Audit sends clear message – despite record spend, we need to invest more on infrastructure

Aug 13, 2019 – The latest Australian Infrastructure Audit underlines the need for governments to put the pedal to the metal on transport infrastructure planning and spending.

“Despite a record investment over the last decade, our transport infrastructure – particularly in our fastest growing cities – continues to struggle under the weight of demand,” Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt, said today.

Earlier this year RA published a report calling on Australia to follow the lead of its north Asian neighbours and invest more heavily in mass transit.

“As our major Australian cities become increasingly densified, we need to shift our transport focus away from private vehicle usage to mass transit,” Mr Stuart-Watt said.

The latest IA Audit underlines this message – urgent and exponential spending on public transport is required if we’re to have any hope of keeping pace with expected population growth over the coming decades.”

Mr Stuart-Watt said alongside increased spending on mass transit systems, the introduction of highly automated vehicles across both the heavy and light fleet would improve safety and congestion on the existing road network.

“Automated and zero emission vehicle technologies are evolving quickly and we need to be open to their introduction by ensuring the necessary policy and regulatory frameworks are in place to support them.”

Mr Stuart-Watt also welcomed IA’s focus on addressing the maintenance backlog and workforce skills and capacity.

“Our road maintenance backlog continues to grow. The longer maintenance stays in the ‘too hard’ basket, the greater the cost in the long-run,” he said.

“On the skills front, we’d like to see the Australian Government work more closely with the infrastructure industry to ensure industry-critical skill sets are included under the new Temporary Skills Shortage visa system.”

Mr Stuart-Watt said the task of addressing Australia’s infrastructure needs would be best met by all governments working off the same page.

“It’s important that all states and territories adopt a harmonised approach to business case development and assessment, in line with that used by IA. This will make it easier for governments to engage with industry across the board.”

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