“Investment and reform” needed for Australian infrastructure

Infrastructure Australia, an independent advisory body, has called for a "new wave of investment and reform" to support the country’s economy and quality of life.

A document called the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit highlights changes needed over the next 15 years in the energy, transport, telecoms, water, social infrastructure and waste sectors.

The audit says long-term changes must occur in the way infrastructure is planned, funded and delivered, despite US$83bn of construction work taking place since 2015 and $13.5bn planned.

Australia’s population is expected to rise to 31.4 million by 2034, an increase of 24%, and spending in Australia’s four largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – is not keeping up with the growth, especially in the suburbs.

In the city centres, investment is needed in public transport, energy and water infrastructure and health and education services.

Julieanne Alroe, Infrastructure Australia’s chair, said: "Changing and growing demand, and a mounting maintenance backlog is putting unprecedented pressure on the infrastructure services each and every Australian relies on.

"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.

"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. 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."

Image: A road work machine in Australia (Anjuman Sharma/Dreamstime)

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