The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the release of the Coalition’s policy to strengthen the role of Infrastructure Australia. ALC is the peak representative body for the freight logistics industry.
ALC believes it is time for Infrastructure Australia to enter a new phase and take on a much stronger role in terms of assessing government spending. According to Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director, Infrastructure Australia should be the ‘productivity commission’ of infrastructure and play a greater role in the identification and prioritisation of major infrastructure projects.
One of the key priorities identified by ALC in its 2013 Election Priorities document ‘Time to Deliver’ is to enhance the role of Infrastructure Australia. ALC therefore welcomes the Coalition’s commitment to boost Infrastructure Australia, including its proposal to establish a dedicated unit within IA to evaluate finance options for nationally significant infrastructure projects and to investigate new funding models.
ALC has sought that Infrastructure Australia be provided greater capacity to facilitate enhanced private sector investment in freight logistics infrastructure, and sees the proposed establishment of the Funding and Finance Advisory Unit as a positive step forward.
Mr Kilgariff observes that the fiscally challenging position Australia currently finds itself in underscores the importance of facilitating the uptake of more private sector investment in essential freight logistics infrastructure. While congratulating the Labor Government on taking some important steps in this area, including changes to taxation treatment for projects on the Infrastructure Priority List, ALC believes the PPP process must continue to be streamlined to meet the infrastructure shortfall.
He explains that harnessing greater investment from the private sector, particularly from the $1.6 trillion superannuation fund, is critical to funding new logistics infrastructure, which will help boost national productivity.
Mr Kilgariff challenged both major parties to subject all major projects to a rigorous cost benefit analysis before receiving public funding to test whether they are in Australia’s long term economic interest.
ALC would also like to see greater involvement of industry and industry groups in the project identification process, including being able to submit business cases to Infrastructure Australia for funding consideration.