A new report from Infrastructure Australia finds that, while there has been clear improvement across the national infrastructure sector since the release of the Australian Infrastructure Plan in 2016, there is still much to do.
Prioritising Reform, released this week, is a progress report on the key recommendations made in the independent infrastructure advisory body’s Australian Infrastructure Plan, released in February 2016.
In the report, Infrastructure Australia has called on Australia’s governments to renew their commitment to infrastructure reform.
“The reform agenda we put forward in the Australian Infrastructure Plan is ambitious and politically challenging, but these proposed changes to the way we plan, deliver and use our infrastructure will deliver enduring benefits for all Australians,” said Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Philip Davies.
The Australian Infrastructure Plan made 78 recommendations to address current infrastructure gaps and meet the future needs of Australia’s growing population, providing a reform and investment roadmap for Australia’s governments to ensure the infrastructure meets these needs.
“Over the past two years, it has been pleasing to see progress in heavy vehicle road charging, business case development, integration of land-use and transport planning and corridor protection. However, our progress report, Prioritising Reform, finds there are also clear instances where more action is needed.”
The Plan recommended that the Australian Government initiate an inquiry into the potential benefits and impacts of road market reform, with a view to transitioning to a fairer and more efficient user-pays approach.
A statement from Infrastructure Australia said the Australian Government signalled its support for this proposal in November 2016 when it delivered its official response to the Plan, however no inquiry has been forthcoming.
“Road market reform has the potential to deliver significant improvements in network performance and address fairness issues, while also establishing a secure and sustainable source of funding for our roads,” Mr. Davies said.
“Given the significance of this change and the scale of community consultation and consensus-building involved, it’s vital that governments move forward on this important opportunity for reform.
“Our hope in releasing this progress report, Prioritising Reform, is to encourage Australia’s governments to embrace this national reform agenda to secure the social and economic benefits of great infrastructure for many generations to come.”
Infrastructure Australia will deliver the next Australian Infrastructure Audit in 2019 and the next Australian Infrastructure Plan in 2021.