22 May 2015
Australia's productivity and quality of life will be tested, with population and economic growth set to cause increasing congestion and bottlenecks, according to the nation's first-ever comprehensive infrastructure audit.
Releasing the landmark Australian Infrastructure Audit Report today, Infrastructure Australia Chairman Mark Birrell said Australia must act now before these demand pressures affect our living standards and economic competitiveness.
“Experiences of transport networks failing to keep pace with demand, water quality standards being uneven, energy costs being too high, telecommunication services being outdated, or freight corridors being neglected are now so common that they necessitate a strategic response,” Mr Birrell said.
The Audit strategically identifies the drivers of infrastructure demand and the impact they are having. It also outlines the policy, funding and delivery challenges Australia must face.
“Australia has handled growth and demands like this before and I am optimistic that we can do so again. The challenge is managing our success so that infrastructure delivers the economic benefits and living standards Australians expect.”
The report makes 81 findings including that:
The report also finds that institutional arrangements in the transport sector don't provide sufficient funding to address the current gaps.
“Without a total increase in both public and private funding of infrastructure, and market reforms to strengthen the transport and water sectors, we won't have the infrastructure that a growing population and our globally-focussed economy deserve.”
“The telecommunications and energy sectors highlight how well-structured reforms can lead to positive outcomes for consumers. However, these reforms need to be deepened and applied across other sectors, as markets can drive higher standards of service delivery.”
The Audit proposes a number of major changes to the way we plan and deliver new infrastructure, especially:
Infrastructure Australia will be consulting with the public, governments, business and peak bodies on the Audit as it prepares the Australian Infrastructure Plan.
The 15 year Plan will make recommendations on project investment priorities, with a reinvigorated Infrastructure Priority List, and specific areas for policy reform.
The Plan will be submitted to government in late 2015. Public submissions are welcomed. The report and information on the submission process is available at www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au