Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 2 Contents 58 futurebuilding Volume 3 Number 2
The Hon Warren Truss MP
happens to be in my electorate -- a rating of 'early
stage', even though the route was chosen years ago,
and the planning and design was well advanced.
Yet, the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane was
listed as 'ready to proceed', when we all know that
the state government hasn't yet decided how it's going
to address the congestion issues in an affordable and
responsible way, and whether this is going to end up
being a $1 billion project, a $4 billion project or a
$40 billion project.
From the Coalition's perspective, we're keen
to support Infrastructure Australia and give it a
meaningful role in project assessment. We will task
Infrastructure Australia with creating a pipeline of
projects. This pipeline will need to look at least 15
years ahead, with a review every ve years to provide
a timetable for future priorities and investment.
This will be created collaboratively with the states
and territories, and will provide a comprehensive
and evidence-based framework to encourage
investment. We want Infrastructure Australia to be
well ahead of the game so that there are no delays
in bringing projects to fruition because assessments
haven't been undertaken.
We'll also require all major Commonwealth-
funded infrastructure projects to undergo a full cost-
bene t analysis by Infrastructure Australia before
We're committed to Infrastructure Australia;
we want it to work. There needs to be a strong
understanding within the community that its role
is permanent and that it is going to play a key role
in developing our priorities for the future. And
it needs to be visionary and forward-thinking so
that there aren't delays in bringing projects to the
construction stage because assessment work has
not yet been undertaken.
The Coalition is also committed to reducing
red tape for business, improving our international
competitiveness and maximising value for money in
projects. It is bewildering that around 40 per cent of
funding for infrastructure projects is spent before a
bulldozer arrives on site.
Community consultation and protecting our
environment are important, but the fact that
projects take years to get through the planning
and approval process is something that clearly
needs to be addressed.
A recent report by the Business Council of
Australia found that resources projects are 40 per
cent more costly in Australia than in the United
States, hospitals cost 62 per cent more, schools
26 per cent more and airports a staggering 90 per
Now, this is a comparison with the United States;
not exactly a low-cost country, not a country that
takes shortcuts in relation to approval processes, but
for some reason the costs of these projects are much
higher in Australia.
These costs are holding back our capacity to
deliver the infrastructure that we need. Now, a lot
of this is about regulation and the willingness of
governments of all political persuasions to respond to
community complaints about a particular issue with
another tranche of regulations.
Since Labor was elected in 2007, the Rudd-
Gillard governments have introduced 16,000 new
regulations, while repealing less than 100. And
that was in spite of Labor's election commitment
to abolish one regulation for each new one that
Now, I know this isn't easy, but we have to
seriously tackle the burden of regulation if we are
going to deliver projects in this country ef ciently
and on time.
While total investment in infrastructure has
increased dramatically in recent years, private sector
investment has only marginally increased over the
In Australia, infrastructure investment by super
funds has been of interest to policymakers for a
number of years.
The introduction of compulsory superannuation
20 years ago has seen investment in superannuation
funds in Australia soar. Today, 12 million Australians
have around $1.3 trillion invested in superannuation
funds. It is estimated that over the next 15 years, this
could rise to up to $5 trillion.
Traditionally, superannuation funds have had a
limited role in infrastructure nancing in Australia.
Research on Australian Prudential Regulation
Authority (APRA) regulated super funds has indicated
that only around ve per cent of their total asset
allocation is in infrastructure.
Previously, IPA has estimated that if we get the
regulatory settings right, super funds could provide
an extra $18 billion in additional infrastructure
investment each year. This could go a long way
towards helping fund the vital infrastructure we need
to improve productivity across Australia.
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