Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Issue 1 Contents Em
's infrastructure challenges
applied a rigorous
methodology to assess
and prioritise projects.
Prior to this, the
investment was not
approached in a coordinated
and exacting manner,
says Minister Albanese.
Bailout packages adopted during the GFC by major countries
belonging to the G8 thwarted the potential collapse of many
infrastructure projects globally. Mr Albanese says that having the
infrastructure program "topped up" by some of the measures in
the economic stimulus plan added more value.
"Funding for projects such as the black spot program for roads,
the rail level crossing program that installed safety measures such
as boom gates, and the designated program for additional rest stops
for truck drivers were added to the Nation Building Program," says
Minister Albanese concedes that, "There is always more that
you can do but you must consider the impact this government
has had on turning underinvestment in infrastructure around in
a matter of just three years to the point where we are delivering
The $43 billion scheme that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd refers
to as Australia's biggest ever infrastructure venture, will connect
approximately 90 per cent of homes from remote outback
settlements to coastal cities. Cable will be laid across a staggering
7.7 million square kilometres.
If we are to compete in a global market then this project is
arguably a pivotal one in the infrastructure program.
The NBN is close to Minister Albanese's heart and he is keen
for Australia to never again be embarrassed by our lack of speed.
30 OECD countries in terms of average download speed. High-
speed broadband is critical for our future economic growth. Now
more than ever we need to be smarter in the way we deal with
infrastructure and the way we position ourselves so we can take
"Distance is a big challenge. We are a big country with a
and the use of information technology is ease of communication.
It allows us to conduct business across vast territories without
getting on a plane."
The project is still in its early stages. NBN Co has been
established to deliver the broadband initiative, and Mike Quigley,
former president and operations chief of French telecoms
equipment giant Alcatel, has been appointed as CEO.
Test sites are being prepared to gain understanding of the
varying environments that installers will need to operate across.
In February, Mr Quigley told Senate Estimates that the project was
on track and that the national broadband network will be brought
to some homes on the mainland in the second half of this year.
Location testing will determine issues such as cost differences
in varying design alternatives, for example the question of
Mr Albanese emphasises that the pace of change is quicker
than we think, which is why national broadband is so important.
"The program will be critical in terms of the next few years
because it connects with everything the government is doing. It
has the potential to impact throughout the economy and is vital
for education, e-health and transport," says Mr Albanese.
Delivering these large expensive projects has been made
more viable for the Australian Government through Public Private
Partnerships (PPP). A 2007 IPA report, titled Performance of PPPs
and Traditional Procurement in Australia
the best method of delivering large-scale infrastructure projects
traditional procurement methods.
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