Apr 26, 2007

ALP to launch report on Australia’s National Infrastructure

ALP to launch report on Australia’s National Infrastructure




26 April 2007

The Report of the ALP Inquiry into the Financing and Provision of Australian Infrastructure will be launched at the ALP National Conference tomorrow.

The Report is critical of the lack of national coordination and under-investment in infrastructure and, consistent with calls from industry groups, recommends a national infrastructure plan.

The Report rightly argues that spending on infrastructure should be viewed as an investment, not merely a cost because it contributes to the productive economy and boosts Australia’s living standards.

If Australia is to maintain its economic prosperity, we must close the gap on infrastructure shortfalls which the Business Council of Australia estimates to be to the value of $90 billion.

On the important issue of infrastructure financing, the Labor Party agrees with the Report’s recommendation for the sensible evaluation of potential financing options to determine the most appropriate procurement method, including Public-Private Partnerships.

Federal Labor wants to work with Australia’s business community to fix our infrastructure problems.

While Federal Labor is prepared to embrace PPPs for this purpose, we believe they must take into account benefits for the Australian taxpayer consistent with a sound value for money framework, and there must always be a transparent process involving the negotiations and the tender process with the private sector.

The Report supports the establishment of Infrastructure Australia, a Commonwealth Statutory Authority to coordinate the planning, regulation and development of infrastructure.

As a matter of urgency, Infrastructure Australia will audit the adequacy, capacity and condition of Australia’s infrastructure assets and use this to develop a National Infrastructure Priority List.

If we are to preserve Australia’s economic prosperity, remain globally competitive and meet future challenges, then a coordinated, objective, reformist approach to infrastructure planning and investment is essential.

Howard Government reform complacency has compromised future productivity growth.

The Report provides a comprehensive nation building program to get Australia moving again.

The Federal Parliamentary Labor Party would like to thank the Chair Steve Heffernan and committee members for their outstanding efforts in producing a comprehensive report. The Report was completed and delivered in November 2006 and a number of recommendations have been adopted in the ALP National Platform.

Their analysis of numerous submissions, consultations around the nation and with international experts allowed complex issues relating to the financing of infrastructure in Australia to be thoroughly explored.

Copies of the Report are available here: The Report of the ALP Inquiry into the Financing and Provision of Australian Infrastructure [pdf] or at www.alp.org.au