AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Massive decline in national infrastructure investment: IPA

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> There was been a 35% decline in national infrastructure investment between 2011/12 and 2012/13, according to industry body Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. But rail investment is declining at a slightly slower rate than road investment, IPA chief executive, Brendan Lyon, has told Rail Express. </span> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“The trend for all civil infrastructure has been negative,” Lyon said. “Australia is investing less in transport than it was a couple of years ago.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">The slowdown is occurring as state and federal governments rub up against their debt ceilings and reduce further investment, Lyon says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">However, rail investment is still looking like a healthier option than road investment, the IPA’s figures suggest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“According to our metric, rail has continued to track at about 2010 levels, whereas road investment has dropped, in this latest quarter, to about a quarter of 2010 levels,” Lyon said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“Across the board we’re seeing a slowdown in public infrastructure investment, and that’s hit the road sector much harder than the rail sector.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">Lyon said growth in congestion and associated costs was indicative of the fact that Australia is investing less money than it needs to in transport.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">He spoke with <i>Rail Express </i>following the release of a statement by the IPA that identified the 35% drop in public infrastructure investment in 2012/13 – a figure based on the IPA’s own Australian Infrastructure Metric.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“The latest numbers show a modest rally in overall activity in the June quarter, but the full year trend paints a sobering picture of slowing investment,” Lyon said in the release.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“The year’s investment was around half 2010/11 levels, and substantially behind what should be invested to bolster the economy’s competitiveness.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">Lyon said that with the capital-intensive phase of the mining boom in Australia’s rear-view mirror, governments must begin to invest in the economic infrastructure that will equip the nation’s business sector to compete in global markets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“The election of the Abbott Government brings a welcome commitment to increase Commonwealth investment in transport infrastructure by circa 25% over the forward estimates,” he continued.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptTimes New Roman&quot,&quotserif&quotTimes New Roman&quot">“But Commonwealth investment represents only about 10% of total public infrastructure investment, meaning that the national government must focus on leading the states through a comprehensive reform of public finances.”</span></p>