$165 billion opportunity for sustainable infrastructure

Infrastructure Sustainability Council

Thursday, 31 October, 2019

$165 billion opportunity for sustainable infrastructure

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has announced that a project database of $165 billion underscores the unmissable opportunity for sustainable infrastructure to enhance productivity and quality of life while reducing environmental impact.

Infrastructure Australia launched its 2019 Audit in August, calling for long-term changes to the way governments plan, fund and deliver infrastructure. According to the audit, more than $200 billion in infrastructure investment is in the project pipeline, with $123 billion already underway.

In response, ISCA has released a submission outlining innovative industry-led solutions to support the design, delivery and operation of sustainable, resilient infrastructure.

“Australians know the decisions we make today will have long-term consequences as we adapt to climate change and disruptive technologies, while meeting the changing needs of growing communities,” ISCA CEO Ainsley Simpson said.

“Infrastructure Australia makes the challenge ahead clear: infrastructure projects are increasing in size and complexity. This demands innovative approaches to delivery, operations and skills development.

“We must meet our global emissions reductions targets under the Paris Agreement. In terms of Australia’s total emissions, 70% is generated through the construction, operation or use of infrastructure,” Simpson said.

“Creating a pathway to reduce infrastructure-related carbon, whether embodied or emitted, will have a significant positive effect on reducing our national emissions,” she added.

Infrastructure Australia’s audit identifies 180 challenges and opportunities; 22 of these are directly addressed by ISCA and the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating Scheme.

“We already have 63 projects worth $165 billion that demonstrate how well-planned, well-designed infrastructure can be economically and environmentally sustainable and support our growing communities over the long term,” Simpson said.

ISCA’s IS Rating Scheme links infrastructure development directly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, aligning industry best practice with global sustainability targets. IS-rated projects have collectively avoided 20 million tonnes of emissions, 150 million tonnes of waste to landfill and 170 million megalitres of water consumption.

“The audit notes that sustainability and resilience are not ‘fringe concepts’, but good economic practice — and ISCA agrees,” Simpson said.

“While it’s possible to start creating change at any point in an asset’s life cycle, the greatest opportunities lie at the earliest stages, starting with strategic planning.

“Australia has industry-accepted best practice benchmarks for sustainable, resilient infrastructure — the IS Rating Scheme. We now need wider mandates from all three tiers of government to ensure all infrastructure delivers cultural, social, environmental and economic benefits.

“Many of the issues raised in the audit demand revolutionary thinking and radical changes to industry practice. ISCA is working across the infrastructure sector to accelerate innovation because we know this will make the most of this unmissable opportunity.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/rvlsoft

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