An interview with Andrew Curthoys

In a capital constrained world, we cannot continue as we have in the past. We need to explore new ways of working, and I believe digitisation is the key to the future of infrastructure, design, delivery and operation.

Digitisation must be embraced to make our infrastructure more resilient, more efficient, more affordable, and of course, more sustainable.

This is where the construction and infrastructure sectors can lead the charge in developing a sustainable future.


How can these industries lead the way? 

At a top line level, we need to start encouraging industry bodies and governments to start participating in think tanks and start-ups that are driving action forward.

We need to start changing our perception on sustainability and realise the benefits that will flow into our own organisations once we start collaborating and developing innovative ideas to create a more sustainable future in infrastructure.

Whether it’s through investing funds, time or resources into new ventures like Infrastructure CoLab that provide a platform for discussion between Australia’s experienced and emerging industry leaders – we need to start understanding the value of investing in sustainable opportunities, and the value of testing sustainable outcomes to better our environmental footprint for generations to come.


Why do these sectors need to invest in sustainability?

Brisbane has the unique opportunity to demonstrate what a carbon positive Olympic and Paralympic Games will look like in 2032. This global opportunity will become a benchmark for real progress on sustainability and provide enormous opportunities for circular economy principles and outcomes.

However, our biggest challenge is whether we can meet the International Olympic Committee requirements. This means we need to create a carbon positive Games. We won’t be able to propose a 2032 carbon neutral Games as Paris is expected to achieve carbon neutrality in 2024.


Our current state of play

Australia’s construction and infrastructure sectors are currently one of the least performing sectors in the economy in terms of productivity growth, and this ties in with a lack of comprehension around the benefits associated with sustainable materials use and moving towards circular supply chains.

In terms of growth, the sectors haven’t embraced the digital opportunities or mechanisms that other industries have, and they haven’t really embraced the changes afoot across the broader economy.

From my 30+ years of experience in digital transformation, urban planning, public policy and infrastructure, I’ve seen firsthand that digitisation is key to improving supply chain outcomes, and the delivery and construction of infrastructure.

There is still a lot of room for improvement, but there are equally a lot of opportunities for the Australian construction and infrastructure sectors to take this forward to embrace change and to become a leader in the world of sustainability through digital transformation.


How can you be part of this movement?

Infrastructure CoLab has set an ambitious agenda to explore these most pressing issues around sustainability for infrastructure delivery.

On Wednesday 12 May, Infrastructure CoLab will be kicking off its launch event with an immersive workshop, drawing from the learnings and successes of industry-led co-innovation programs. Following the launch event, participants will take part in immersive sessions over 3 to 5 months, developing solutions to the identified problems.

We will be looking at sustainable infrastructure that not only meets our needs today but also for tomorrow and the future, considering all the elements of climate change, carbon budgeting, resilience and improved outcomes.

If this sounds like a movement you want to be part of, help lead the conversations by registering for the workshop today. Find out more:

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