Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 4 Number 1 Contents 50 futurebuilding Volume 4 Number 1
Peter Harris AO
Despite broad consensus across the political
divide around the importance of infrastructure
investment to productivity growth, Productivity
Commission Chairman, Peter Harris AO, asks why
it is that Australia continues to under-invest.
First, let me say, it's great that infrastructure investment
has never been as popular as it seemingly is today.
Most of us are commuters, and many of us are
also regular airport users, and maybe that makes this
renewed interest in infrastructure sound like a more
than fair thing.
But there is still a need for some structured
thinking to intrude on such a rosy scene.
The idea that there is an infrastructure gap has
persisted for some time, and perhaps there is. But
even if there is a gap, the lessons we have learned over
the past 10 years about how to address infrastructure
suggests that it's best not to simply rush in and fund
the next big project that claims to be ready to go.
You don't ll gaps measured in the hundreds of
billions of dollars with an icon project or three, no
matter how iconic it is.
The better approach is to undertake a review
of all the factors that go together to address the
infrastructure conundrum. And that conundrum
is: we all favour more investment in this basic
underpinning of productivity improvement, but we
continually seem to be under-investing -- why?
And since, in my assessment, this question needs
to be properly reviewed, I am not going to solve it
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