Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 1 Contents 6 futurebuilding Volume 3 Number 1
Abbott presents his infrastructure vision
'This matters because inadequate infrastructure
and the convoluted regulatory systems that make
new infrastructure more expensive lead to higher
costs, longer travel times and millions of working
hours lost in frustrating traf c jams or waiting for
trains that never arrive,' he said.
Should the Coalition be successful at the next
federal election, Abbott said the focus would be
on ensuring infrastructure spending has a strong
economic outcome, and isn't just 'building for
Expanded ports, better railways, more roads and
larger air terminals were the 'visible signs of a stronger
economy and greater prosperity,' Abbott said.
Within 12 months of taking of ce, Abbott said a
Coalition government would declare its infrastructure
priorities and, in consultation with the states,
announce construction timetables.
Infrastructure Australia would also be tasked with
preparing a rolling 15-year national infrastructure
plan with designated priorities based on published
cost-bene t analyses. These analyses would extend
to any infrastructure project to which a Coalition
government commits $100 million or more.
Infrastructure Australia would then recommend an
order of priority for Commonwealth funding.
'If the government varied Infrastructure Australia's
priorities, it would need to argue a national interest
case for doing so against the yardstick of what makes
the most economic sense,' Abbott said.
Provided that it's responsibly funded and done with
the best available cost-bene t analyses, infrastructure
spending remains one of the strongest contributors to
productivity growth, Abbott explained.
With governments facing their own budgetary
pressures, they simply do not have the capacity to
fund Australia's infrastructure de cit on their own.
Abbott said broader consideration has to be given
to encouraging more private sector investment in
Under a Coalition government, the Productivity
Commission would be tasked with examining
ways to leverage further private funding for priority
infrastructure projects, stating that the Commission
remains the 'best source of policy advice' in this
Abbott reaf rmed the Coalition's commitment
from the last federal election to have the Of ce of
Financial Management consider the provision of
infrastructure bonds to unlock up to $20 billion for
private infrastructure investment with wider public
These tax concessions have been used in the
past to fund privately owned infrastructure, such as
Sydney's Eastern Distributor.
'Especially in the wake of commercially
unsuccessful projects, such as the Cross City Tunnel,
what's needed is the best contemporary way to renew
private sector investment in vital projects at the
lowest cost to taxpayers,' he explained.
Building for the future
Australia is facing a signi cant infrastructure
backlog, with scores of critical transport, utilities and
social infrastructure projects needed if Australia is to
see real improvements in the nation's productivity.
Abbott said all of the major capital cities need
sustained investment, particularly in transport.
'There's no doubt that Sydney, Melbourne,
Brisbane and Perth each need an integrated
motorway network and improved urban rail systems
under comprehensive metropolitan transport plans,'
Other priorities include the continued upgrade
of the Bruce Highway; the highway linking Perth
to the Pilbara; the highway between Hobart and
Launceston; and an inland railway from Melbourne
to Brisbane within a decade.
'I want to see cranes in the sky and bulldozers on
the ground because that means economic growth,'
He's backed the talk up with real plans.
At the Liberal Party's Federal Council in Melbourne
in late June, Abbott announced that the Coalition
would commit $4 billion towards three major road
projects in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane should
it win the next election.
The commitments include $1.5 billion for
the East West Link road tunnel in Melbourne -- a
recommendation of Sir Rod Eddington's East West
Environmental standards should
be clear, assessment processes
should be swift, and decisions
should be unambiguous
continued on page 8
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