Worldwide: G20 Announces The Global Infrastructure Hub – Will It Make A Difference?

Last Updated: 2 December 2014
Article by David McElveney

Sydney is to be home for a new G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) as part of a programme "to support public and private investment in quality infrastructure". A massive USD 2 trillion increase in global infrastructure capacity by 2030 could achieved by the GIH's goal of "improving project preparation, structuring and delivery" – so says the B20, a private-sector business group affiliated with the G20. What will the GIH bring to the table and will it deliver on the promises? The challenge for the Sydney GIH will be to adopt a truly global outlook.

Infrastructure has been a priority for the Australian G20 presidency and the choice of Sydney as the home of the GIH has been viewed as a significant achievement for Australia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared that he wants to be known as "an infrastructure Prime Minister". Sydney has been chosen because it is Australia's major financial centre and a base for the world's leading infrastructure related service firms, including contractors, consultants and project managers. The formal announcement of the GIH came via the G20 leaders' communique on 16 November 2014, with eight nations, including the US, Britain and Australia, committed to support financially the USD 15 million initiative.

During the almost year-long consultation process which led to the announcement of the GIH, there were a number of detractors, sceptical of another costly institution far away from Europe and the US with an agenda which arguably other bodies like the World Bank or the OECD could take on. There was also a concern that the GIH would chiefly be a "legacy monument" for the G20 host nation, Australia. With only a four-year mandate, the pressure is now on to make the GIH work – and Australia, which has significant, solid experience in setting up its own similar state-based and national bodies, will give it a good go.

There is, of course, a fundamental question: will the proposed functions of the GIH - more efficient information gathering and sharing, and improvement, standardisation and streamlining of processes, including legal processes - achieve the results?

According to The G20 Note on the Global Infrastructure Initiative, the GIH is to:

  • develop a knowledge-sharing network to aggregate and share information on infrastructure projects and financing between governments, international organisations, development banks, national infrastructure institutions and the private sector;
  • address key data gaps that matter to investors;
  • develop effective approaches to implement the voluntary G20 Leading Practices on Promoting and Prioritising Quality Investment, including the development of model documentation covering project identification, preparation and procurement;
  • build the capacity of officials to improve institutional arrangements for infrastructure by sharing best practice approaches; and
  • enhance investment opportunities by developing a consolidated database of infrastructure projects, connected to national and relevant multilateral development bank databases, to help match potential investors with projects.

From a project and construction lawyer's perspective, it goes without saying that improved knowledge, documentation and processes will deliver increased efficiencies, greater certainty and the benefits that flow from more transparency. That is true on even a reasonably small-scale. On a global scale, the benefits should be magnified – particularly where emerging markets are brought into the mix and can benefit from a global know-how. The appropriate allocation of risk in relation to infrastructure development and the means of minimising and resolving claims and disputes within a predictable framework are key – especially so in emerging markets which are set to see the bulk of infrastructure spending over coming years.

The B20 Infrastructure and Investment Taskforce Co-ordinating Chair, and Telstra CEO, David Thodey, has said, "The private sector seeks opportunities for growth, financial returns, predictable and ethical frameworks, regulatory and political stability and risk management."

The obvious difficulty, recognised by those operating in the global infrastructure market, is that there are in fact a multiplicity of legal, political and regulatory environments to deal with. One size does not fit all. Clyde & Co has published a Projects and construction - Guide to global markets which highlights key issues applying to different markets. While a standardised and streamlined approach must be pursued, it must be pursued cognisant of the challenges.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that when G20 representatives discussed infrastructure challenges in a meeting back in February of this year "there was a sense that every country was reinventing the wheel when it came to infrastructure projects". There are a plethora of bodies, government and otherwise, each gathering their own information, developing their own "best practices" and their own standardised procedures and documentation. The challenge for the Sydney-based GIH will be to embrace a truly global perspective. Australia currently has its own infrastructure bodies operating in various states as well as on a national level. The Australian construction industry is dominated by a couple of construction contractors and there is relatively modest foreign penetration into the Australian market. Australia generally uses its own "Australian Standard" construction contracts, and there is not great familiarity with FIDIC forms of contract and procedures, which are the World Bank preferred standard documents and the documents most commonly used in emerging markets. The issues relevant to the Australian market are not necessarily those relevant to other countries. Risks vary between markets and contractual allocation of risk and legal frameworks need to be understood. Contractual dispute resolution mechanisms need to cater for a sometimes more uncertain international market.

It is obvious, the GIH will need to draw on expertise from around the world, and the G20 has made it clear that the GIH should work collaboratively with G20 and non-G20 governments, the private sector and all stakeholders. All will be free to engage with, and use information disseminated by, the GIH. Although the GIH will be located in Sydney meetings will take place where stakeholders and experts are located, as well as through a virtual network. There will be a seven member Board, chaired by Australia. Steps are already underway for an international search to find a CEO.

Importantly, the GIH will be "open and transparent" in its operations. The GIH should provide the international community with information, hopefully validated, about the pipeline of infrastructure work globally, thereby increasing opportunities and competition. Increased efficiencies and best-practice in procurement should serve in reducing cost and risk and ensuring the flow of infrastructure funding. The opportunities, but also the challenges, are huge. The GIH has four years to prove its worth.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

David McElveney
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.