Jun 4, 2008

Infrastructure Australia meets for the first time

Infrastructure Australia meets for the first time


The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

June 4 2008

The twelve eminent members of the new Infrastructure Australia Advisory Council today met for the first time – exactly six months after the Rudd Labor Government was sworn into office.

The task before them is immense: to develop a blueprint for fixing and modernising the nation’s transport, water, energy and communications infrastructure.

In accordance with the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008, I have written to the Council outlining the Government’s expectations. First and foremost, they are charged with completing the work program laid down by COAG:

1. By October, developing nationally consistent Public Private Partnership guidelines to make it easier and cheaper for the private industry to partner with government and invest in nation building infrastructure;

2. By the end of the year, finalising the National Audit – a comprehensive and unprecedented stocktake of the nation’s infrastructure; and

3. By March 2009, compiling and delivering to COAG the first National Priority List to guide billions of dollars of investment in economically significant infrastructure – a process based on a rigorous assessment and prioritisation of the nation’s infrastructure needs, including in the area of public transport and tackling urban congestion.

The work and advice of Infrastructure Australia will inform the Government’s allocations from the $20 billion Building Australia Fund.

My letter to Infrastructure Australia also highlighted the importance of regulatory reform to improve the development and use of infrastructure networks.

In addition, we know that infrastructure has a long lifespan and can impact on efforts to tackle environmental challenges such as climate change. Accordingly, as well as social and economic factors, I’ve asked Infrastructure Australia to be mindful of our environmental responsibilities when conducting all its deliberations.

The inaugural members of Infrastructure Australia are:

  • Sir Rod Eddington – Chair
  • The Hon Mark Birrell
  • Mr Jim Hallion
  • Dr Ken Henry AC
  • Mr Phil Hennessy
  • Mr Anthony Kannis
  • Mr Terry Moran AO
  • Professor Peter Newman
  • Ms Heather Ridout
  • Mr Ross Rolfe
  • Dr Kerry Schott
  • Mr Garry Weaven

Under the leadership of Sir Rod Eddington, this group has the capacity to cut through and identify the critical issues, as well as the proven abilities to find innovative solutions to the infrastructure challenges Australia faces.

The Rudd Labor Government is serious about bringing national leadership and new thinking to the planning, financing and building of economic infrastructure.

Together, the establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the Building Australia Fund represents a dramatic shift in Commonwealth policy. Public investment in infrastructure will no longer have regard to political cycles or electoral boundaries.

We are getting on with the job of nation building.