Jul 20, 2012

Labor delivers record nation building infrastructure investment

After more than a decade of neglect and inaction total investment in the nation’s roads, railways, electricity generators and water storage facilities has surged since Federal Labor took office in late 2007, hitting a new high of $51.5 billion in 2010–11.

According to the latest Australian Infrastructure Statistics Yearbook, which I have released today, infrastructure investment is up 42 per cent in real terms since the last full year (2006–07) of the former Howard Government and is now double what it was a decade ago.

So on top of more jobs, higher wages, lower taxes, restrained inflation, falling interest rates, an unprecedented pipeline of private sector investment and a triple-A credit rating, Federal Labor has also been able to deliver record infrastructure funding.

Two thirds of the increase since 2006–07 has been the result of much greater public spending, most notably by the current Federal Labor Government, with the biggest rises occurring in the following areas of infrastructure construction:

Roads and bridges: up 50 per cent;
Railways: up 118 per cent;
Ports and harbours: up 305 per cent.
Generators and pipelines: up 51 per cent.
Water storage and supply: up 113 per cent;
Sewage and drainage: up 113 per cent.

On any objective measure, it’s clear that the reforms we’ve instituted—including the establishment of Infrastructure Australia—and the direct investments we’re making are working.  In just four years we’ve turned around declining investment in the nation’s infrastructure and begun building for the future.

But the really good news is that this infrastructure boom looks set to continue.  According to the latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association Outlook survey the value of infrastructure construction is expected to rise by a further 13 per cent this year and 9.5 per cent next year.

More than ever, modern, well-planned infrastructure matters and unlike the conservatives, Labor knows that governments have a role in making sure it gets built.  In fact, our international competitiveness and future prosperity depends on it.

Compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), a full copy of the Yearbook can be downloaded from: www.bitre.gov.au.


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Investment in Australia’s transport, energy, water and telecommunication infrastructure, 2006–07 and 2010–11

Investment in Australia's transport, energy, water and telecommunication infrastructure

Infrastructure Statistics Yearbook 2012: Key Statistics

Infrastructure & The Economy

  • Major infrastructure industries—Transport, Energy, Communications and Water—contributed over 10 per cent of GDP;
  • In 2010–11 the total value of major infrastructure projects done in Australia was $51.5 billion, with most occurring in the transport sector (51 per cent) and the energy sector (24 per cent).


  • The transport industry employs 583,500 people or 5.1 per cent of the Australian workforce;
  • In 2009–10—the most recent year with freight data for all modes—2,959.6 million tonnes of domestic freight (bulk and non-bulk) was transported, with 70.7 per cent hauled by road, 27.5 per cent by rail, 1.8 per cent by coastal shipping and the rest by domestic airlines [Table T 2.1c];
  • In 2009–10, total domestic passenger travel (all modes) was nearly 380 billion passenger kilometres, with passenger cars making up the lion’s share (70 per cent) followed by air at 16 per cent, buses at 5 per cent and rail at 4 per cent [Table T 3.1];
  • Over the last five years the road fatality rate declined by 26 per cent from 7.72 to 5.70 per 100 000 population [Table T8.7b].


  • The energy industry employs 152,900 people or 1.3 per cent of the Australian workforce;
  • In 2009–10, Australia had 119,511 kilometres of underground electricity transmission cables and 787,297 kilometres of overhead electricity lines.


  • The communications industry employs 101,100 people or 0.9 per cent of the Australian workforce;
  • Over past two decades, investment in the sector has shifted from being public sector dominated to one where the private sector plays a dominant role.


  • The water supply industry employs 33,900 people or 0.3 per cent of the Australian workforce;
  • Australia has nearly 60,000 kilometres of rural water supply and drainage networks, nearly 158,000 kilometres of urban water mains and over 100,000 kilometres of sewer mains.