Apr 24, 2018

Media Release – Budget Infrastructure Boost Critical for International Competitiveness – Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Federal Coalition Government must use next month’s Budget to reverse its cuts to infrastructure investment, which have undermined Australia’s international competitiveness.

Under the Federal Coalition, Australia has tumbled from 18th to 28th on the international league table that ranks countries based on the adequacy, quality and efficiency of their economic infrastructure, according to the highly-respected World Economic Forum.

This is harming Australia’s international competitiveness and acting as a handbrake on economic growth.

Since taking office, the Federal Coalition has consistently cut infrastructure investment.  Worst still, the Budget Papers confirm that going forward grants to the states and territories will more than halve from the forecasted (but not delivered) $9.2 billion in 2016-17 to $4.2 billion in 2020-21.

That performance contrasts with that of the former Federal Labor Government, which lifted Australia from 20th to 1st among advanced nations in terms of infrastructure investment as a proportion of GDP.

Next month’s Budget is an opportunity for the Coalition to reverse its cuts.

It should start by confronting traffic congestion with investment in public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Adelaide’s AdeLINK light rail and the entire Western Sydney Rail Line, including a connection to the Macarthur region.

Investing in the right infrastructure projects creates jobs and economic activity in the short term while boosting productivity and economic growth over the longer term.

With the WEF expressing explicit concern about the extent to which inadequate infrastructure is holding back economic growth, the Government must act.

It must also immediately investigate why it has failed to deliver about one in every five dollars it has promised to invest in infrastructure since its election.

The difference between what the Government has announced in its first four budgets and what it actually invested is $4.9 billion.

This indicates the Government either routinely misleads Australians about its actual plans or is too incompetent to administer its nation building program.