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National Guidelines for Infrastructure Project Delivery


Australian governments have developed national guidelines for the delivery of infrastructure projects to promote cross-government consistency and the use of best practice approaches. These guidelines cover the main approaches to project delivery and include:

These guidelines should not be seen as exhaustive but are intended to inform the development of policy by individual jurisdictions and support agencies that deliver infrastructure projects. The policies, guidelines and requirements of individual jurisdictions are precedent to the practices covered in these documents.

Projects should be evaluated and selected before determining the most appropriate approach to project delivery. The process of evaluating and selecting infrastructure projects is outside the scope of the guidelines for project delivery.

The Australian Transport Assessment Planning Guidelines (the ATAP Guidelines) provides a comprehensive framework for planning, assessing and developing transport systems and related initiatives. The ATAP Guidelines support decisions making for transport infrastructure, and serves as a national standard for the planning, development, and appraisal of transport infrastructure initiatives and systems.

Appropriate project delivery approaches

In determining the appropriate project delivery approach, it is important to consider which method will best balance the control of project cost and risk against achieving project objectives and outcomes.

Following the decision to invest in an infrastructure project on the basis of its business case, project agencies should consider different methods to deliver the project. For major projects, this should take the form of robust, careful procurement options analysis.

Limited guidance on Procurement Options Analysis is provided in Volume 1: Procurement Options Analysis of the National PPP Guidelines.

Project agencies should follow policies set down by their individual jurisdictions in all cases.

Approaches to infrastructure project delivery

Traditional Contracting

Traditional contracting in infrastructure project delivery refers to contracts that, to varying degrees, allocate construction and design risk to the suppliers, but are not Alliances or Public-Private Partnerships. They have historically been the most prevalent type of contract used by both government and private sector entities in the delivery of infrastructure projects.

National Framework for Traditional Contracting

The National Framework for Traditional Contracting has been developed to document best practice in traditional contracting for infrastructure projects to promote productivity improvements in the planning and contracting phase.

This is a best practices framework, providing a resource that individual jurisdictions can use to inform their own policy and guideline development for traditional contracting of infrastructure.

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Alliance Contracting

Alliance contracting is an integrated procurement method for infrastructure projects. Under an alliance contract, a government client contractually works collaboratively with private suppliers to deliver the project.

Alliance contracting is characterised by a number of key features, which generally require the parties to work together in good faith, act with integrity and make best-for-project decisions. The alliance participants work as an integrated, collaborative team to deal with key project delivery matters.

Under alliance contracts, risks of project delivery are often jointly managed by the parties, although financial exposure lies mostly with the State.

National Alliance Contracting Policy and Guidelines

The National Alliance Contracting Policy and Guidelines have been developed to promote knowledge, best practice, and give rise to cost savings by creating a consistent national alliance contracting standard, whilst ensuring the existing benefits of alliancing around the nation are maintained.

These documents outline best practice and provide a resource that individual jurisdictions can use to inform their own policy and guideline development for alliance contracting of infrastructure.

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Public-Private Partnerships

A public-private partnership (PPP) is a service contract between the public and private sectors where the Australian Government pays the private sector (typically a consortium) to deliver infrastructure and related services over the long term.  The private provider will build the facility and operate or maintain it to specified standards over a long period.  The private provider usually finances the project.

The government client is typically seeking the whole-of-life innovation and efficiencies that the private sector can deliver in the design, construction and operating phases of the project.

National PPP Policy and Guidelines

The National PPP Policy and Guidelines have been developed to provide a consistent framework that enables public and private sectors to work together to improve service delivery through private sector provision of public infrastructure and related services.

These documents have been prepared and endorsed by Infrastructure Australia and the State, Territory and Commonwealth governments as an agreed framework for the delivery of PPP projects. All Australian, State and Territory Government agencies now apply the National PPP Policy and Guidelines to all public private partnership projects released to the market.

National Digital Engineering Policy Principles

The National Digital Engineering Policy Principles have been developed by governments in Australia in recognition of the potential benefits that Digital Engineering and Building Information Modelling can bring to the design, delivery, operation and management of land transport infrastructure assets.

The Principles are an important step towards achieving greater harmonisation and consistency in data requirements across governments, when planning and procuring major land transport infrastructure projects.

In November 2016, the Transport and Infrastructure Council formally endorsed the Principles in its communiqué.

  • National Digital Engineering Policy Principles: PDF: 78 KB 
  • Transport and Infrastructure Council Communiqué PDF: 113 KB 

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Other useful documents

The department has produced two volumes of Best Practice Case Studies for Infrastructure Planning and Delivery, which include Alliance and ECI procurement case studies:

Contact Us

We welcome feedback and comments on the national guidelines for traditional contracting and alliance contracting from industry participants and practitioners. Please contact us at:

Infrastructure Strategy and Policy Section, Infrastructure Policy and Program Branch
Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601 Australia