Infrastructure Australia Report puts onus on Government

  • Infrastructure Australia Report puts onus on Government

Infrastructure Australia Report puts onus on Government

Australia needs to commit to spending $200 billion every five years on a range of infrastructure projects if it wants to keep up with the pace of population growth, the nation's infrastructure advisor has warned.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has called on Morrison to significantly increase infrastructure spending to boost the struggling economy, but the government has so far been resistant to the idea.

The audit, to be released on Tuesday, has found that infrastructure is being particularly stretched on the urban fringes of Australia's four largest cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth - where the majority of the country's population boom is occurring.

The problem is being compounded by ageing assets, rising road congestion, public transport crowding and growing demands on so-called "social infrastructure", such as schools, hospitals and parks, as more people move into cities.

Infrastructure costs households $314 a week on average.

These represent a sound first step but there is clear demand for an aggressive wave of reforms to lift infrastructure above politics and better connect land use, population growth, settlement patterns, housing supply and infrastructure delivery.

"We've got more in common than we have differences", he said.

While most people report concern about energy costs - which have risen 50% over the past decade - most of the expense is related to vehicle purchase and running costs.

While the quality of infrastructure services is high for most Australians in urban areas, low density areas and lower socio-economic groups are not having their needs met.

"The current infrastructure program must do more than plug the immediate funding gap, but instead deliver long-term changes to the way we plan, fund and deliver infrastructure".

Mounting costs from traffic congestion, inadequate water security and inflated energy prices for consumers threaten to erode living standards in Australia unless spending on infrastructure was not increased according to a Government report.

"What the report calls for is obviously continued and upgraded investment in infrastructure".

But Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused the coalition of ripping the "guts" out of infrastructure funding in 2014. "But when you look at the detail, the investment simply isn't there".

"After six years of cuts and inaction, the audit is another stark reminder of the real pressures in the system now".

The infrastructure minister, Michael McCormack, said the report did not account for an additional $23bn in new infrastructure investment announced in the 2019-20 budget, including more than 160 urban congestion projects.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed Infrastructure Australia's (IA) Australian Infrastructure Audit report as fresh evidence to support urgent action to ensure the productivity, resilience and sustainability of cities and communities across Australia.

"The Australian Infrastructure Plan acknowledged that Australia's governments and the community would benefit from a set of clear principles to provide a benchmark for high-quality infrastructure decision making", says Infrastructure Australia chief executive, Philip Davies.