In the past decade, countries in Asia Pacific have constructed more infrastructure than any other developing region, helping to reduce poverty and improve lives. Despite these rapid developments, the Asia Development Bank estimates that over USD 30 billion needs to be invested by 2030 for the region’s infrastructure to meet global standards.
In a strategic partnership announced this week, Palladium and Beca have come together to address the diverse needs of infrastructure projects in the region, including through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), a new and ambitious lender in the region.
Together, the two organisations have been selected for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s new Capital Infrastructure Service Panel. The panel will service the AIFFP, other areas of DFAT, the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as sovereign recipients of Commonwealth funding and other Commonwealth agencies.
“Beca is one of the Pacific’s leading engineering and design firms,” says Brad Richardson, Head of Palladium Infrastructure. “Their focus on optimising infrastructure to improve daily life complements Palladium’s international development experience, which means our clients can deliver transformative change.”
Beca Business Director Jason Greenaway agrees. “Through our combined strengths, Palladium and Beca can address the full scope of management and engineering services required across all five industry sectors of transport, telecommunications, water, energy, and buildings, in the Pacific region and elsewhere in the world,” he says.
Infrastructure and Development Go Hand-in-Hand
The Pacific presents unique challenges for the development of sustainable infrastructure, including small and dispersed populations, geographic isolation, and limited capacity to develop, operate and maintain infrastructure assets. Many regional countries are constrained by economies of scale, high construction costs, and limited local skills and capability.
Traditional land ownership systems also add significant complexity to the region’s infrastructure. Climate change will continue to alter long-term global temperature averages, resulting in more frequent extreme weather events. These all play into the many factors involved in the planning, design, operations, maintenance, and management of infrastructure globally.
According to Palladium Managing Partner Ron Erasmus, these trends and challenges are why Palladium is keen to apply its infrastructure capabilities to the Pacific.
“Investment in infrastructure is linked directly to a country’s development and economic growth, all while improving quality of life,” he explains. “With over 55 years of experience in Australia and the Pacific, the positive impact we can create here is immense.”
The AIFFP agrees that infrastructure is critical to the Pacific’s sustainable economic growth, enabling the movement of people and goods, and providing access to local and global markets. Developing infrastructure enhances a country’s productivity and provides economic incentives for both public and private sector participants and investors.
The unprecedented disruptions from COVID-19 have stalled economic growth across the Pacific, making further investments in infrastructure a crucial aspect of building back better in a post-pandemic world. The partnership between Palladium and Beca is a step forward in developing the region and supporting the Australian government’s mission to ‘step up’, building a stronger, more stable and prosperous Pacific.
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Beca is one of Asia Pacific’s largest independent advisory, design and engineering consultancies. After a century of operation, Beca has more than 3,300 employees in 20 offices around the world, has delivered projects in more than 70 countries, and has an extensive portfolio of social and physical infrastructure projects which range from national-level master planning and strategic investment studies to site-specific infrastructure solutions.