Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Issue 1 Contents The Great Australian
Fragmentation is the nation's
first biggest infrastructure
problem. The second is who
is going to pay for it. Leon
Gettler discusses these
issues with the captain
steering Australia's historic
Sir Rod Eddington.
Each of Australia's three tiers of government are responsible
for building and maintaining the nation's infrastructure from local
roads, hospitals, schools, public transport, aviation, ports and
This has created a range of federal, state and local bodies in
charge of different elements of infrastructure, from freight to roads.
There is little coordination; the system is fragmented.
For Australia, the challenge is not just about building new rail
broadband network, but about ending the fragmentation and
creating some policy coordination.
Sir Rod Eddington agrees that fragmentation is one of the biggest
hurdles. It's there, he says, not just in infrastructure but in a range
national constitution framed 110 years ago.
"The challenge of the national agenda is not just a frustration
in infrastructure," Sir Rod says. "You hear echoes of it in education
and in health. It is not something that is limited to infrastructure.
"Infrastructure is one of those topics where naturally parts of
it fall to federal government, parts of it fall to the states and parts
of it fall to local governments. It's about the way in which our
constitution is constructed.
"Education and health, for instance, are currently matters for
state governments, and on the transport side, rail infrastructure is a
matter for state entities. Shipping and aviation are federal matters.
Telecommunications is a federal matter.
"The reality is that parts of the infrastructure jigsaw that were put
in place before Federation were and are still organised along state
lines. The things that came to pass since Federation -- aviation and
telecommunications for example -- are all organised nationally.
"In a sense, that is one of the things Australia is trying to do, get
a national perspective on these sorts of things.
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