Prime Mover Magazine

Report calls for infrastructure reform

Consult Australia (CA), formerly the Association of Consulting Engineers, has launched a report calling on state governments to review their demographic policies. ‘Transporting Australia’s Future’ suggests trialling road pricing in Melbourne, for instance.

“Australia’s increasing infrastructure backlog sends a clear message that current policy will not fund the transport infrastructure we need now for a growing population and competitive economy,” CA resumes. “Australia’s population is predicted to increase by approximately 50 percent to 37 million by 2040, only one generation away. Without increased investment, the increased population will result in ever increasing congestion and environmental degradation.”

CA suggests the establishment of an independent standing commission reasoning transport funding and road user charges to attend the 2011 tax summit, referring to a lasting lack of prioritisation and investment in infrastructure. “In the last 9 years, forecast transport investment needs have increased over 300 percent. However, Government expenditure on transport remains about 4 percent of budget. The gap between forecast transport investment needs and governments’ ability to fund them, indicates an urgent need to contribute more, if we want to maintain an adequate level of service.”

An infrastructure funding regime based on fuel taxes would jeopardise a sustainable future, Consult Australia states. “Reliance on traditional fuel excise as the key revenue tool is of limited longevity with diminishing reserves and increased fuel efficiency curtailing revenues.”

Therefore CA does not only demand “better use of existing assets”, but also a taxation reform to generate new revenue resources. Reportedly, it also suggests trialling cordon pricing in Brisbane to support the Cross River Rail, reform of parking policy in Melbourne, trialling managed motorways in Adelaide and tax increment financing in New South Wales.

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