A new report says around ten per cent of Australian infrastructure spending is entirely wasted.

US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) has issued a global report saying billions of dollars are being wasted on infrastructure projects because of a failure to retain good staff, bad planning and bureaucracy.

The report found Australia wastes about $108 million for every billion dollars spent on infrastructure, slightly higher than the global average of $97 million.

But we may be getting better, with the report showing more projects are being completed more efficiently, pushing down waste by 20 per cent over five years.

PMI chief Mark Langley says the failure to retain good project staff is a key contributor.

“Champion organisations do this very well. One of the key things that they do, that Australia lags in, is defined career paths for project and program managers,” Mr Langley told reporters.

“They've identified a role in an organisation just like accountancy, law and engineering. In Australia, they do that substantially less than the global average.”

Mr Langley said many firms did not focus on retaining good staff, creating an infrastructure ‘brain drain’.

“There's an opportunity for Australian organisations to start to invest in careers of project managers in both the public and private sector,” he said.

The report says India has the lowest rate of waste at $73 million for every billion dollars, followed by China and the Middle East at $82 million wasted per billion.

Europe has the worst waste management, losing $131 million for every billion dollars invested.

The full report is accessible here.