Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents futurebuilding 75
In summary, his opinion was that the private sector 'is up to
it', and that a huge public demand for infrastructure assets will
continue. He warned that it is important to avoid 'failed processes'
in order to maintain the interest of private capital markets.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese took time
out from the election campaign to make a range of infrastructure-
related project announcements, and to outline the government's
achievements since being elected in 2007.
He emphasised the establishment of Infrastructure Australia, a
doubling of investment in roads, tenfold investment in rail, major
investment in ports and passenger rail and the commitment to the
National Broadband Network (NBN).
Albanese committed a re-elected Gillard government to
continued investment in urban rail projects, including $20 million
for a feasibility study for a VFT service between Melbourne,
Sydney and Brisbane, with the frst part of the study to focus on
the Newcastle--Sydney corridor. He also revealed that the inland
rail alignment study had been completed, that it was a nation-
building project with long-term merit, and that the line would be
commercially viable from 2030. He announced at the conference
that funding would be made available from the next Nation Building
Program for planning, corridor preservation and land acquisition
necessary for the construction of the Inland Rail Link.
Albanese endorsed the benefts of the utilisation of smart
infrastructure in transport systems as a way of getting more out
of infrastructure investment, including productivity, safety and
environmental outcomes. Minister Albanese committed a re-
elected Gillard Government to linking infrastructure funding for
major roads to the implementation of intelligent transport systems
(ITS) by state and territory governments.
In concluding, Minister Albanese presented the inaugural Smart
Infrastructure Awards, which recognise projects and research that
contribute to improving the effciency of existing infrastructure.
The project award went to VicRoads and Transurban for the
$1.39 billion upgrade of the M1 motorway. Professor Peter Eklund,
the head of the Centre for Digital Ecosystems, University of
Wollongong, was awarded the Smart Infrastructure research prize
to complete a research program examining technology and privacy
issues that surround journey capture systems required for passenger
transport and road pricing.
The luncheon address for 2010 was delivered by the Hon Bill
English, the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand -- who also has
responsibility for the Treasury and infrastructure in that country.
Mr English outlined why New Zealand is an attractive market for
the Australian infrastructure sector. While the economy had fared
relatively well during the global fnancial crisis, the last fve years
had seen an 'export recession', while New Zealand's indebtedness
to the rest of the world had grown signifcantly. To address these
challenges, the government had embarked upon a 'tax switch',
whereby they made the diffcult political decision to tax over-
consumption by raising the GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent,
and increase property tax, while cutting personal taxes.
The Deputy Prime Minister listed the six main policy drivers
at the heart of the government’s reforms: a growth-enhancing tax
system; better public services; support for science, innovation and
trade; better regulation; investment in productive infrastructure; and
improved education and skills. Greater investment in infrastructure,
started by the previous government, is underway, with increased
investment in roads, electricity and broadband, as well as an
increase in the general annual capital spend.
English has since confrmed further measures to encourage
private investment in major infrastructure projects, including the
requirement that government agencies proposing projects with a
whole-of-life cost of more than NZ$25 million consider ‘alternative
procurement options', including PPPs.
English added, 'PPPs will be appropriate only for some
projects, but we believe that putting it to the test will increase price
competition and ensure that taxpayers get the best possible value
He also listed three key features making New Zealand an
attractive market for investors: a predictable regulatory framework
under a single government jurisdiction; a strong commitment to
transparency and accessibility with a continuous, interactive
engagement with the market; and a willingness to consider any
kind of risk sharing arrangement.
Continued on page 78
the establishment of
Infrastructure Australia, a
doubling of investment in
roads, tenfold investment
in rail, major investment
in ports and passenger rail
and the commitment to
the National Broadband
Above left to right:
Adrian Kloeden, Serco Asia Pacifc
The Hon Bruce Billson MP, Shadow Minister for Sustainable
Development and Cities and Gary White, Growth Management Queensland
Pru Sanderson, VicUrban
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