Out-Law News 1 min. read

UK-Australia infrastructure collaboration opportunities highlighted by industry event

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Close collaboration between the UK and Australia’s infrastructure sectors will enable professionals to share skills and best practice, particularly around long-term ‘mega projects’, according to industry experts.

Nigel Blundell of Pinsent Masons was speaking after a trade visit to the UK by the Australian British Infrastructure Catalyst (ABIC), a group of 60 Australian infrastructure professionals hosted by the Australian British Chamber of Commerce. The group spent a week in London and Birmingham viewing high-profile infrastructure projects and discussing issues that will impact on future Australian projects such as high speed rail, the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane.

“The visit highlights how the UK has a dynamic infrastructure sector with other countries able to share in the knowledge and know how from banner projects such as HS2, the Olympics and Birmingham Commonwealth Games,” said Blundell, who moderated a discussion on supply chain strategies and regeneration opportunities offered by high speed rail at Pinsent Masons’ Birmingham office. Participants included Andrew Cubitt, supply chain director at HS2, and James Betjemann, Birmingham City Council lead on Curzon Street, the area of the city where an HS2 terminal is being built.

“There are investment opportunities in the UK for Australian contractors with key infrastructure skills to undertake roles on large, long-term projects,” Blundell said. “On the other hand, the knowledge gained from these projects is a key ability to drive exports from the UK in construction services.”

ABIC delegates visited Birmingham on 29 September, where they were taken on a walking tour of recent city centre infrastructure developments by the West Midlands Growth Company. Following the supply chain discussion at Pinsent Masons’ office they heard about the planning, delivery and legacy of the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham from Birmingham City Council and about devolution, local funding and the role of the West Midlands Combined Authority from mayor Andy Street.

Other sessions during the week-long visit focused on the UK and Australia’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic; skills, talent and global mobility; new contracting models and methods; and the future of rail and its role as a driver of regeneration and growth.

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