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Infrastructure Sustainability Council calls for industry shake-up as the clock ticks on climate change and inequality

More than 300 infrastructure delegates from across Australia and New Zealand met last week at the Infrastructure Sustainability Council ReConnect conference in Sydney.

A clear call to action emerged for the infrastructure sector, with Infrastructure Sustainability Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Ainsley Simpson, challenging the industry to come together around a “shared vision.”

“Competitive advantage will not be defined by intellectual property, rather by the speed at which innovations are shared to reduce the learning curve for others,” said Ms Simpson.

The Council launched two new agendas which will be progressed through collaborative member coalitions:

Advance our nations, fair – world-class infrastructure for thriving nations, developed in partnership with Urbis, finds industry fragmentation, subjective decision-making, risk aversion and sectoral capacity are the key barriers to world-class infrastructure performance.

Launching the paper, Urbis Future State Director Kate Meyrick challenged the audience to remember infrastructure’s purpose.

“Infrastructure is about solving problems and enabling opportunities. If we want to be a better ancestor for future generations then we need to take a more restorative approach and make far bolder decisions today,” Ms Meyrick said.

Place-based approaches to net zero, launched in partnership with Mott MacDonald, calls for a systemic, networked approach to decarbonisation focused on towns, cities and regions rather than just assets, sectors and materials.

Amanda Sturgeon, Climate Change Practice Lead at Mott MacDonald said: “This is a call to action for the infrastructure sector to lead by example, thinking globally, acting locally in the cities and regions which we live, work and play.

“The true power of a place-based approach is that it unlocks innovation and new potential that would not be evident from a typical top-down approach, such as local business investment and community engagement in net zero solutions.”

The infrastructure industry continues to set new benchmarks in sustainability, demonstrated by the exceptional achievements celebrated at the Infrastructure Sustainability Council Gala Awards 2022.

“We are embarking on a decade of rapid transformation, and our members know that sustainable development is both a responsibility and an opportunity. They are taking action to address challenges and move forward sustainably,” Ms Simpson said.

During the conference, industry leaders gathered to reflect on the progress of the IS Rating Scheme and the Council over the decade.

The IS Rating Scheme was launched in February 2012 by then Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese. Today, the IS Rating Scheme boasts more than $210 billion worth of assets under rating, extending across the full asset life cycle, and every state and territory in Australia as well as Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The coming decade presents a unique chance to turn risk and disruption into opportunity and advantage. But this will require a bold new order of leadership – one that creates an operating environment of high coordination, high trust, high investment and high return,’’ said Ms Simpson.

About Infrastructure Sustainability Council

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council is Australia and New Zealand’s authority on sustainable infrastructure projects and assets. The Council’s purpose is to ensure all infrastructure delivers cultural, social, environmental and economic benefits. The Council works with more than 20 federal, state and local government departments in Australia and New Zealand. The Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme is mandated by delivery agencies and asset operators across Australia and New Zealand, with more than $200 billion infrastructure projects undertaking ratings. The Council represents 200-plus individual companies, departments and associations with a combined annual turnover of more than $50 billion. For more information, contact the Infrastructure Sustainability Council on or visit

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