Partnerships essential to accelerating reforms: Deegan

Working groups of bureaucrats and industry 'heavyweights' to accelerate reforms, Infrastructure Australia’s Michael Deegan says.

Governments may need to set up working groups of bureaucrats and industry "heavyweights" to accelerate transport reforms, Infrastructure Australia’s Michael Deegan says.

Deegan, who is responsible for coordinating infrastructure investment from the $20 billion Building Australia Fund, says overhauling transport regulations to promote consistency does not need to be a slow process.

He says Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese is "having a real crack" but public servants already have a lot to do in dealing with state-based issues and many are overwhelmed by the increased workload.

To speed up the process, he suggests giving the transport industry a bigger say by partnering them with bureaucrats in groups focussed specifically on one issue.

"The pace of change in regulations doesn’t need to be slow. It can’t be that hard," Deegan says.

Deegan says Infrastructure Australia will take a collaborative approach in funding road, rail and port projects, saying it is better to talk to people rather than dictate to them.

The government body is currently receiving submissions requesting investment for particular projects.

However, he says Ports Australia is the only applicant to propose a cooperative approach, while other submissions merely focus on increasing individual worth rather than focussing on what is in the national interest.

Deegan also says there is no reason to suggest Infrastructure Australia will devote more resources to capital cities at the expense of regional investment.

"I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion it is just about capital cities because we haven’t," he says.

"There have been no conclusions about the decision process because we haven’t received submissions from all the states and territories."

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