Dec 16, 2016

New figures confirm collapse in infrastructure investment

New Government figures have highlighted the collapse on overall infrastructure investment under the Coalition Government.

The figures, released yesterday, show investment in transport and energy infrastructure have all been in freefall since the election of the Coalition after investment increased significantly under the former Labor Federal Government.

The figures are contained in the Australian Infrastructure Statistics, Yearbook 2016.

It notes, “Growth in transport infrastructure construction increased in 2009-10 to 2011-12. However, the value of transport construction activity stabilised in 2012-13 and has decreased since 2012-14.’’

Confirmation of the cuts follows earlier Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing that total public sector infrastructure investment fell by 20 per cent in the Coalition’s first two years in office.

They also follow confirmation that in the 2015-16 the Government invested $5.5 billion in infrastructure, which is $2.5 billion less than it had promised to invest.

That figure included a $490 million payment to the WA Government as GST compensation, so the full underspend was closer to $3 billion or about 35 per cent.

The collapse in spending comes amid growing calls from economists and business leaders for the Government to increase infrastructure investment to support jobs and economic growth as the mining boom continues its transition from its construction stage to production.

These calls have increased since last week’s National Accounts showed the economy contracted by 0.5 per cent in the September quarter.

Instead, Mr Turnbull is continuing to cut investment.

It is time he listened to the experts and accepted there is a clear role for Government to support economic growth.

Investing in the right projects will create short-term economic activity while unlocking long-term productivity gains that will drive future waves of growth.