Jul 15, 2014

Productivity commission backs Labor infrastructure changes

A new report by the Productivity Commission into public infrastructure has backed Labor’s calls for greater transparency and accountability in the sector.

The report says that there are says there are ‘significant’ risks associated with the Abbott Government’s Asset Recycling Fund should it proceed without changes.

Labor has moved amendments to the Asset Recycling Fund Bill 2014 to hold Mr Abbott to his promise of proper cost-benefit analysis for major projects.

…the Initiative does not obviate the need for good governance and transparent and sound analysis of privatisation and procurement decisions.

(p.264, Volume 1, Public Infrastructure)

This is a hugely embarrassing report for Mr Abbott.

Before the election, Mr Abbott promised that any project worth more than $100 million would be subjected to a full cost-benefit analysis.

Since the election he has broken this promise repeatedly, and walked away from his commitment to a transparent and independent process for funding new infrastructure.

This includes paying the Victorian Government $1.5 billion for the East-West Link long before construction starts and without proper assessment by Infrastructure Australia.

Mr Abbott’s flawed approach to infrastructure policy and hollow promises are damaging Australia.