Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Issue 1 Contents "While we have state bodies there, we also have federal
entities that have responsibility for water, that have responsibility
for energy and we have federal bodies that have oversight of
"There really has to be more coordination, and one of the
frustrations that the infrastructure challenge has faced over the
last few decades has been to try and get the key players thinking
about it nationally rather than on a state by state basis."
Then there is the question of cost.
With Australia's population tipped to hit at least 35 million by
2050, the next 40 years will make or break Australia in terms of
its infrastructure. Unless the funding is right, and models that have
the private sector investing in infrastructure are encouraged, then
Australia risks becoming a backwater.
intergenerational report which warns: "A growing population
will help manage pressures of the ageing population but will put
pressure on our infrastructure, services and environment. This will
require continued planning and investment ahead of time."
ageing population means fewer will be entering the workforce.
As a result, the tax base will shrink and tax revenues will not keep
pace with rising costs, which means the private sector will have to
help fund infrastructure.
And it will be costly. In freight and transport alone, the
amounts required are staggering. IPA has called for a complete
overhaul of the system. As Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in
January, the needs are "truly staggering". According to IBISWorld
triple by 2050, an inevitable development from the projected
population growth in that period. According to the report, transport
infrastructure would need to nearly quadruple to an eye-popping
$62.5 billion a year to meet the demand.
An interim report prepared by Infrastructure Australia says
priority should be placed on 40 road projects worth $69 billion
and six port and airport projects worth $6 billion.
The infrastructure challenge cannot be underestimated. Over
the long term, infrastructure investment in Australia has been
slipping. According to a 2009 OECD report, Australia's investment
in transport, storage and communications infrastructure as a
percentage of GDP fell between the 1980s and 1990s. Worse still,
In contrast, infrastructure investment for these sectors has
been rising across the OECD. That means one thing -- if the trend
continues, Australia will slip behind the rest of the world, affecting
national productivity, growth and living standards.
There is a massive chasm between the infrastructure now in
place and what this country needs.
workable country, it lifts productivity. International Monetary
Fund research shows that in developed countries such as Australia,
increasing public infrastructure stock by just one per cent results in
an increase in output by 0.2 per cent. According to the Productivity
transport infrastructure could increase GDP by two per cent.
Sir Rod is also chairman of Infrastructure Australia, the body
2007 to provide advice on the long-term planning of Australia's
infrastructure needs. Infrastructure Australia is now working on a
National Ports Strategy and a Freight Network Plan. Infrastructure
Australia works closely with COAG, which seeks to develop a
national approach to infrastructure issues. It also reports to the
infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese.
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