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Record Infrastructure Spend the New Normal - 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit

Infra News - Published on Mon, 19 Aug 2019

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The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit published by Infrastructure Australia, the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor, a new wave of investment and reform is needed to ensure Australia’s infrastructure continues to support our quality of life and economic productivity over the next 15 years. Infrastructure Australia Chair, Ms Julieanne Alroe, said that Changing and growing demand, and a mounting maintenance backlog is putting unprecedented pressure on the infrastructure services each and every Australian relies on. The current infrastructure program must do more than plug the immediate funding gap, but instead deliver long-term changes to the way we plan, fund and deliver infrastructure. Rather than a short-term boom, the historic level of activity we are seeing in the sector must, and is likely, to continue for the next 15 years and potentially beyond. This must be the new normal if we are to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit presents a forward-looking view of our infrastructure challenges and opportunities over the next 15 years and beyond. It is the second national Audit Infrastructure Australia has undertaken, after the first was published in 2015, and examines the infrastructure needs of the Australian community and industry covering the major infrastructure sectors of energy, transport, telecommunications, water and for the first time, social infrastructure and waste.

Ms Alroe said that “Since the last Australian Infrastructure Audit we released in 2015, Australia’s governments have made important progress to promote reform, improve planning and address infrastructure gaps. More than USD 123 billion of construction work has commenced since 2015, with a committed forward pipeline of over USD 200 billion. However, there is much more to do to ease the pressures of growth, catalyse development and enable our businesses to compete on a global stage.”

She said that “The 2019 Audit finds that infrastructure in our four largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – is failing to keep pace with rapid population growth, particularly on the urban fringe. With our population projected to grow by 24% to reach 31.4 million by 2034, our largest cities are expected to see pressure on access to infrastructure.”

She added that “The dominance of infill development in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will require investment in high capacity public transport, enhancements to existing energy and water infrastructure, improved shared spaces and a renewal of inner city health and education services.”

She further added that “In contrast, the growing outer suburbs of the other major cities, including Perth, where greenfield development will dominate, is are expected to see pressure on their road networks, as well as expansion of utility networks, new shared and recreation spaces as well as cultural facilities. The costs of inaction are significant. If investment were to stop, the cost of road congestion is projected to grow by USD 18.9 billion to USD 38.7 billion in 2031. This impacts quality of life, as well as our economic productivity and competitiveness as a nation.”

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Posted By : Mohan Sharma on Mon, 19 Aug 2019
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