BCA Shines High Beam Down Road to Infrastructure Reform

03 October 2007

The Business Council of Australia today launched a roadmap for infrastructure reform to address current and future challenges faced by the Australian economy to maintaining and building on prosperity.

Infrastructure: Roadmap for Reform, developed for the BCA by Rod Sims of Port Jackson Partners, details the approach to infrastructure reform that business would like to see reflected in the policy of the next government following the election.

“In April the BCA identified a set of reform standards essential to the next stage of Australia’s economic growth covering a range of policies. This roadmap now outlines how we can meet those standards in the critical area of infrastructure,” BCA President Michael Chaney said.

“Infrastructure such as ports, road and rail transport, water, energy, and fast, accessible broadband are the building blocks for future growth but without proper planning for renewal they can quickly become serious stumbling blocks to prosperity.

“Despite recognition of the problems and some action by governments, the response to our infrastructure challenges remains piecemeal. That is why we need a commitment from the major political parties to a comprehensive and coordinated plan of action,” Mr Chaney said.

Mr Chaney said while the roadmap provided a way forward in meeting our infrastructure requirements, implementation success would depend on two key factors – effectively functioning federal–state relations and a regular independent review process.

The roadmap builds on foundation strategies identified in the BCA reform standards in April including effective national infrastructure markets and national regulation; market-based prices; public investment processes; effective competition; private ownership in contestable segments; and, regulation that encourages investment.

It highlights a detailed way forward in a range of infrastructure sectors including electricity, urban and rural water, urban transport, national freight and broadband, and identifies a series of key outcomes required to meet our future economic growth.

“Australia’s economy has expanded beyond the capacity of our current infrastructure,” Mr Chaney said.

“The problems with our infrastructure are well known, and include poor governance and planning arrangements and poor policy choices.

“Our roadmap provides a clear path for infrastructure reform over the next four years and will be used by the BCA as the basis for assessing future infrastructure policies of all political parties including the party the forms the next government.

“The BCA recognises that in an election year the focus on policy can be overtaken by short-term politics, but we need a clear strategic vision if we are to create the conditions to build and pass on our current prosperity to future generations.

“Australia continues to be at a crossroads in terms of addressing our infrastructure needs and developing the capacity required to meet future growth.

“But we cannot afford to let the forthcoming election become another reason why political parties defer the development of or commitment to detailed actions required to unblock our infrastructure bottlenecks and unleash our future potential.

“We call on the major political parties to commit now to a national electricity market, competitive and reliable water markets, uncongested urban transport, sufficient capacity for national freight and a truly accessible, very high speed broadband service,” Mr Chaney said.



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