Peak industry bodies from across the infrastructure sector have congratulated the Federal Coalition Government on its election victory, before laying down the priorities and issues to be addressed over the next three years.
Adrian Dwyer, Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), said, “We congratulate the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his team on their victory, and commend Bill Shorten and his Labor team for running a hard-fought election campaign.”
Mr Dwyer said the Federal Government’s 2019-20 Budget showed that it takes infrastructure seriously, but now that rhetoric must convert into action.
“In this new term of parliament there a number of major issues that will need to be front and center on the Prime Minister’s infrastructure agenda,” he said.
“The Coalition will now have to turn its attention to tackling the long-term reform challenges, including settling energy policy to end the investment strike, addressing the looming road funding crisis, and driving big ticket infrastructure reforms to boost productivity.
“How Scott Morrison and his team confront these issues and the lessons they draw from the election will define the success of this term of Government.”
Mr Dwyer praised the initial step of reversing the recent decline in funding for critical projects, lifting total infrastructure funding to $29.5 billion over the forward estimates.
“Much more however will need to be done to ensure that Australia retains its hard-won reputation as a leader and global standard bearer for sound infrastructure policy,” he said.
“The national infrastructure sector looks forward to working with the Coalition Government to overcome the reform challenges ahead and supporting a reinvigorated infrastructure agenda.
National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy requires action
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said that now the election is over, urgent action is required to ensure the long-term efficiency of the nation’s freight network.
During the election campaign, ALC released Freight: Delivering Opportunity For Australia which set out 39 priority actions for the incoming Federal Government that address challenges and opportunities relevant to all modes of freight transport.
ALC CEO, Kirk Coningham, said that ALC looks forward to working with the re-elected Federal Government and all members of the 46th Parliament to deal with the issues identified as industry priorities.
Mr Coningham said the immediate priority was to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, to achieve greater efficiency and safety in Australia’s supply chains.
“Given that both major parties spoke about the virtues of taking a long-term approach to infrastructure planning and investment during the campaign, ALC would hope this bipartisan view can become a policy reality in the course of this next term of government,” Mr Coningham said.
“We also look forward to working with the government on the establishment of the National Freight Data Hub, as funded in last month’s Federal Budget, so that our industry can start to take advantage of the productivity, investment and safety benefits that will flow from having access to better quality data about freight movement.”
Roads Australia sets out eight transport priorities
President of Roads Australia, David Stuart-Watt, said the organisation’s members will now be looking for stability and surety so they can continue delivering Australia’s vital transport infrastructure.
Roads Australia has identified eight priorities for the incoming government:
- Support accelerated spending by the states on mass transit solutions
- Progress the essential micro-economic road reform process
- Establish a collaborative Transport and Land Use strategic development network across the three tiers of government
- Accelerate initiatives to support capacity in the construction industry, and to develop a joint business case for increased skilled migration in the transport infrastructure sector
- Progress the implementation of the recommendations from last year’s Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy, and implement a national road worker safety awareness campaign
- Support the Office of Future Transport Technologies over the full forward estimates period to allow the Commonwealth to provide leadership, ensuring the uptake of automated vehicles is managed in a uniform manner across the country
- Investigate the feasibility of utilising the Dynamic Map Platform application in Australia
- Establish international collaborative relationships on hydrogen and synthetic fuel technologies
“We see these priorities as crucial in preparing Australia for the next wave of population growth and the coming tide of new transport technologies and mobility options,” Mr Stuart-Watt said.
“With its ten-year, $100 billion transport infrastructure commitment, the Government clearly has a strong infrastructure agenda.
“But if we’re to get maximum bang for our buck, we will need the buy-in of State, Territory and Local Government, as well as industry and the broader community.
“The country will be looking for strong national leadership. RA is ready, willing and able to work with the Government to bring all the parties together.”
Infrastructure investment an opportunity for decarbonisation
Interim CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Jonathan Cartlege, said the Federal Government campaigned strongly on a platform of infrastructure, cities and housing and the GBCA looked forward to continuing to work with them in the implementation of these policies.
“Our buildings and cities present an enormous opportunity to support a more ambitious decarbonisation agenda nationally that delivers productivity and efficiency dividends across the economy,” Mr Cartledge said.
“With a promised $100 billion infrastructure pipeline, now is the time to focus on how this can be realised in a way that helps build resilience and a low emissions future for not only the years, but the decades ahead.
“The Government’s continued commitment to expanding City Deals is welcome as it strengthens collaboration across governments and invests in the liveability and productivity of our communities.”
Mr Cartledge pointed at the GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap as a framework to further leverage these investments collaboratively with industry to help Australia meet our international obligations and ease the transition to a low carbon future.
“We urge a renewed impetus from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council in the implementation of the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings to strengthen the carbon and energy-efficiency requirements in the Code,” Mr Cartledge said.
“The Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme will bring in new support for first home buyers, while the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation builds on its early work with the community housing sector to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
“Ensuring this new housing is built to be sustainable is critically important to achieving the trifecta of health, environmental and economic benefits that green building offers.”
Continuity to yield stability: AAA
The Australian Airports Association (AAA) said Mr McCormack’s continuation as the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development would provide stability for the industry.
AAA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said, “The AAA looks forward to continuing to work with Mr McCormack as Australian airports invest to support tourism and trade with destinations around the world.”
Ms Wilkie said the AAA was particularly pleased Mr McCormack would oversee the implementation of the $100 million regional airport fund announced earlier this year.
The fund was confirmed as part of the 2019-20 Federal budget, with the first round of funding to be available from July.
“The announcement of a regional airport fund in April was a gamechanger for our regions and we look forward to the first grants being awarded in the coming months,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The fund will allow regional airports to complete essential maintenance and upgrades to keep their operations compliant and safe – and in some cases save regional airports from closure.
“The AAA looks forward to confirming the selection process soon to ensure communities can realise the benefits of this vital funding as soon as possible.”