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AECOM interviews CEO of Infrastructure Australia

AECOM interviews CEO of Infrastructure Australia

 November 20, 2018

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Former Chief Economist at AECOM Australia and current Acting Chief Executive at Infrastructure Australia Anna Chau did an interview with AECOM's Talking Cities podcast. In the podcast, Anna discussed the use of social and place-based analysis to ensure cities get the best return on their infrastructure investment decisions. Anna appreciates that society has unlimited needs but with limited resources they need to evaluate projects effectively, which is why economists have been involved with creating our national infrastructure to do list.

Talking Cities is AECOM's podcast that accesses the leaders creating, shaping and improving the cities we call home and who are tackling the challenges facing our growing cities and their citizens. AECOM's Talking Cities also find out what drives them personally and what type of legacy they hope to leave on the cities they call home through improving our economic, cultural and social epicentres.

An exciting career in infrastructure

Anna is a leading applied economist in infrastructure specialising in transport economics with many years worth of experience. As AECOM's Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand, Anna led client engagements across several infrastructure sectors. Anna was formerly a Principal at Booz & Company in Sydney and an Executive Director at Ernst & Young in Sydney. At Infrastructure Australia,  Anna leads the ongoing development of the national infrastructure priority list and tries to take the politics out of infrastructure decisions, bringing independent and rigorous assessment of projects to ensure transparency and accountability to investment decisions.

Transport is key

Anna has lived and worked in many cities around the world - for her, transport is one aspect that makes a great city. "I was born in Hong Kong. It is a vibrant city with a multi-modal focus in terms of transport so even as a young girl I was very interested in buses, mini-buses, the ferries across the Hong Kong harbour." This meant that, from a very young age, Anna came to appreciate how systems worked.

Anna migrated to Sydney where she has lived and worked for some time. In AECOM's podcast, Anna discusses how Sydney's transport system is less efficient than that of Hong Kong. "We have a beautiful harbour but the harbour itself presents serious transport challenges. Over the years we've watched the city grow and how to meet those challenges to provide access to all services and all jobs and that the transport is as efficient as possible to bring people to their homes, work places and education locations." However, Anna adds that despite these transport issues, the positive part of Sydney's infrastructure is the beautiful green spaces that surround the city.

Anna discusses the environmental benefits of well developed and well thought out transport in cities. "For all Australian cities, we could benefit from having more integrated transport systems," says Anna. "So that in my case I could catch a bus straight to the ferry and then jump on another bus and connect straight to work without hanging around waiting for a bus for twenty minutes. Having those seamless interchanges so that public transport is a genuine alternative to the car is really important. Having integrated transport is the best way to provide a genuine alternative to the car."

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