Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents Introduction
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to address the National
Press Club on behalf of Australia's infrastructure sector.
In recent years, the capacity, adequacy and function of Australia's
infrastructure assets have enjoyed an increasing focus from
policymakers, the media and the general public.
And yet, in spite of this focus, Australia continues to grapple with
the symptoms of infrastructure networks that are not ft for purpose –
that are not yet up to the job.
My key message today is that it is now time for Australia to take
the next steps.
It is time for Australia to transform the thinking about how
infrastructure is conceived, funded, maintained and regulated.
In this address I will argue that in this term of government,
Australia's policymakers must:
• frstly, begin a reasoned debate about the solutions to urban
congestion and the funding of transport projects, and the role of
• increase opportunities for the private sector to fund the
backlog projects by fnally creating a sustainable link between
superannuation and infrastructure projects;
• entrench the role and independence of Infrastructure Australia;
• provide a permanent funding framework to allow Canberra to
bring forward the nation’s most signifcant infrastructure
The case for change
There has been real progress on infrastructure in recent years.
Between 2005 and today, Australia's states have doubled their annual
capital investment, peaking at around $50 billion per annum.
We have seen an important renewal of Canberra's engagement
with infrastructure, through:
• the appointment of a responsible minister for infrastructure;
• the creation of Infrastructure Australia; and
• a limited initial investment in a number of nationally signifcant
We have seen a growing focus on the rigour used to select
infrastructure projects, and the value for money achieved in their
The public understanding of the infrastructure debate is
mature to the point that governments are increasingly being held
accountable for selecting the right projects for the right reasons,
and they are expected to be able to deliver them at best value to
But in spite of the focus of policymakers, the maturing of public
debate, and the increase in infrastructure investment, Australia is still
failing to keep pace with demand for infrastructure -- or to deal with
the existing backlog.
On 13 October, IPA's Chief
addressed the National Press
Club in Canberra.
An edited transcript of his
to the National
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