Australia is influenced by domestic and global trends, now and into the future. While change is constant, it is increasingly complex and interrelated. The pace of change today is rapid and accelerating. These forces play a role in creating an uncertain environment for policy and investment, which has implications for Australia’s infrastructure over the coming 15 years.
The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 has identified seven significant and interconnected influences for the future:
Quality of life and equity considers Australia’s overall quality of life and areas where living standards remain unequal because of social or geographic factors. It explores how unequal access is addressed through wellbeing and liveability frameworks to guide decision making and investment.
Cost of living and incomes considers the relationship between quality of life and the cost of living, and the impacts for people on lower incomes and those who live outside of the inner areas of fast-growing cities. It looks at changes to the cost of essential household items and services, against flat wages growth and high levels of household debt, reducing household budget resilience and capacity to pay.
Community preferences and expectations examines the changing preferences and expectations Australians place on institutions, services and products, largely enabled by technological advancements. Not all Australians are experiencing the benefits of Australia’s economic growth, and trust in governments and businesses appears to be falling. Governments and businesses are using improved technological capabilities to adapt to and shape-changing community demands.
Economy and productivity reflects on Australia’s long-term positive economic growth and the ongoing shift to service and knowledge industries – the latter posing economic productivity benefits, but also contributing to uncertainty. At the same time, economic activity and jobs are increasingly located in urban areas. It also considers challenged public sector budgets, very low levels of net debt and opportunities for sustainable borrowing.
Population and participation shows that Australia’s population is growing, ageing and urbanising, providing opportunities but also posing challenges to our economic and social wellbeing. Participation in the workforce is increasing across Australia, particularly for women and older people who are working longer.
Technology and data considers the impacts of technology evolving at a faster rate, and in more interconnected ways, than ever before. This provides opportunities for improved decision making and individualised products and services. While Australia is an early adopter of consumer technologies, we struggle to commercialise our own innovations and expertise. Protecting data privacy and security is a challenge as our lives become more connected and digital.
Environment and resilience considers how Australian society has been shaped by and relies on, its environment. Our environment is experiencing increasing weather extremes and threats to biodiversity from human activity, particularly due to the effects of global climate change. Australia’s response to climate change and environmental management is currently falling behind growing community support for change and international progress.
Ultimately our nation-building infrastructure is heading in the right direction.
Infrastructure spending is helping to drive the Australian economy. Deloitte Access Economics lists $324b worth of private and public infrastructure projects and Infrastructure Australia has identified $55b worth of projects on its national priority list over the next 15 years.
Want to talk about current or future infrastructure projects?
Get in touch with Alex Scott, Team Lead – Engineering & Project Management, on email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 0424 150 589.