National roundtable discusses infrastructure corruption risks in the Indo-Pacific

Chengdu infrastructure
Chengdu infrastructure
ANNA Griffin I 6 October 2023
Transparency International Australia hosts national roundtable in Canberra to discuss infrastructure corruption risks in the Indo-Pacific and the application of TIA’s Infrastructure Corruption Risk Assessment Tool (ICRAT) by Transparency International Solomon Islands.

As part of Transparency International Australia’s work to assess the corruption risks in infrastructure project selection, we held a roundtable with government, industry and civil society stakeholders in Canberra in September. At the meeting colleagues from TI Indonesia shared the results of their research using our Infrastructure Corruption Risk Assessment Tool (ICRAT) to assesses the corruption risks at the early decision making stage of infrastructure projects. A colleague from TI Solomon Islands also shared the progress of their work using the tool in Solomon Islands.

The roundtable was an opportunity for stakeholders from the infrastructure industry and DFAT’s Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) to respond to and verify these findings based on their own experience. We also discussed corruption challenges and new approaches to strengthen integrity frameworks around infrastructure decision making in our region.

Challenges identified:

  • Holding government accountable to their infrastructure planning processes.
  • The cost of quality infrastructure can be up to 30% higher, donors need to convince governments the higher cost is worth the investment.
  • Many construction contractors won’t work in corruption prone contexts as the rewards don’t justify the risks. This can lead to lack of competition in the bidding process and rewards poorer quality contractors who routinely underbid and results in lower quality outcomes.
  • There is a difficult balance in bringing in resources and labour from outside and the need to develop local industry and upskill local workers.

New approaches to strengthen integrity:

  • Participants identified the need for complaints and grievance mechanisms and a potential role for civil society to inform community of their rights.
  • Demonstrate the value in better quality infrastructure by showcasing the sustainability of high quality versus low quality construction.
  • Donors, multilateral banks and development contractors need to do more to ensure that local suppliers and subcontractors have adequate integrity controls and training.

Find out more on our work to eliminate corruption risks in the global infrastructure sector