Opposition commitment to federal infrastructure leadership welcomed

17 August 2010

The Liberal/National parties commitment to national leadership on infrastructure planning has been welcomed by the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that national leadership was crucial.


State governments can no longer afford to fund all of their cities infrastructure needs, Mr Gadiel said.


The states need ongoing, sustained, federal assistance.


Its goods to see federal leadership on urban infrastructure will not end if the government changes this weekend.


The Federal Opposition today promised a rigorous nationwide planning regime in conjunction with state and territory governments and Infrastructure Australia … [t]he basis of this system will be sustainable population projections developed by the newly established Productivity and Sustainability Commission ….


Strong federal financial backing for credible urban plans will solve one of the biggest challenges of our cities, Mr Gadiel said.


Its crucial that public investment infrastructure be guided by a coherent long-term vision.


That vision should cut across party politics and the federal-state divide.


However, Mr Gadiel said that it was important that any federally-backed plans do not repeat the mistakes of previous state plans.


Weve seen a series of strategic plans that unnecessarily restrict the ability of property developers to build housing, workplaces and shops desperately needed by local communities.


Strategic plans of this kind carry huge social and economic costs.


The sweeping prohibitions in some state plans are one of the reasons that Australia is currently so short of housing.


The key will be ensuring that any federally-backed plans make iron-clad commitments about publicly funded infrastructure, but still give the private sector the flexibility to respond to changing market needs.


Plans should be adaptable – so they accommodate a wide range of potential changes in population and economic activity.


Plans must also ensure that the supply of land available for development – in greenfield and infill areas – always exceeds market demand.


This will help ensure that government regulation doesnt artificially force up land values and depress development activity.


Mr Gadiel welcomed the Oppositions $750 million commitment towards the construction of Queenslands Moreton Bay Rail Link from Redcliffe Peninsula to Petrie.


Its disappointing that the Opposition was not able to make a similar commitment for Sydney.


For example, a Federal Liberal/National government could offer financial support to the proposed North West rail link.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.



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