Tuesday 23rd Jul, 2019

Infrastructure sector calls on Coalition to convert rhetoric into action

Left to Right: Australian PM Scott Morrison, Downer apprentice Luke Barlow, Downer chief executive Grant Fenn. Photo: Downer

Industry think tank Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has called on the Federal Coalition Government to ensure it keeps to the promises laid out in its 2019 Budget following its surprise election win last week.

The group’s chief executive Adrian Dwyer lauded both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Bill Shorten for their respective efforts in the election before commenting that the government’s approach to infrastructure would “define the success” of its term.

The Coalition’s funding package includes national initiatives such as a $2.2 billion road safety package; $4 billion urban congestion fund; $2 billion fast rail plan that includes a high-speed link between Geelong and Melbourne, and several further fast rail business cases in eastern Australia; the Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail project; and the $5 billion Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

“The 2019 Budget showed that the Coalition Government takes infrastructure seriously, and now that rhetoric needs to convert into action,” Dwyer said.

“In this new term of parliament there are a number of major issues that will need to be front and centre on the Prime Minister’s infrastructure agenda.”

The Coalition Government has lifted total infrastructure funding to $29.5 billion above forward estimates, and has a long-term plan to raise transport infrastructure investment to $100 billion over the next 10 years.

While Dwyer praised these plans, he added that the Coalition would have to tackle reform challenges such as settling energy policy to end the investment strike, boosting productivity with “big ticket infrastructure reforms” and address road funding concerns.

“The Coalition has already taken the sensible step of reversing the recent decline in funding for critical projects, lifting total infrastructure funding to $29.5 billion over the forward estimates,” Dwyer added.

“Much more however will need to be done to ensure that Australia retains its hard-won reputation as a leader and global standard bearer for sound infrastructure policy.”

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