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Commentary: Australia’s Federal Budget 2016

A train running through a city at night

A call for infratech, innovative funding and additional investment . . .

05 May 2016 - “Australia is at a cross road, with enormous demand across the nation to improve the connectivity of people, places and freight to stimulate growth and job creation,” says William Cox on behalf of Aurecon, one of Australia’s largest infrastructure and engineering consulting firms.

Cox, who is Managing Director for Aurecon in Australia and New Zealand and was recognised as one of Engineers Australia’s Top 100 most influential engineers says that “Aurecon welcomes the Federal Government’s $5b investment in transport infrastructure in this year’s Budget. This funding will ensure that metro rail projects that are essential to the liveability of our cities in Sydney and Melbourne will now be able to be progressed.”

Infratech key to futureproofing our investment

Cox believes that an emphasis on the digitisation of infrastructure and intelligent transport systems is essential to ensuring value for money and future proofing of our infrastructure.

He adds that “The focus on increasing Small Medium Enterprise (SME) participation in the economy will play a role in supporting start-up infratech businesses. We are already seeing this in Silicon Valley and in Australia we are keen to see the same focus on infratech as we are currently seeing on fintech.”

A call for innovative funding

He goes on to say: “There also needs to be more innovation in how we fund infrastructure. This should include a bi-partisan approach to infrastructure planning and investment which spans all levels of government, with the input and support of the private sector. 

Infrastructure key to aiding Queensland and Western Australia’s recovery

“In addition to the key projects tagged for investment in this year’s Budget, we see significant opportunity for investment in Queensland and Western Australia – economies which are still hurting from the mining crash.”

He went on to say that more serious investment in the following was needed:

  • Improving commuter rail services in Brisbane, where the network is at capacity and a cross river rail link is needed
  • Constructing an inland freight line between Brisbane and Melbourne
  • Completing a freight link to Fremantle Port, which will lessen the constraints on the freight network and improve the potential future saleability of the facility

“We also support putting some seed money into the Northern Territory’s road and freight infrastructure to facilitate the planned growth of agribusiness in Northern Australia,” he said.

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