Infrastructure Australia may become less transparent

CHANGES to the Federal Government's key national infrastructure project adviser could see it become more independent, but less transparent.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss on Wednesday introduced new changes to Infrastructure Australia's legislation in parliament.

The changes include removing three clauses, to ensure Defence projects over $100 million are properly analysed and to return the level of ministerial control to what it was last year.

Mr Truss, who moved to reform the key advisory body early in the Abbott government's tenure, will amend key parts of the laws to ensure he can only give "general directions' to IA.

The move follows sharp criticism of the original government changes from Labor's infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese, and will help ensure it remains at arms length.

However, a third change proposed will allow IA to "determine what it will and will not publish", a move that will reduce transparency around the decisions it makes on major projects.

It will ensure the key body complies with commercial in confidence matters and general law principles, but may further cloud some decisions from the public.

"Importantly, the changes we propose do not affect our commitment to give Infrastructure Australia a broader range of responsibilities and charge it with developing a rolling 15-year infrastructure plan for Australia," Mr Truss said.


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