As a result of the pandemic, both the Federal and State Governments have boosted infrastructure spending to assist with the economic recovery. The additional funding has been significant – $66.9 billion is set to be spent on infrastructure in the 2020-21 financial year alone, which is a big increase from the original budget of $53.3 billion, pre-pandemic. 

This budget is also allocated to a range of smaller projects including transport and public housing, along with school and hospital upgrades across the country. The state with the biggest budget allocated is New South Wales.

INFRASTRUCTURE BEYOND COVID-19

In the government’s Infrastructure Beyond COVID-19 report, it highlights sweeping changes in the way Australians use critical infrastructure as a result of COVID-19 – across the transport, telecommunications, digital, energy, water, waste, and social infrastructure sectors.

There are unique opportunities that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic that the Australian Government has considered in policy, planning and investment when it comes to the infrastructure sector. Work from home, social distancing, infection control and recession are curveballs in critical infrastructure sectors that have shaped the planning for both the short and long term in Australia. 

The Infrastructure Priority List for 2021 takes into consideration these factors, and aims to mitigate some of the negative effects and consequences of COVID-19 trends on infrastructure. 

INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA’S 2021 INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITY LIST

According to Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Infrastructure Priority List, there are 44 new infrastructure proposals with a project pipeline of $59 billion. 180 projects and initiatives make up the list, with a record number of new projects making it to the list this year.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the way Australians use critical infrastructure. Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show changing work patterns, a pause on Net Overseas Migration, and a 200% increase in people moving from capital areas to regional areas. These changes present a range of new challenges and the Priority List looks to identify infrastructure investments that will meet the diverse needs of our communities in this new environment.

The key themes of the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List are:

– Opportunities to develop export gateways to support Australia’s international competitiveness

– Investment in new sources of energy and enabling infrastructure for hydrogen exports

– Driving economic development in regional communities and improving digital connectivity

– Investment to support digital health services in regional and remote Australia

– Addressing challenges around strategic planning for water capture, use and management

BRIDGING THE GAP WITH REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

The 2020–21 Regional Budget Package details more than 350 major new projects and individual initiatives which the Australian Government is promising to deliver in response to the challenges of drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19 from late 2019 onwards. 

Investment in the regional infrastructure pipeline and other government measures are designed to strengthen regional communities and assist them to recover and grow their economies. It will also increase awareness of regional gaps by improving understanding of place-based infrastructure needs and identifying common themes across regional areas.

TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Transport infrastructure was a significant feature of both the Infrastructure Priority List and the Federal Budget, with a record $110 billion being spent on a land transport infrastructure program from the Australian Government over the next 10 years. This will pertain to major road and rail projects, road safety and community infrastructure.

Over the next four years, an additional $10 billion has been allocated for funding towards projects bringing total commitments for new and accelerated projects since the onset of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

An additional $1 billion is being contributed to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program as well as $2 billion going towards the new Road Safety Program, both building Australian transport infrastructure over the next two years.

The $110 billion is split between each state and territory as below (with additional projects being supported across multiple states and territories): 

– $2.7 billion being spent in New South Wales

– $1.1 billion being spent in Victoria

– $1.3 billion being spent in Queensland

– $1.1 billion being spent in Western Australia

– $625 million being spent in South Australia

– $360 million being spent in Tasmania

– $167 million being spent in Northern Territory

– $155 million being spent in Australian Capital Territory

GOVERNMENT TENDERS

Government contract tenders can offer lucrative business opportunities for small businesses. However, while winning such work can mean a large step up for many businesses, taking on these projects is not without risk, and businesses need to be financially prepared when they apply for these tenders.

It is an expensive and time-consuming process for any business to put a tender up, so it’s crucial for small businesses to be aptly prepared to ensure strength to their bargaining power. When tendering for large scale work there are things small businesses can do to ensure their application stands out from the rest. 

These are our main tips: 

Financial considerations: Do you have enough capital on-hand to ensure you will be around to complete the work? Can you sustain services between invoice payments? The answers to these questions can greatly affect the assessment panel’s decision. Anything that the supplier can show that they are financially sound, such as having an invoice finance facility in place, is looked upon very favourably.

Be prepared: Getting ready to apply for tender ahead of time will reduce stress, make for a better application and win more business. Ahead of time, it’s a great idea to collate a series of tender documents that represent types of opportunities of interest. Preparation pays off.

Get to the point: When applying for tenders, keep it concise and answer the question. Making their job easy is key, the tenders that take the least time to evaluate are the best tenders.

Finding upcoming tenders: We have created a list of resources on our website on where to find accurate and reliable information relating to tenders and government contracts. Additionally, we have created a helpful e-book titled Landing The Big Fish which details, and can be downloaded here.

Available resources: There are formal training courses and workshops for companies that teach skills on how to develop strong tender responses. Additionally, talking to State and Commonwealth departments about how best to respond to a tender can be a great way to get clarity.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

Apricity Finance can help guide you on maximising the benefits and avoiding the pitfalls of working on large Government contracts.

Take a look at our webinar focussed on how SMEs can ensure working on these contracts works for their business, with insight from ASBFEO Deputy Ombudsman Dr. Craig Latham, and author Maurice Downing (Winning Government Tenders).

For information about invoice finance and more on Apricity Finance, visit here.

TALK TO AN INVOICE FINANCE SPECIALIST

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