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Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery

Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Policy and Measurement Guidance

The State Infrastructure Strategy recommended that NSW Government work towards net zero in the infrastructure sector, including through reducing embodied emissions in construction.

In October 2022, Infrastructure NSW (INSW) released a Discussion Paper, held an industry forum and series of roundtables with the construction supply chain and identified the need for a clear policy mandate and consistent measurement approach as the priorities in this space.

INSW has delivered on the commitment to act on that feedback by releasing the Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Policy (Policy) and Technical Guidance: Embodied Carbon Measurement for Infrastructure (Measurement Guidance).

The Policy and Measurement Guidance, co-designed with NSW Government agencies and industry, will ensure upfront carbon emissions generated during the production of materials and the construction of infrastructure is a key consideration across all project stages, and embodied carbon is measured consistently for government projects. 

Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Roadmap

INSW and Transport for NSW (TfNSW) have also prepared the Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Roadmap of their activities and milestones relating to embodied emissions over the next three years, to provide greater policy clarity to industry and communicate the coordinated work of NSW Government.

The Roadmap sets out key initiatives for 2024-2026 towards decarbonising infrastructure delivery and reflects the collaborative relationship between INSW and TfNSW as a NSW Government leader in this space.

View the Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Roadmap.

For any enquiries regarding Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery, please contact


The Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Policy sets expectations for NSW Government infrastructure delivery agencies on managing embodied carbon in public infrastructure projects.  

The Policy will ensure embodied carbon is a key consideration in early project stages and that carbon information is collected consistently across Government projects. The policy is aligned to the NSW Business Case Guidelines (TPP18-06) and the NSW Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis (TPG23-08), and is underpinned by the following principles: 

  • Apply the carbon reduction hierarchy
  • Assess the carbon impacts
  • Engage with the market
  • Develop a carbon management plan.

Key Policy requirements include:

  • Measuring upfront carbon at the following key project stages:
    • Business case (in line with the NSW Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis (TPG23-08)
    • Planning approval, design, and procurement 
    • Construction and practical completion.
  • At business case stage: Challenge the need for new infrastructure/the extent of construction, for example, through technology solutions or repurposing assets, and setting targets where agencies have the capability.
  • At planning approval, design, and procurement stage: Engage with the market early to invite innovation and where agencies have the maturity, setting and inviting bidders to compete on carbon.
  • At construction and practical completion stage: Report carbon management activities and project emissions.

Refer to the Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Policy for the full list of mandatory and optional actions.

All NSW Government infrastructure delivery agencies, excluding public non-financial corporations (including state owned corporations), public financial corporations or local government authorities.

  • >$50 million for building sector projects
  • >$100 million for other infrastructure types.

The Policy will apply to projects that have their strategic business case initiated after April 2025.

That is, it will not apply retrospectively to projects that obtained an investment decision prior to the policies commencement, or to business cases that have already been in development prior to the Policy’s operation.

There is a 12-month transition period, during which INSW will deliver an implementation program focusing on:

  • Capability in government and industry, including providing templates
  • Monitoring and reporting systems and frameworks
  • Continued engagement with industry.

The Measurement Guidance directs NSW Government infrastructure delivery agencies on how to estimate embodied carbon early in the project development stages and how to measure embodied carbon during project delivery. It provides alignment on inputs and outputs to deliver a consistent measurement approach across asset types.

This ensures that all agencies can understand their embodied carbon impact early on in project development, and that all agencies are consistently reporting upfront carbon to support future benchmarking and target setting.

Note the Policy mandates reporting and management of upfront carbon, while the Measurement Guidance provides information to allow consistent measurement of all embodied carbon for agencies who are ready to measure emissions from other lifecycle stages. 

While the Policy focuses on upfront carbon, it encourages agencies to consider whole life carbon where they have the capability to do so and to prioritise whole life carbon where there are trade-offs. To support agencies in this, the Policy and Measurement Guidance also highlight common trade-offs across lifecycle stages that agencies should consider in decision-making to help avoid negative outcomes. 

Decarbonising the infrastructure sector requires understanding and managing emissions right across asset lifecycle stages, from the design decisions made in planning, to emissions embedded during construction, and left behind through waste.  This requires meaningful collaboration between Government and industry to support innovative low carbon design and construction methods on Government projects, as well as to collect accurate data on the carbon impacts of infrastructure projects. 

INSW, supported by the Commonwealth Government and Transport for NSW, is adapting the NSW Measurement Guidance for national adoption.  The National Measurement Guidance is to be considered by the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers meeting in mid-2024.  

To facilitate this, INSW has led a national working group of transport and infrastructure representatives from various Australian jurisdictions to adapt the NSW Guidance.