US$400 bil investment needed in Australian infrastructure: Govt report

Marco Green
August 13, 2019

"Australia has always been a desirable place to live, work and raise a family both for people raised here and migrants and we are seeing that more than ever, which is why the Liberal and Nationals government is investing $100bn over 10 years in transport infrastructure across Australia to manage our growing population", he said.

Infrastructure Australia is warning the cost of congestion will double if the government does not increase investment.

Less visible but just as frustrating to people are hospitals and schools that are ageing or reaching capacity, overcrowded parks and city green spaces, ageing water pipes, and the quality of services like the NBN.

Infrastructure costs households $314 a week on average.

While people think power bills are the most expensive cost of living - since they were the fastest growing over recent years - in fact, vehicle running costs take up $205 of this.

Phones and internet cost households $45 a week, power $41 and water $23.

Infrastructure Australia Chair Julieanne Alroe said the report signals the need for substantial investment in infrastructure.

Meantime, experts say there should be an expectation that the historic level of activity in the sector must continue for the next 15 years.

These represent a sound first step but there is clear demand for an aggressive wave of reforms to lift infrastructure above politics and better connect land use, population growth, settlement patterns, housing supply and infrastructure delivery.

The Audit underscores the need for a change to how we approach planning to deliver our infrastructure needs in a rapidly changing environment.

"We've got more in common than we have differences", he said.

"Population growth, social, economic and technological change have all made the job of planning, delivering and operating infrastructure much more complex".

Population and Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said there was no doubt that congestion was an issue in capital cities.

The audit found that the cost of infrastructure was not affordable for the lowest 20% of income earners, who are spending around a third of what they earn on energy, transport, water and telecommunications.

In May, the re-elected Government campaigned on spending $100 billion on roads, railways and airports over the next decade.

"To fully seize the opportunity on offer, Government must support the right infrastructure, informed by our broader policy objectives, community need, and appropriately valuing whole of life and broader social benefits", GBCA CEO Davina Rooney said.

Ms Madew said the dominance of the urban fringe has ended.

While 96% of Australians living in the inner city were within walking distance of public transport, only 34% of those in the suburbs could do so.

Madew said the infrastructure boom that Australia was experiencing was "the new normal".

Peter Colacino, Infrastructure Australia's executive director of policy and research, said that while investment in infrastructure was occurring at record levels, with $123bn of construction work commenced since 2015, the challenge facing policymakers was to maintain this level of spending.

The key challenge was getting the proper investment required.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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