Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 4 Number 1 Contents futurebuilding 23
Volume 4 Number 1
The Hon Mark Birrell, Chairman, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
Swati Dave, Executive General Manager, Specialised Finance at National Australia Bank; Phil
Garling, Non-Executive Director of Networks NSW; Lindsay Maxsted, Chairman of Transurban;
James Stewart OBE, Chairman, Global Infrastructure at KPMG; Dr Kerry Schott, Infrastructure
Australia board member, Chairman of the Moorebank Intermodal, NBN Co. board member.
The Chairman's Panel at Partnerships 2013
brings into sharp focus the need for all
governments to be innovative and brave in
pursuing politically complex reforms to help
Australia solve its infrastructure backlog.
Mark Birrell: A new Federal Government gives us fresh
opportunities. What should be the ambition for the new
Government, and what should it be focusing on?
Swati Dave: Having a Prime Minister who says
he wants to be the 'infrastructure Prime Minister' is a
really good message to the market, and it indicates a
likelihood of momentum, which is great. I also think
we're seeing the priorities emerge through reform
of Infrastructure Australia, and if they can deliver
those and provide the market with a prioritised
pipeline that's agreed between the Federal and state
governments, it creates certainty and clarity, which
will be really useful for the private sector to start
aligning behind this opportunity.
Phil Garling: Well, I think we can do a lot worse
than just adopt the Paul Howes manifesto. Paul is the
National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union,
and, importantly, a director of Australian Super.
In a recent Australian Financial Review article, he
removed the ideological barrier to privatisation by
saying it's actually in the workers' interests not to be
sitting in traf c jams, and being able to access health
care, and having access to all the other infrastructure
you'd expect in a First World country.
The debate now seems to be about recycling capital.
In my view, it's appropriate for governments to take the
up-front risk on development of projects, and then sell
them to long-term owners -- institutions that have an
appetite for that type of investment.
Lindsay Maxsted: I think the stars are aligned.
It's the right time to be focused on infrastructure, and
it's important that the Federal Government doesn't try
and reinvent the wheel. I don't think they will; I think
they are well prepared and, for me, the emphasis
now should be moving away from the asset side of
the balance sheet, in terms of what projects should
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