Australia’s expected population increase and consistently changing landscape will bring
about future challenges in infrastructure. According to Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019, the population is predicted to reach 31.4 million by 2034. This massive growth
only means the country needs to meet the demand for better infrastructure and faster
service delivery to keep pace with the change.
And while every infrastructure aims to support the changing needs of the public, it is
crucial to understand how every project can improve service delivery to the masses and
determine its worth according to how it can provide the needs of the community.
Infrastructure needs to promote better service delivery. In ten years’ time, the country’s
continued growth is expected to bring in bigger challenges not only in being able to
provide the needs of the public, but also in making sure today’s current infrastructure is
scalable enough to grow with the population.
With the country’s growth comes a need to reassess what infrastructure investments
and reforms can help improve our living standards today and into the future.
We’ve come to observe how many of today’s infrastructure are unable to provide these
needs. The growing congestion in big cities, overcrowded streets and highways,
mounting costs and outages, and a general decline in service standards can question
just how effective today’s infrastructure is.
We need to be wary of signals that tell us why some of the infrastructure we see today
needs to be improved to support the country’s growth into the future.
Old or legacy infrastructures
In periods of growth, it can be easy to ignore old infrastructures, but foregoing maintenance repairs can only lead to bigger costs when bigger problems come along.
Foregoing preventive maintenance
A report from the Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019 notes a common trend of
underspending on preventative maintenance, lack of data, and inadequate reporting,
which has led to a backlog in maintenance funding throughout the infrastructure
This can lead to further degradation of assets, which can impact the cost of asset
maintenance in the future.
Planning and decision-making
Proper planning and making data-driven infrastructure decisions are crucial to long-
term success. Adhering to industry best practices and learning more about the needs of
the community ensure that these infrastructures are able to stay true to their core
purpose of giving the people better accessibility options that are of high quality and are
on par with international infrastructure standards.
The need for emission reduction
The Infrastructure Audit also reports that Australia is now at risk of failing to adhere to
the 2030 Paris Agreement commitment that aims to reduce emissions by 26–28% below
This means future infrastructure projects will have to pay closer attention to how it
impacts the environment and actively work at reducing these emission numbers,
specifically under transport, direct combustion, and fugitive emissions.
Operational restrictions in airports
As airports play a key role in the success of the country’s infrastructure efforts, service
providers will need to find ways to get past operational restrictions, which could reduce
their overall efficiency.
Now and into the future, it is important to consider how these reviews can compromise the need to augment Australia’s airports so it can better adapt to the needs of the people.
Collecting data-driven insights from the public
In a bid for customer-centricity, one area of opportunity for infrastructure owners is to
gather more user data and look into the essential insights that can help them
understand user behaviour so they can meet these expectations and even exceed them
in the future.
Doing so will not only promote innovation in finding new ways to deliver these services
better but also work together to promote efficiency both from the operations side and
the user experience.
Satellite cities can support growth
Smaller capitals and satellite cities in Australia can bring so much to lessening the
infrastructure woes of big cities. They can help accelerate growth by taking advantage of
the existing infrastructure found in bigger cities.
Australia can take the lead in sustainability
Making use of infrastructure best practices that promote sustainability can put Australia
in the centre stage, which not only inspires the world to do the same but also helps
create a better future for future generations.
This can also open more business opportunities that allow service providers the stage
to share innovative concepts that can transform other cities while focusing on quality
Conclusion: The Citizen Is King
One thing is for sure — the key to success in Australia’s growth is its people. This means
the government, city planners, investors, and stakeholders must learn to recognise the
changing needs of the people and find ways to address them in a sustainable way.
As the public’s needs evolve in the next ten years, Australia’s infrastructure must evolve
with it. And as the population increases, the need for infrastructure maintenance
These factors must be put front and centre throughout the planning, designing
maintenance, or repurposing of today’s infrastructures to ensure these can positively
impact the needs of people now and into the future.
Making use of customer insights and real-time data can help Australia’s decision-makers
to go beyond old patterns and build lasting infrastructures that are scalable, practical,
and help support the community in getting what they need to be where they need to
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