The Federal Election campaign is now into its third week, with infrastructure promises coming from all sides.
Infrastructure is a taking centre stage, with both sides making the usual commentary, remarks and infrastructure promises. The topics range from upgrades, to major projects, jobs and future planning.
While both parties claim to have plans to "transition" the economy and count infrastructure as fundamental to these plans, the question is, who will put the money where their mouth is?
Infrastructure promises are a cornerstone of election campaigns. There's always plenty of cash bandied about, and promises to "secure funding", but we never really know what's hot air and what has a real chance of going ahead.
[cwa id='content-ad'] Tackling the liveability of Australian cities is currently featuring high during the Federal Election campaign, with the first budget from the Turnbull Government providing huge commitments to public transport infrastructure in an effort to position the government in contrast to its predecessor.
As the Federal Government shows renewed interest in urban transport projects, it couldn’t have come at a better time for state governments, who are facing both housing affordability pressures and strained transport networks. The Budget included significant investments in Melbourne and Sydney Metros, along with $95 million for Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail.
Bill Shorten has responded with his commitment to support funding to rail projects, including MetroNet in Perth, Cross River Rail in Brisbane, the Gawler Line Electrification in South Australia, the AdeLink tram expansion in Adelaide, the Melbourne Metro and Western Sydney Airport. Conservative valuations have these projects worth $40 billion and it’s likely they’ll need further investment from the private sector or State Governments.
The Turnbull government has so far been focusing on helping the private sector with funding for projects. Malcolm Turnbull also pledged $150 million for Queensland dams in a bid to drought-proof the state and provide a boost to investment in agriculture. Many of the Queensland Labor government's own infrastructure promises are likely to go unfulfilled following the recent federal budget.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Brendan Lyon has said that Australia can’t have a growth or productivity agenda without a big infrastructure agenda to fix congestion and bring down freight costs. He also sad that both sides have so far been “…pretty modest in their commitments to fund projects and pretty modest in terms of big plans to fix infrastructure funding, productivity and policy.”