December 19, 2012
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is calling for the establishment of a new national organisation to tackle the shortfall in infrastructure investment and boost the regions’ capacity to contribute to national economic growth. The independent regional policy and research think tank’s new report recommends the establishment of Local Infrastructure Australia as the most effective way of overcoming the backlog in local government infrastructure investment now estimated at between $12 and $15.5 billion. RAI chair Mal Peters said it was widely recognised that the potential and growth of regional Australia was being severely constrained by inadequate investment in local infrastructure. “We have been debating this issue for many years but the deficit continues to grow,” he said. “Our research shows a new national organisation with a sole focus on local infrastructure is the most efficient, cost-effective and effective approach to catalysing the long term investment we need to fix the deficit. “International experience shows that this approach can work” Mr Peters said. He said Local Infrastructure Australia would solve three underlying problems that contribute to the growing infrastructure deficit by providing: local government with access to significant private sector capital in an efficient and cost effective way local government with much needed advice on effective infrastructure planning, investment and management, and policy makers with vital information on the infrastructure backlog and advice on the relative benefits of local infrastructure alongside other national and state infrastructure priorities. The Regional Australia Institute is an independent policy think tank and research organisation for regional Australia, established with the support of the Australian government.