The Productivity Commission will cast a spotlight on the finances behind Australia’s major infrastructure projects in the hope of easing pressure on future developments.
Government and privately-funded initiatives - such as motorways - will be analysed for cost and financing with a draft report expected in six months, said a statement issued by Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office.
"This inquiry will be crucial in identifying how we can lower construction costs and develop a partnership with the private sector to build the infrastructure of the 21st century that Australia needs," the statement said.
Under the terms of reference, the inquiry will look at what Australia can do differently to attract private sector investment, along with comparing current systems to those in place in other countries.
The appeal of user charging, such as on toll roads, will also be scrutinised by the inquiry.
The government named engagement with the private sector on infrastructure financing as a "key economic challenge" faced by Australia and neighbouring countries.
"Australia must ensure that private investment is as attractive as possible by reducing the cost of building infrastructure by driving efficiency and removing red tape," the statement said.