Mar 27, 2018

Government must boost infrastructure in budget

Infrastructure Australia’s call for investment in railways and road projects that tackle traffic congestion highlights the folly of the Turnbull Government’s cuts to infrastructure investment.

The Government must respond with extra investment in May’s Budget.

Traffic congestion in cities is eroding our quality of life and cost the economy $16.5 billion in lost productivity in 2015 alone, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

But the Turnbull Government is cutting infrastructure investment, with this financial year’s $8 billion in grants to states set to fall steadily over the next four years to $4.2 billion in 2020-21.

Infrastructure Australia’s 2018 Infrastructure Priority List, released today, provides advice on some of the rail and road projects that can help address the problem.

The Government must take that advice and get behind important public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project, the Western Sydney Rail and the AdeLINK light rail project.

Today’s report marks the 10th anniversary of Infrastructure Australia, which was created by the former Federal Labor Government to provide evidence-based advice about infrastructure proposals and whether they represent value for money.

Infrastructure Australia has done an excellent job in improving the quality of decision-making.

This is despite the Federal Coalition Government seeking to undermine the organisation by ignoring its advice, cutting its funding and seeking to sideline it by creating its own Infrastructure Financing Unit, which is not independent.