Yesterday, Infrastructure Australia released the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, a forward-looking view of Australia’s infrastructure challenges and opportunities, based in part on a national survey of 5,000 Australians conducted by JWS Research.
This is the second national Audit Infrastructure Australia has undertaken, the first, published in 2015, was the first ever independent, comprehensive review of Australia’s infrastructure and our future needs across transport, water, energy and telecommunications. A key aspect of The Audit is that the views of the community are considered.
Infrastructure Australia sought robust, independent research to assess public opinion on a comprehensive range of infrastructure types, related issues such as funding, investment priorities and emerging technologies.
JWS Research designed and conducted a nationally representative online survey of n=5,000 Australian adults to provide Infrastructure Australia with insights into community views on access, quality and affordability of key infrastructure (e.g. energy, water, telecommunications, transport and social infrastructure) – including current sentiment, comparisons with five years ago, and expectations for the next five years. The research also provided insight into Australian views on infrastructure funding, investment priorities, population growth, technological innovations, the role of infrastructure in decisions about where to live, work or locate businesses, and community consultation.
The large sample size of the research ensured robust understanding of community opinion within individual states and territories, as well as by key subgroups such as business owners, families with children, and others.
Considering community opinion vital to prevent stalled projects
The 2019 Audit found that the recent infrastructure boom is set to be the new normal as Australia’s population increases and engaging with the community will be crucial to ensuring vital infrastructure projects are successfully completed. Infrastructure Australia Chair, Julieanne Alroe, explains “The 2019 Audit finds that engagement with customers and the broader community on project planning, needs to increase across most sectors and jurisdictions. A failure to engage can carry substantial costs to projects, and it is estimated that around $20 billion worth of infrastructure projects was delayed, cancelled or mothballed due to community opposition over the past decade.”
Ms Alroe stressed, “better engagement with communities and businesses can help to establish a social licence for projects as it provides an opportunity to incorporate their feedback through project planning and delivery. Establishing genuine community buy-in for need to reform must be a priority for government and industry alike as we embark on a new era of investment and reform to meet Australia’s changing and growing infrastructure needs.”