$25bn infrastructure backlog

11 May, 2005 08:45 PM
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Australia's ailing infrastructure needed a $25 billion upgrade, and the Federal and State governments had to accept responsibility for its repair.

This was the finding of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) report, Infrastructure: Getting on with the job, which said an infrastructure investment backlog of $25b needed immediate attention in areas such as water, energy and land transport.

This included railways, electric power, sea and air ports, and other structures that enabled the activities of communities and businesses.

The release of the report coincided with claims by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) that 68pc of Australia's grain export crop was at risk if urgent investment was not made in regional rail lines.

Over 27,000 grain growers relied on rail to move crops to market.

The CEDA report said there were adequate funds available to fix the $25bn backlog, but the missing element was logistical commitment from governments.

"We have a huge backlog of infrastructure projects needing to be built and maintained," CEDA chief executive officer David Edwards said.

"At the same time, we have private investors ready to take a risk on infrastructure, and governments with the capacity to fund infrastructure through debt.

"What our governments need to do is find ways to bring the money and the projects together."

Mr Edwards said Federal and State Governments would do well to set clear targets and responsibilities for improving infrastructure, which would make them accountable for getting results.

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