Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 4 Number 1 Contents 68 futurebuilding Volume 4 Number 1
Optimism around the
new national government
must be backed by a
strong reform agenda
if Australia is to solve
its productivity and
says Aurizon Chief
Executive and Managing
Director, Lance Hockridge.
With a new government in place, I certainly
do detect a small spring in the step of the
I'm known as being more bullish than a number
of my colleagues, particularly in our space, and
especially in the resource space.
But it seems that, on the back of all of that, many
predictions of the end of the world as we know it are
already being proven to be somewhat bearish.
My challenge, therefore, to business and to
government, is not to withdraw from this opportunity
that we have in front of us, but to create a new start
and create the kind of momentum that is needed for
change in the infrastructure space.
We've all got a role to play on what is a relatively
long road around reform and restructure.
The Abbott Government is certainly clearly
starting to blast away at the policy void -- and that's
a good thing.
The renewal of federalism is a genuine prospect
in which states get on with business, without the
dead hand of Canberra impacting on everything that
they do and need to do.
The streamlining of environmental approvals, as
witnessed between the Queensland and Commonwealth
Governments' Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),
makes great sense. Similar moves, of course, have been
made in New South Wales.
We don't want to lower the bar around
environmental standards, but I believe that we
certainly can be faster, we can eliminate duplication,
and we can cut the costs of business in this area.
The Coalition Government, I believe, also ought
to be well supported for its policy of accelerating
the completion of free trade agreements with key
countries in our region.
This will be particularly important for the
agricultural sector -- and it will help Australia realise
the genuine prospect of our agricultural sector
becoming the 'food bowl' of Asia.
The ow-on bene ts, as we all know, to regional
and rural Australia -- indeed to the overall Australian
economy -- would be substantial.
In economic terms, notwithstanding my optimism,
I don't believe that the prevailing headwinds that
we've all been experiencing are going to dissipate
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