Introducing Infrastructure Western Australia (IWA)

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On 23 July 2019, the Governor appointed Mr John Langoulant AO as chairperson of the board of Infrastructure WA, along with fellow board members Nicole Lockwood (Deputy Chair), Mr Terry Agnew, Ms Kerryl Bradshaw, Ms Andrea Sutton and Mr Wayne Zekulich.

Infrastructure WA (IWA) was established under the Infrastructure Western Australia Act which commenced in part on 24 July 2019.  IWA is intended to provide strategic direction to the Government to support private sector investment in, and growth of, state infrastructure.

This article provides a high-level overview of the Infrastructure Western Australia Act.

What is the Act about?

The purpose of the Act is to provide a more coordinated approach to infrastructure planning and prioritisation. The Act intends to achieve this by:

  • establishing IWA to provide infrastructure advice and assistance to the Government;
  • creating a framework for the preparation and implementation of infrastructure strategies and programmes; and
  • creating a framework for assessing and reporting on major infrastructure proposals.

State Infrastructure Strategy and State Infrastructure Program

IWA is required to prepare and submit State Infrastructure Strategies generally not less than every 5 years. Each strategy is required to identify significant infrastructure needs and priorities over the next 20 years. It includes recommendations for specific projects and programmes including options for funding and financing (when appropriate). The strategy must also identify current and future deficiencies in infrastructure, assess options for meeting needs and priorities and assess affordability of recommendations. Each strategy is subject to public consultation prior to submission to Government. The Government is required to provide a response to each recommendation in the State Infrastructure Strategy (Government Response). The Government Response must also be laid before the parliament and made publicly available.

The State Infrastructure Programme is prepared by the Premier in consultation with the Treasurer. It is a public document that provides a 10-year overview of the Government’s proposed significant infrastructure needs and challenges and options to address them. The State Infrastructure Programme takes into account the recommendations in the State Infrastructure Strategy to the extent that they are supported by the Government Response.

Major Infrastructure Proposals

The provisions relating to Major Infrastructure Proposals have not yet come into force. They will come into operation on a date to be proclaimed – which is as yet unknown.

State agencies including departments, statutory authorities and GTEs will be required to submit a Major Infrastructure Proposal to IWA for infrastructure projects that either:

  • has an estimated capital cost of $100 million or more;
  • is nominated by the Premier as a Major Infrastructure Project; or
  • is prescribed by the regulations to be a Major Infrastructure Project.

IWA is required to assess each proposal in accordance with guidelines and submit a report to the Premier on the proposal. The State agency or Government must not decide to implement a proposal until the report and the proposal has been submitted to the Premier. The Premier / IWA must make the summary of the report publicly available within 6 months.

How does the Act impact on the Private Sector?

Market-led Proposals submitted by businesses in accordance with the Market Led Policy introduced by the Government on 12 April 2019 that meet the definition of a Major Infrastructure Proposal under the Act will also be referred to IWA by the Government for assessment.

A Market-led Proposal is a proposal from the private sector to the Government to:

  • build and/or finance infrastructure;
  • provide goods or services; or
  • purchase a Government owned asset,

where the Government has not requested the proposal.

In accordance with the policy, IWA will review proponents that have reached stage 2 of the evaluation process – business case evaluation. IWA will provide its advice to Cabinet to inform the decision on whether to invite the proponent to proceed to Stage 3 of the evaluation process – negotiation of a final binding offer. The Market Let Policy Steering Committee may also request IWA to provide advice on proposals at any time.

How does the Act impact on the Government Sector?

State agencies have a number of obligations under the Act. These key obligations include to:

  • align strategies, plans and policies with the relevant recommendations in the State Infrastructure Strategy (as supported in the Government response) and relevant aspects of the State Infrastructure Programme;
  • implement the relevant recommendations in the State Infrastructure Strategy (supported in the Government Response ) and relevant aspects of the State Infrastructure Programme; and
  • assist IWA in the preparation of annual reports on the implementation of the State Infrastructure Strategy.
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