Australia’s new Infrastructure Audit is a clarion call for the need to keep investing in infrastructure to support the economic and social transformation of our major cities.
The Property Council of Australia welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and its recognition of the critical infrastructure needs of our growing cities, especially the big four of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
“We welcome the Audit – it’s comprehensive, it’s credible and it’s a step in the journey to a comprehensive national infrastructure plan that we sorely need,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.
“Our biggest cities are growing rapidly, but their infrastructure base hasn’t kept up.
“Infrastructure Australia calls for a ‘new normal’ of elevated infrastructure investment because the transformation underway in our largest cities will last for decades.
“Australia’s big cities are not experiencing a one-off growth spurt. They’re being shaped by economic trends that have turned them into increasingly powerful people magnets.
“From the inner city to the urban fringe, we need the infrastructure to power the economy and support high liveability cities.
“Our population is forecast to grow by 24 per cent to over 31 million by 2034, and more than three quarters of this will be focused in our big four cities.
“If we don’t commit to investing in these cities, our quality of life and economic productivity and competitiveness as a nation will suffer.
“If our big cities fail, the country fails,” Mr Morrison said.
The Audit underscores the need for a change to how we approach planning to deliver our infrastructure needs in a rapidly changing environment.
“Infrastructure investment is vital, but it needs to be accompanied by good planning and strong governance to provide the right outcomes.
“Population growth, social, economic and technological change have all made the job of planning, delivering and operating infrastructure much more complex.
“This complexity includes the scale of projects, including the fact that so-called ‘mega projects’ of more than one billion dollars value are becoming the norm.
“We also need to address industry capacity and skills to ensure we have the ability to deliver the infrastructure projects Australia needs,” Mr Morrison said
The Audit also highlights the importance of better customer and community engagement, with an estimated $20 billion worth of infrastructure projects delayed, cancelled or mothballed due to community opposition over the past decade.
“It’s imperative that our governments as well as industry and the community pay close attention to this Audit,” Mr Morrison said.
Feedback and submissions on the Audit will help to inform the next Australian Infrastructure Plan and Infrastructure Priority List.