Key Points:

Building Queensland now has its board and its statutory backing.

The Act establishing a new independent statutory body which is intended to drive Queensland’s infrastructure pipeline and to boost investment in infrastructure projects has now been passed and assented to, and is awaiting proclamation. [1]

The Building Queensland Bill 2015 was introduced into Parliament in May in response to election promises to provide well-directed investment in infrastructure to create significant economic benefit for Queensland. Between then and its passage on 27 October, there have been a number of amendments to the Bill that was put out for industry consultation and comment.

So what's different in the Building Queensland Act?

Earlier involvement: The Act makes it clear that Building Queensland can assist a government agency in the preliminary preparation of an infrastructure proposal, through the consideration or development of the proposal prior to the preparation of a business case if:

  • it is likely to be an infrastructure proposal that meets the criteria for Building Queensland's development of the business case (ie. if the capital cost or the net present value of financial commitments of the State is estimated to be greater than $50 million); or
  • it is directed to do so by the Minister.

Greater transparency: Building Queensland is now obliged to publish:

  • summaries of the infrastructure projects it has assisted with as soon as practicable after giving the summary to the Minister;
  • the infrastructure pipeline document and each update to it within 28 days of giving the document to the Minister; and
  • directions given by the Minister within 28 days after receiving the direction.

Building Queensland must also omit any confidential information from the published material. It will be interesting to see how broadly that obligation is applied.

Additionally, the Act now provides for some sensible obligations on, and for scrutiny of, board members with respect to any indictable offences and criminal history.

The Board

Shortly after passing the Act, the Government named the eight members that would form the board of management and join Mr. David Quinn (as Chief Executive Officer) to administer the functions and powers of Building Queensland.

The chairperson is Mr Alan Millhouse. The four part-time members are Mr James McKenzie, Mr Graham Hooper, Professor Catherin Bull and Ms Jacqui Walters. The Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning will be represented on the board by each of their respective chief executives: Mr David Stewart, Mr Jim Murphy and Mr Frankie Carroll.

The board members will have a key role in guiding the development of infrastructure throughout Queensland and ensuring that Building Queensland will operate apolitically and independently in evaluating proposals and developing rigorous business cases through transparent and disciplined frameworks.

Where to now for Building Queensland?

Building Queensland was established within the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and has already commenced its role in leading the development of business cases for a number of key projects, including the Train Control System upgradeand the assessment of options for public safety regional radio communications in regional Queensland.

Now that it has been formally established as an independent statutory body and its first board has been appointed, it will be up to Building Queensland to deliver on its mandate of providing objective and transparent advice to the Queensland Government to enable better infrastructure decisions and to identify a pipeline of priority projects.