National Infrastructure Plan9 December 2013
Infrastructure Australia has released the National Infrastructure Plan, a report to the Council of Australian Governments.
The National Infrastructure Plan outlines seven reforms with 27 associated actions. There is a strong emphasis on freight and port infrastructure and a proposed new Indigenous Communities Essential Infrastructure Investment Fund. The seven reforms follow:
- Establish a single national infrastructure fund.
Actions include: focusing public investment on public transport, with road expansions being paid for by users, not taxpayers; long-term planning for freight infrastructure and coordinated strategic planning, investment and delivery of regional infrastructure.
- Use government budgets innovatively.
Actions include: better use of urban networks; incentives to build higher residential densities and dense commercial centres in cities; creating a remote Indigenous Communities Essential Infrastructure Investment Fund.
- Recycle capital for new infrastructure.
Actions include: transferring the following to the private sector – suitable port and rail assets, water assets, energy assets and ownership of regional assets such as airports.
- User pays – user says.
Actions include: charging reforms for urban transport; creating a complete national freight network; a national policy framework to shift a greater commercial focus onto roads; full cost recovery pricing for the provision of water; reconsidering reliability standards in the provision of energy to match the level of service customers are willing to pay for.
- Improvements to project governance and procurement to reduce the cost of developing new infrastructure.
- Reduce layers of government.
Actions include: consolidating local government in cities; consolidating regional local governments; establishing a national economic regulator for water; improving national governance and planning of energy markets; applying a global approach to lowering carbon emissions to achieve the most cost-efficient reductions.
- Be world leaders in project governance.
Actions include: long-term planning for major ports; a national road portfolio manager; considering alternative water sources; endorsing the Remote Indigenous Infrastructure Policy Framework.
- Smarter leaner infrastructure procurement.
Actions include: better use of water resources and investment in food sector and trial innovative financing approaches for Indigenous infrastructure.