Infrastructure Efficiency Now Even More Important

The changing investment climate makes the need for efficient investments in infrastructure even more important, says Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Katie Lahey.

The BCA yesterday released its submission to Infrastructure Australia on Australia’s future infrastructure requirements.

The submission sets out how Australia can best secure efficient new investment, as well as efficient use of existing investment.

“In this changing economic climate, we have even more reason to make the most of our infrastructure dollars,” Ms Lahey said.

“We need to do more than just throw money at our national infrastructure problems.”

“Australia has $20 billion a year to gain from smarter spending on new investments, and from making more efficient use of existing investments.”

“For instance, when we face running out of water, we need to make smarter decisions about whether we build new dams or desalination plants, or pipe water to where it can be best used. When we build roads and rail projects, we can prioritise the connections that offer the best returns.

“Good choices offer enormous gains.”

The BCA submission says Australia faces several major blockages to efficient infrastructure investment:

  • We are not planning enough for future infrastructure needs and projects.
  • We do not have enough information on the infrastructure we will need and the projects that could deliver it.
  • Our national infrastructure markets have not developed far enough to support efficient infrastructure investment. Many current infrastructure markets feature poor pricing policies, poor regulation, lack of competition, and ineffective investment processes.

The submission says Infrastructure Australia will play a central role in ensuring efficient infrastructure investment, both by advising on key infrastructure reform issues and by bringing independence and rigour to the analysis of reforms.

“The economic slowdown should not prevent rigorous assessment of infrastructure proposals.”

“Compared to other spending in the stimulus package announced this week, infrastructure spending will take longer to impact on the economy,” Ms Lahey said.

“Spending money fast should not be the government’s main infrastructure priority. Infrastructure proposals should receive tough scrutiny, to make sure that they are efficient and that Australia gets the most economic growth for its infrastructure dollar.”

Submission to Infrastructure Australia on Australia’s Future Infrastructure Requirements