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Chief Executive Officer Review

I am pleased to present the 2019-20 Annual Report for the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency (IPFA). This report covers the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Government investment and infrastructure development are important contributors to jobs and economic growth and are significant cornerstones for Australia’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IPFA works as the Commonwealth’s in-house adviser providing independent, commercial and financial advisory services. Our role is to support the Australian Government in making commercially astute decisions on nationally significant commercial investments, infrastructure projects and economic programs and to support our client agencies to implement them.

IPFA’s transition to the Treasury Portfolio in August 2019 consolidated our whole of Government role of supporting central and line agencies to deliver.

Throughout the reporting period, IPFA remained focused on delivering outcomes aligned to our vision and purpose. Our clients benefit from our unique value proposition:

  • single client, no conflicts
  • speed to engage and deliver as a result of being in house
  • independent with an understanding of government
  • Australian Public Service standards of security, confidentiality and integrity
  • significant advisory cost advantage
  • knowledge retention enabling cross government knowledge and lessons learnt
  • reduced dependency on external advisers

In 2019-20 we worked with 13 different departments and agencies on a number of projects and transactions, with a significant number of our work created either through cross departmental referrals or unsolicited requests (an 18% increase from 2018-19). The policies, programs and projects on which we provided advice represented at least $66.8 billion of investment, bringing the total value of initiatives which IPFA has advised on to $125.5 billion.

Our work continued to be very active in our core sectors of Transport & Industry (for example Inland Rail), Critical & Utilities (initiatives like the Underwriting New Generation Investments Program) and Cities and Social (City Deals for metro and regional regions). We also extended the provision of our services to Commonwealth agencies responsible for initiatives in other sectors, including health and sport.

We saw a growth in demand from our clients to assist them in the areas of managing government programs and assets. This was particularly the case when we delivered rapid and agile responses to our clients as they designed and implemented initiatives supporting industry sectors in managing the transition to a COVID safe economy.

Through our flagship PrActice knowledge sharing initiative, we continued to find avenues to support the APS to develop the commercial capability to bring a commercially astute approach to the use of taxpayer dollars. During the year we delivered 17 knowledge sharing events, which received 100% positive feedback in terms of quality and value of activities, and embedded a number of secondees into specific departmental project teams.

IPFA is focused on being a great place for our team members to work and develop. We have always prioritised the provision of flexible and safe working arrangements. Our strong commitment to flexible work allowed us to switch to work from home at the beginning of COVID-19 swiftly. This allowed our team to respond quickly to the needs of our clients during the lockdown period. We were also able to support the Commonwealth call for front line resources by offering resources and deploying a team member to assist in the delivery of COVID 19 response initiatives.

I thank all members of the IPFA team for their ongoing professional, high quality contributions, commitment to innovation and dedication to our vision, purpose and values, particularly over the last few months of working in our COVID-19 environment. I also thank all of IPFA’s clients, Government stakeholders and industry partners for their ongoing collaboration and positive engagement.

I am confident that IPFA is well positioned to continue to deliver quality and valued services
across the infrastructure and investment lifecycle in response to Government priorities. Together the IPFA team remains committed to enabling commercial excellence in Australian Government infrastructure investment for the benefit of all Australians.

IPFA CEO signature

Ms Leilani Frew
Chief Executive Officer