Jan 21, 2008

Rudd Government to dramatically overhaul national infrastructure policy

Rudd Government to dramatically overhaul national infrastructure policy

Kevin Rudd – Prime Minister

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

21 January 2008

Federal Cabinet today formally approved the establishment of Infrastructure Australia, a key driver in the Rudd Government’s plan to fight inflation.

Infrastructure Australia will help fight inflation by boosting the economy’s productive capacity, unlocking infrastructure bottlenecks like clogged ports and congested roads.

Infrastructure Australia represents a dramatic shift in national economic policy, bringing national leadership to infrastructure development for the first time since Federation.

Legislation establishing Infrastructure Australia will be introduced during the first session of the new Parliament.

The Rudd Government will develop a strategic blueprint for Australia’s infrastructure needs and ensure future projects are determined by economic, social, and environmental needs – not short-term political interests.

Infrastructure Australia will be a statutory advisory council with twelve members drawn from industry, government and local government. This will include five from the private sector, one of whom will be the chair. Infrastructure Australia will:

  • Conduct audits to determine the adequacy, capacity and condition of nationally significant infrastructure, including transport, water, communications and energy.
  • Develop an Infrastructure Priority List to guide billions of dollars of public and private investment.
  • Provide advice to governments, investors and owners of infrastructure on regulatory reforms that can improve the utilisation of our infrastructure networks.

Infrastructure Australia’s immediate task will be to audit the nation’s infrastructure shortfalls and produce an Infrastructure Priority List to guide billions of dollars of public and private investment.

The first Infrastructure Priority List will be completed within 12 months. In developing the List, Infrastructure Australia will assess projects in terms of specific goals, such as:

  • Meeting water and energy needs;
  • Saving time for commuters battling traffic congestion in our major cities
  • Efficiently moving freight from regional areas to our ports.
  • Meeting the challenge of climate change

Infrastructure Australia will also review the extent to which governments can better facilitate infrastructure investment, including through public-private partnerships as well as better planning and approval processes.

The task ahead for Infrastructure Australia is considerable.

The OECD ranks Australia 20th out 25 countries when it comes to investment in public infrastructure as a proportion of national income.

For 11 years the Howard-Costello Government failed to act on Australia’s infrastructure needs.

The Rudd Government is committed to investing in Australia’s future and addressing our nation’s long-term infrastructure bottlenecks.