Infrastructure and Commercial Advisory Office

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Treasury hosts the Infrastructure and Commercial Advisory Office (ICA).

Our vision

To improve Australian Government investment to benefit all Australians.

Our mission

To provide valued commercial and financing advice to our clients, the Treasurer and Cabinet.

What we do

To support Australian Government infrastructure and commercial investments, we provide independent services to all Australian Government agencies:

  • commercial and financial advisory services
  • program management services
  • capability building.

Client services

We work with different Australian Government clients. We are the preferred commercial and financial advisor for ministers, departments and agencies.

Expertise

Our team has significant private and public sector expertise. We provide services which cover economic and social infrastructure, and all lifecycle phases of a project or program.

Collaboration

We foster strong, trusting partnerships through open collaboration with stakeholders, state and territories, and the private sector. This enables better infrastructure outcomes for all Australians.

Core services

Commercial and financial advisory

We provide commercial, financial and risk analysis and advice across the infrastructure project lifecycle. From business case development to procurement and delivery.

We develop commercial, funding and financing structures for infrastructure projects to best allocate risk. This includes establishing:

  • delivery entities
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • joint ventures
  • contractual arrangements.

We review the financial and commercial feasibility of government investment, proposals and transactions.

Capacity and capability building

We help project delivery through leading legal, commercial and financial workstreams. We negotiate commercial, financial and governance arrangements with the states and territories or the private sector.

We support approaches to market, including:

  • undertaking market soundings
  • evaluating the commercial and financial aspects of tender documents and processes.

We build Australian Government and industry skills to commercially partner on infrastructure by hosting knowledge sharing activities and seconding staff into project teams.

Governance and leadership

We represent Australian Government clients on infrastructure governance bodies. We take part in steering committees to ensure effective major project and transaction governance.

We establish governance frameworks for:

  • new infrastructure development
  • new infrastructure ownership entities
  • major project commercial and financial risk management.

We lead engagement on behalf of the Australian Government with states and territories and the private sector on commercial and financial aspects of major infrastructure projects.

Our leadership team

David Webster profile pictureDavid Webster – CEO

David Webster joined ICA in November 2021 with deep experience in both the public and private sectors, and across the all infrastructure aspects.

David spent over 6 years as a Deputy Secretary of the Commercial Division in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. He provided high level and innovative commercial, financial and risk management advice to the Victorian Government, focusing on major infrastructure and the state’s balance sheet.

Prior to this, David had various infrastructure‑related roles in the private sector in both the UK and Australia, including at RBS, ABN AMRO, and Bank of America.

David also served as director of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and the State Electricity Commission of Victoria.

 

Chris Allen profile pictureChris Allen – Managing Director – Projects and Transactions

Chris Allen joined ICA in September 2017 as a Managing Director, leading our transport and industry practice. He has worked across the infrastructure sector for over 25 years, primarily as a sponsor/developer.

Chris was previously a financier, advisor and contractor/builder and held senior positions in Babcock & Brown, Amber Infrastructure, NRG Energy, the Commonwealth Bank and Multiplex Constructions.

This experience provides Chris with a comprehensive understanding of the requirements to successfully develop and finance complex infrastructure projects.

Chris’ experience includes transport, energy, ports and social infrastructure sectors. He successfully managed Public Private Partnership projects. Chris acted as a board member for many projects and has worked in Australia, the US, Asia and New Zealand. As a result, he has strong relationships with the private sector infrastructure development and finance communities.

Chris holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, a science degree from the University of Western Australia and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Between his work developing and financing complex infrastructure projects, Chris enjoys swimming, yacht racing and staying active.

Catherine Black profile pictureCatherine Black – Managing Director – Projects and Transactions

Catherine joined the ICA in August 2018 as a Managing Director, leading the cities and social infrastructure practice.

She has over 25 years’ experience as a financier and advisor in Australia and the UK in both the private and public sectors.

Over 10 years at Queensland Treasury Corporation, Catherine advised government across social infrastructure, energy, transport, and water projects.

Catherine has experience working with varied stakeholders, ranging from large government agencies to local government authorities to private sector project sponsors, and delivered innovative financing outcomes for several public infrastructure transactions.

She has built strong and extensive relationships with the private sector finance and advisory communities. She has also had direct experience in corporate strategy development and planning.

Catherine holds a Master of Business Administration and an Arts (Economics and Government) degree from University of Queensland. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Tim Baird profile pictureTim Baird – Managing Director – Cabinet, Central and Strategy

Tim joined ICA as a Managing Director in August 2021. Tim’s team has responsibility for ICA’s strategy, central agency and Cabinet engagement.

Before transferring to ICA, Tim was an Assistant Secretary in the Foreign Investment Division of Treasury and was responsible for advising the Foreign Investment Review Board and Treasury Ministers on significant and sensitive foreign investment applications.

Prior to joining Treasury, Tim was an investment banker with over a decade of experience at J.P. Morgan and Macquarie in Sydney and London.

Margaret Makeham-Kirchner profile pictureMargaret Makeham‑Kirchner – Managing Director – Policy and Programs

Margaret has over 20 years’ experience in the Australian and state levels of government, including in public financial management, investment decision making, industry regulation and assistance, and infrastructure financing.

At ICA, Margaret has advised on over $16 billion worth of Australian Government energy and water investments. She has also advised on the design of new strategies, funds and programs in housing, disaster resilience, clean energy and waste.

Prior to joining ICA, Margaret worked in central and line agencies at Australian and state levels of government.