Infrastructure Australia meets to implement investment agenda

By: Jason Whittaker


Infrastructure Australia has used its first meeting to lay the groundwork for implementing the Rudd Government’s commitments to infrastructure investment. Minister

Infrastructure Australia has used its first meeting to lay the groundwork for implementing the Rudd Government’s commitments to infrastructure investment.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese has charged the 12-member board, led by transport guru Sir Rod Eddington, with completing three initiatives agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

In a letter to Infrastructure Australia, he told the group it is to develop nationally consistent public-private partnership guidelines by October to streamline the process.

This is to be followed by the completion of a national audit by the end of year of Australia’s infrastructure.

And by March 2009, the Government expects the body to have a national priority list designed to guide infrastructure investment. This, Albanese says, is to be delivered to COAG when it meets in March. He says it will be based on "rigorous assessment", with public transport and urban congestion to be priority areas.

"My letter to Infrastructure Australia also highlighted the importance of regulatory reform to improve the development and use of infrastructure networks," Albanese says.

Furthermore, Infrastructure Australia has been told to be mindful of the environmental impact when reaching decisions on infrastructure investment.

Although Albanese says the task before the group will be immense, he adds it is a challenge it will meet.

"Under the leadership of Sir Rod Eddington, this group has the capacity to cut through and identify the critical issues, as well as the proven abilities to find innovative solutions to the infrastructure challenges Australia faces," he says.

According to Albanese, Infrastructure Australia’s establishment and its inaugural meeting represents the Rudd Government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure and removing productivity-sapping bottlenecks.

"We are getting on with the job of nation building," he says.

"The Rudd Labor Government is serious about bringing national leadership and new thinking to the planning, financing and building of economic infrastructure."

Infrastructure investment will be driven by the Government’s $20 billion Building Australia Fund, which was established in this year’s federal Budget.

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