Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 2 Contents futurebuilding 5
Volume 3 Number 2
The Hon Ted Baillieu MLA
Generations of Victorians have inherited a
remarkable legacy in this state, fuelled by gold at
one stage, now fuelled by agriculture and driven by
ambition and aspiration, innovation and ingenuity.
Infrastructure is important to us all, because our
forefathers built wisely. They built for the future and
we have been the bene ciaries. They laid down
the critical infrastructure that is so essential to our
economy these days. We think of the Hoddle Grid,
our irrigation schemes, our railways, our utilities, our
ports, our power generation, our civic infrastructure,
remarkable city buildings, churches, town halls,
bridges, roads, and, more recently, CityLink,
EastLink, Southbank and Federation Square. We do
have a remarkable legacy, and that has contributed to
Victoria being a leading state over many generations.
A state with only three per cent of the land
mass, but producing 25 per cent of the GDP; a state
with the fastest-growing city in Australia, the largest
manufacturing centre, the busiest container port and
the largest curfew-free major international airport.
A state with abundant energy supplies, great-
quality water, the largest exports of food and bre,
and the most important transport networks that
export produce to key overseas markets. That's the
picture of a competitive state and the strengths of the
Victorian economy. They are all underpinned here
by a thriving, multicultural base, and Victoria is a
gateway to the world. What we have represents not
only a great legacy, but also a great opportunity, and
that's what we seek to nurture and promote.
We've got advantages that other jurisdictions
would simply love to have. That is why infrastructure
-- particularly productivity-enhancing infrastructure --
is so important to economic growth.
We know that there is a shift of industrial activity
away from inner and central Melbourne, and to the
north and outer-west, and south-east. We know that
for industries that constitute the bulk of Victoria's
economy, such as the freight and logistics industry,
there's an urgent need to build infrastructure that
improves those connections. We're now in an effort
to build the next major city-shaping project for
current and future generations.
It is a fact that a failure in a time of prosperity
to balance spending in favour of infrastructure has
left us with a major infrastructure de cit. That has
occurred at the very time when construction costs
have escalated and are pricing us out of infrastructure.
Now there is less money to spend across Australia.
We should be trying to get ahead, or at least keep up;
but we're nding we have to spend to catch up, and
there are now signi cant costs and consequences,
economically, if we don't address this shortfall.
A 'do nothing' approach would cost $20 billion
by 2020, with $6 billion of those costs in Melbourne
alone due to working hours lost, delays, inef ciencies
I'll give you an example: during the typical
morning Melbourne peak, the boom gates at
Springvale Road are down for 50 minutes, which is
around 40 per cent of the duration of peak time. That
occurs every day, as it does at Mitcham Road, where
the boom gates are down for 45 per cent of the time
around peak. We're seeing up to 250 trains passing
through each of those crossings every day.
Those crossings at Springvale and Mitcham,
which have caused crippling bottlenecks for years,
will be gone as a result of decisions in this term.
The travel times in these areas will be reduced
signi cantly. Part of our plan to increase the
ef ciency of the road networks via a $350 million
commitment over three years has focused on those
road separations. That's just one small part of what
we're seeking to do in infrastructure.
We're obviously facing signi cant challenges.
There are international challenges. There are
national challenges associated with signi cant policy
uncertainty, leadership uncertainty and nancial
uncertainty, and particularly through the distribution
of the GST.
There is signi cant nancial uncertainty for the
states. We face our own challenges from unsustainable
budget positions that we have inherited. We inherited
major cost blowouts on many projects, and some
of those we're still facing. We faced a writedown
of more than $6 billion in GST just a few months
There is signi cant nancial
uncertainty for the states. We
face our own challenges from
unsustainable budget positions that
we have inherited
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