure Australia under section 5B of the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008.
7D After section 92
(1) The amount referred to in subsection 16(1A) of this Act is to be indexed at the same time, and by the same amount, as the amount referred to in subsection 5B(8A) of the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008.
(2) Subsection 16(1A) is taken, on and from a day of indexation, to refer to the amount as indexed on that day.
(10) Schedule 1, page 11 (after line 12), after item 21, insert:
21A Subsection 5CA(5)
Omit "Board", substitute "Commissioners".
These amendments are simple improvements to the Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023. They do two things. Firstly, they create a requirement that Infrastructure Australia publishes the infrastructure audits which it undertakes from time to time. It has surprised me to learn that no such requirement currently exists—that it is possible that Infrastructure Australia could take a strategic audit of the nation's infrastructure and not actually have to make that audit publicly available. Some would say that scenario is unlikely, and fair enough, but the standards of transparency in infrastructure investment are so parlous that I believe the parliament should legislate to require publication—