Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Issue 1 Contents "And also, the third and fourth biggest
contributors to the economy in Australia
today are education and tourism, both of
which depend on our airports."
He says the workability of our cities is an
important part of the infrastructure jigsaw.
"I think one of the things we are
beginning to see now is this whole question
of the role of cities and what they mean
for the economy and what they mean for
liveability and the environment," he says.
community and sustainability. In Australia,
of the economy, we need to look hard at
those issues as well."
The other key part of the equation is
projecting into the future, complete with
its unknowns and uncertainties. What will
tomorrow's economy look like? What will
be its key drivers?
"One of the ways you can look at it is to
say, what is the economy going to look like
in 20-30 years time? And importantly, what
is the role of our of cities, the international
gateways? We also see regional and rural
Australia in that context and ask what their
infrastructure needs are.
"You come back to the connectivity and
viability of our international gateways for
"So you try and get a vision of where the
economy is headed, where the community
is going and what the sustainability agenda
The world today faces challenges that
were inconceivable just 10 years ago.
These include convergence of industries
and products, the rising cost of capital, the
of trade, water, terrorism versus the nation
state, derivatives and the shadow banking
system, the rise of China and India, over-
capacity, ageing, climate, networks,
intangibles and volatility of markets.
Our supply chains were built to get coal
to the loaders, and wheat, sugar and barley
to the silos at port. Will that still be required
40 years from now? What is the future of
coal in a low carbon economy? Will we still
government continue to subsidise a timber
industry and create infrastructure around it
when it takes water and land away from food
production? How many people will be living
in the eastern cities in 2050? Will new cities
emerge in the population boom? Will, for
example, a place like Broome become the
next Gold Coast? Will the Murray-Darling
have a future as an agriculture producing
area as global warming takes hold?
Sir Rod says this is the major challenge
for all infrastructure planning.
"We don't know the answer to those
questions, in part because they beg other
questions. Like, for example, what about
carbon capture and storage? Will that be
available at an industrial level? That's going
to have a real impact on the future of coal's
role in the future economy.
"We need to think about what the
economy looks like tomorrow and what's
"The electricity grid, for example, needs
to accommodate renewable energy supplies
including wind and solar which will come
"It's about the need to look forward to
the economy of the future."
Sir Rod says Infrastructure Australia's
review of freight and electricity are an
important part of this future planning.
"We are looking hard at a national ports
policy. The resources sector, for example,
relies on our international gateways and
our ports, and we have seen some real
constraints around our country.
I think one of
the things we
to see now
is this whole
question of the
role of cities
and what they
mean for the
what they mean
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