Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 2 Contents 56 futurebuilding Volume 3 Number 2
As we all know, there are various reports
around that have put Australia's infrastructure gap at
somewhere between $700 billion and $800 billion.
This gap will never be lled entirely.
There will always be new projects that come
forward, and expenditure needs will always rise
beyond our capabilities.
We know that we have to invest more and we
need to do it now. If we don't, it's going to cost
Productivity will continue to decline as
congestion rises, impacting on economic growth, not
to mention its social toll, adding to the stress and the
anxiety of daily life.
The Liberal and National parties have already
made signi cant commitments for infrastructure
expenditure should we be elected to government.
Recent announcements have included
commitments towards the East West Link in
Melbourne, the M4 East extension in Sydney, and the
Gateway Motorway North project in Brisbane.
We've renewed earlier commitments to the
upgrading of the Paci c Highway, the Bruce
Highway and the Toowoomba Range Crossing. We're
committed to supporting the Gateway WA project in
Perth, the Melbourne to Brisbane railway line, and
the Midland Highway in Tasmania.
And, of course, there will be much more.
But government budgets at the moment
are awash with debt and de cit, and un lled
and unfunded commitments. Clearly, given the
sheer size of the task ahead of us and the current
budgetary position of the Commonwealth and state
governments, government investment alone is not
going to be enough. It's going to take a combination
of government and private funds, together with
regulatory reform, to enable this investment.
As you would all be aware, the government has
just begun negotiations with the states and territories
about the next federal--state road and rail funding
agreement, which is due to commence in 2014.
The year 2014 seems to be something of a
magical year with this government. Like lots of
things lately, the money will not have to be found
until after the next election. Nonetheless, there will
need to be signi cant contributions towards funding
infrastructure on top of the commitments that are
being made, like disability reform, mental health
care, dental programs and, of course, education,
The agreement on the size and priorities of the
next federal--state agreement is some way off, but the
program needs to be focused on taking productivity-
enhancing projects from concept to construction,
and then completion.
The Hon Warren Truss MP
The infrastructure backlog in Australia is beyond the
capacity of governments to fund on their own. The
solution will lie in regulatory reform and a greater
role for the private sector, according to the Leader of
the National Party, The Hon Warren Truss MP.
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