Choosing the right companies

Investing in Infrastructure is committed to ensuring that any potential project meets both Australian and Cambodian environmental standards. We also require the companies we support to provide safe working conditions and to comply with Cambodian laws and regulations.

Our background checks investigate the company’s reputation. Companies that use child labour, avoid paying taxes or are involved in any criminal or anti-social activities will be excluded from receiving grants.

Minimising risk and ensuring quality

Monitoring obligations are shared with the Cambodian government. Investing in Infrastructure checks workplace safety and environmental compliance during construction. The ministries responsible for clean water and electricity use their own standards and checks to ensure compliance with the Cambodian law and regulations. This includes regular testing of drinking water quality or checking the safety of the electrical grid. The ministries or the provincial authorities will also respond to complaints from local communities.

Environmental Impacts

Investing in Infrastructure has developed a customised Environmental Management System. All sites are assessed before any support is offered. If, for example, water is being drawn from a small river, any impacts downstream must be considered. In some cases we will choose not to proceed if negative impacts cannot be mitigated

Our projects may also have positive environmental effects: for example extending the national electricity grid can help reduce battery and diesel generator use, and extending piped, treated water networks may reduce demand for firewood to boil untreated water.

Working conditions

Investing in Infrastructure requires all companies to apply safe working standards and provide minimum levels of employee training and safety equipment. We make site inspections during construction, and will raise any concerns with the operator in the first instance. If there are serious concerns about occupational health and safety, the program reserves the right to end the contract. We have strict notification processes in place for any serious occupational health and safety incidents.


Investing in Infrastructure shares DFAT’s commitment to considering gender in all aspects of its operations. We started with extensive literature reviews and an external gender assessment. Gender will also be an integrated part of all impact assessments.

When conducting feasibility studies for new water companies, both male and female villagers are consulted in the planning of the new facility.

A significant percentage of the companies supported by Investing in Infrastructure will be owned by women.

Delivering quality services.

Our contracts commit water and electricity companies to meeting strict quality standards.

In recent years, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts have strengthened laws governing private energy and water operators. Both ministries have developed a tariff system that allows operators to make a satisfactory return on investment, while guaranteeing fair pricing and quality.