Sep 27, 2017

Infrastructure failures a drag on competitiveness

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has cited inadequate railways, roads and communications infrastructure as a hand brake on Australia’s international competitiveness and economic growth.

After the Treasury revealed yesterday that the Turnbull Government had cut its own proposed infrastructure investment by $1.8 billion in 2016-17, overnight the WEF Global Competitiveness Report noted there was a “noticeable drop’’ in Australia’s infrastructure performance in 2016.

While the WEF report ranked Australia 21st out of 137 countries on global competitiveness, Australia’s result was held back by its performance on infrastructure, which ranked 28th.

The damning finding follows yesterday’s news from the Treasury that in the year to June 30, the Turnbull Government failed to fulfil its commitment to invest $9.2 billion on infrastructure.

The Treasury’s Final Budget Outcome document confirmed actual investment was $7.4 billion – $1.8 billion less than Treasurer Scott Morrison promised on Budget night last year.

This represents the third consecutive Budget in which the Government invested less than it promised on the railways, roads, ports and other infrastructure that are critical to economic growth and job creation.

The most recent cuts were across a range of programs within the infrastructure portfolio, including important road safety programs like the Black Spot Program and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

The figures, backed up by the WEF findings, indicate that the Government is either incompetent or is serially misleading Australians about its commitment to nation building.