Joining forces to attract infrastructure investment

Brendan Headshot 11102016.jpgBrendan Lyon is the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

Australia and New Zealand have a great relationship, because we’ve got a lot of shared experience and a huge amount of mutual regard and trust.

That’s why the Closer Economic Relations treaty was possible – an agreement to integrate two national economies which remains a world-class example more than 30 years on.

Getting agreement for the Australia New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline – known as ANZIP – was relatively easy, because of that long-standing trust between the two countries born of the deep government to government, business to business and people to people relationships.

ANZIP is a website that provides a detailed picture of the pipeline of infrastructure projects across all jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.  Its aim is to increase the visibility of prospective projects and thereby increase the attractiveness of both markets to international investors and construction firms.

With its launch just over a month ago, ANZIP makes our respective infrastructure investment markets highly visible to global investors.

This is important because infrastructure fuels economies, but it is also a very expensive, inter-generational investment.  Australia and New Zealand need global capital to fund our ambitious infrastructure programs.  There is already a very high level of appetite among investors for Australian and New Zealand infrastructure projects.  ANZIP will help to maintain and harness that appetite, even as the rest of the developed world struggles to recover their ailing infrastructure programs.

It also gives construction companies within Australia and New Zealand a credible and useful picture of the projects they should be getting ready for, as well as those they shouldn’t – for example, where the funding source is not visible or budgeted.

Australia and New Zealand are not competitors in the infrastructure market.  Rather, we compete together against the rest of the world to bring infrastructure skills and investment to our corner of the globe.

That’s why ANZIP makes good sense – it’s in the national interest of both countries.

Normally, a single investment pipeline for two countries would be too complex – bureaucracy and regulation would get in the way – but with ANZIP we found ourselves pushing on open doors in Wellington and Canberra.

One of the best aspects of the process has been the very clear commitment from both countries.  New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who launched the website with the Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, has been a real champion of the process.

There has also been very strong and active support from Australian Government Ministers and major departments.  The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade were instrumental in facilitating bilateral discussions, which allowed ANZIP to be quickly agreed and effectively developed.  Their role in guiding this process is a strong example of DFAT and Austrade getting good things done well.

We have been delighted with the high level of interest. www.infrastructurepipeline.org has seen 25,000 page views in its first month.  Clearly there’s an interest and a need for the kind of easily accessible information the pipeline provides.

Everyone wants good infrastructure – but the key to that is competition to bring down the cost and drive up the innovation in major projects. www.infrastructurepipeline.org provides a world-first, credible and clear analysis of what will be sold – and what will be built – across the Australian and New Zealand infrastructure markets.

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Brendan Lyon is the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the peak infrastructure policy partnership between Australia’s Commonwealth & state governments, and the business sector.

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