National Infrastructure Plan

9 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.

These seven reforms and associated actions are summarised on page 93 of The National Infrastructure Plan. The website Lexology, aimed at business lawyers, has a useful overview of the report.

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