Opposition push for rigour on federal infrastructure welcome

14 April 2011

The Urban Taskforce has today welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbotts commitment to a long-term approach for the delivery of Australias infrastructure needs.


The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said he particularly welcomed the commitment for all Commonwealth-funded infrastructure projects worth $100 million or more to undergo a cost-benefit analysis by Infrastructure Australia.


Our cities are in need of strong urban investment, including new roads and public transport to support growth, Mr Gadiel said.


The current system, where major projects can be funded without an independent cost-benefit analysis makes it easier for meritorious projects to be sidelined in favour of more politically attractive proposals.


In particular, federal investment in outer suburban road networks is minimal.


Spending on roads to service future growth may not win votes now, but investment of this kind is critical to the future of our cities.


Motorways are often politically controversial, and are currently less likely to attract public funding than public transport projects.


Yet no city can function on public transport alone.


An efficient roads network will continue to be crucial, and will require ongoing federal, state and local government investment.


Mr Gadiel said that Infrastructure Australia had an important role to play.


Infrastructure Australia has helped focus Commonwealth efforts and funding activities, but there is much more work to be done, he said.


Mr Abbott is right to back Infrastructure Australia and seek to strengthen its independence.


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


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