I welcome today’s release of Infrastructure Australia’s fourth annual report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), setting out the further reforms it considers vital to securing our nation’s future prosperity.
In the competitive, globalised world of the 21st century, infrastructure matters.
The report also updates the National Infrastructure Priority List of projects which have been rigorously assessed and found to offer the highest economic, social and environmental returns. All up, 4 projects have made the grade and are ‘ready to proceed’.
Significantly, the report notes that as a result of this year’s Federal Budget, every nationally-significant, ‘ready-to-proceed’ project listed on the original 2009 List has now been funded and are on the way to be delivered.
I congratulate Sir Rod Eddington, his fellow Council members and the staff of Infrastructure Australia on continuing to drive lasting reforms to the way our nation plans, finances, builds and uses the infrastructure which makes people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the Australian economy more productive.
On any objective assessment their efforts, together with this Federal Labor Government’s unprecedented capital works program, is making a real and substantial difference. Indeed, total public and private investment in the nation’s roads, railways, electricity generators and water storage facilities is now 40 per cent higher than it was during the last full year (2006-07) of the former Howard government.
But I also agree that the job is far from done. If we are to unlock new sources of infrastructure investment while at the same time getting the most out of what we’ve already built, all governments will need to step up the pace of regulatory and institutional reform.
For its part, Infrastructure Australia will continue to develop its expertise and refine its long term, evidence-based and economy-wide approach to infrastructure development and project assessment as part of future updates.
For this year’s full report to COAG, go to: www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au.