More than US$18bn a year of Australia’s state spending on roads is used in a "hideously inefficient" manner, according to a leaked report by the country’s infrastructure watchdog.
Infrastructure Australia attacked the government’s "gambler’s addiction" to road spending report, has delivered a scathing critique of the performance of state-run road entities such as VicRoads, which it said had a culture of resisting reform, and had "captured" their political overseers.Â
The report said: "The unhealthy focus of road agencies appears set on ‘getting, controlling and spending’ more taxpayer money, rather than questioning efficiency or value to the motorist and governments."Â
It added that Australia’s "thirst for roads" would come at the expense of other services and suggested there was little consideration of whether the country’s demands for new roads should be satisfied, arguing that rail funding had missed out as a result.
The report, "Spend more, waste more, Australia’s roads in 2014" was sent to industry experts on Tuesday for comment. Hours after it was circulated, Infrastructure Australia’s acting coordinator John Fitzgerald ordered its withdrawal.
A spokesman for the infrastructure minister, Warren Truss, said the report had "no further standing" than a consultant’s view.