Many and varied reform initiatives have been advanced by state government in recent years and significant progress has been made in areas such as the land‑use planning system, mining approvals and procurement. Measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 recovery have amplified this reform program and pace of change for government, demonstrating how state agencies and GTEs can work collaboratively to respond to significant change. Yet there is still much more that can be done.
Aligning infrastructure planning and delivery to improve the way development and growth is managed in WA is a prevailing theme across this Strategy. Step-change improvement in infrastructure coordination is required, with more explicit direction from government about where, when and how growth should be accommodated to more effectively target infrastructure investment. Engagement with local governments and the community will be crucial to achieve holistic, integrated planning.
Maturing infrastructure planning, coordination and decision-making, including strengthening strategic asset plans, improving business case development, encouraging cross-government collaboration and fostering a culture of continuous improvement will contribute to better state and regional outcomes.
Sector challenges and opportunities
A combination of direction, culture and practice is required to ensure state agencies and government trading enterprises are working towards the same goal. Without this, the issues of siloed decision-making will be perpetuated – infrastructure will not always align with its strategic intent and demand, its purpose may be unclear, there will be duplicated or inconsistent governance and approvals and a lack of early and effective stakeholder collaboration.
Approval processes for infrastructure and investment proposals can be complex, difficult to navigate and costly. Several outdated legislative provisions are impeding outcomes or leading to unnecessarily protracted approvals for infrastructure proposals.
Land-use planning in WA has traditionally focused on the development of greenfield sites on the urban fringe to meet housing and employment needs. Rezoning significant tracts of land, with poor prioritisation over many years, has resulted in a growing infrastructure need across many dispersed development fronts. This creates challenges for providers in programming, funding and optimising outcomes (such as collocation and shared use) for infrastructure.
Recommendations in this chapter identify further reform needed to effect meaningful change.
Striving to achieve better infrastructure outcomes through collaboration and stewardship, with industry and community, across the public sector, and facilitating streamlined approvals and delivery processes for infrastructure, are critical to ensure adequate benefits and protection for the community and the environment are realised.
There needs to be priority given to land-use and infrastructure planning to ensure they are integrated and undertaken early, and collaboratively, to support timely and coordinated delivery of infrastructure needed for population and economic growth.
Optimising investment through the collocation of complementary infrastructure and services will optimise efficiencies, such as land requirements, streamlined approvals and best use of assets, while reducing environmental impacts and land fragmentation. Through the identification and security of key infrastructure, sites and corridors will provide certainty for service providers and the community that land will be available for critical infrastructure needs.
Ensuring state agencies and government trading enterprises are planning for the same future through the use of common planning assumptions and data sets, while building data capture and analytics capabilities will enable consistent access and application of data in infrastructure planning.
Supporting and facilitating infrastructure investment across the public and private sectors through shared and transparent information will provide transparency and coordination of the infrastructure pipeline.
Also by supporting sound, timely and informed infrastructure investment decisions (right project, right place, right time) that are made on a level playing field will create improved investment decision-making frameworks.
Across government there are a number of initiatives making it easier to do business in WA by improving regulation, processes and practice.
Major initiatives include: