Infrastructure industry says infrastructure projects won’t be delayed despite uncertainty over federal funding
Posted On July 28, 2021
AUSTRALIA’S major infrastructure industry has warned it will not delay major infrastructure projects in the face of uncertainty over a lack of federal funding.
Key points:The industry is calling on the federal government to make the $50bn in infrastructure spending a priorityThe Federal Government says it is considering delaying major infrastructure contractsAUSTRALIANS AREN’T HAPPY with the state of the nation’s infrastructure, but say they need the money.
It’s a sentiment shared by a number of Australian Infrastructure groups, who have urged the Federal Government to make infrastructure projects a priority.
Key point:The Infrastructure Industry Council of Australia (IICCA) says a lack in infrastructure funding is hurting businessesThe Federal Infrastructure Agency (FIA) says it needs to ensure the money is allocated quickly and that there is a “fair, predictable and transparent process”.
“It is absolutely critical that the Federal government takes this investment forward,” the IICCA’s chief executive, David Daley, told the ABC.
“We need the infrastructure now and we need it now because the economy is on the upswing and we’re seeing more people moving to our country, and our infrastructure is providing our prosperity and it’s going to continue to do so.”
He said the industry would continue to “do everything we can” to get the infrastructure infrastructure it needs.
The IICCA says the industry needs $250 billion over the next 10 years to ensure its projects are completed, but is asking the Federal Infrastructure Minister, Simon Birmingham, to “work with the industry and find a solution that works for all”.
The Infrastructure Australia Network (IAEN), the group that represents the sector, is calling for “fairer, more transparent and more effective” funding arrangements.
“The Federal government needs to make sure it gets the money, but it needs the infrastructure urgently,” said the group’s chief economist, James Karr.
“Our companies are struggling to find jobs in our current economic climate.
We need the jobs to keep our businesses going.”
Mr Karr said the Federal Parliament’s failure to provide a clear funding model to the sector had left many businesses and individuals without certainty on the amount of funding they would receive.
“Some of the projects that are in the pipeline are very big projects, but we’ve been left without certainty as to whether they will actually be delivered,” he said.
“That’s the nature of the business model.”‘
A very difficult time’Despite the lack of certainty, Mr Karr also said the IACA would continue its call for an infrastructure package that included “further certainty on funding and infrastructure” to ensure that “a very difficult period for businesses and consumers” for the industry “does not become a reality”.
“This is a very difficult moment for the business community,” he added.
“I think it’s fair to say that a number [of] organisations that have invested in infrastructure have been hit with the loss of jobs.”
They’ve lost the opportunity to recruit people and they’ve lost money.”‘
The industry’s priorities’The Federal Opposition, which has promised to legislate to fund infrastructure, is also critical of the Federal Opposition’s failure “to make the funding of infrastructure a priority”.”
We have a very complicated infrastructure situation here in Australia, and we are going to need the Government to get its act together,” said Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.”
This funding issue needs to be looked at by the Federal Labor Government.
“But there’s a number companies, particularly in the business sector, who’ve been hit the hardest by this uncertainty.”‘
We need jobs’The Victorian Government has also called on the Federal Coalition to address the funding issue, saying the Federal Industry Minister needed to “make sure we have a fair and predictable process” for prioritising infrastructure projects.
“It’s the industry’s priority, and the Government needs to act,” the Victorian Government said in a statement.
“With the Federal election looming, it’s time to get back to basics, and to make clear to our businesses and workers that their investments are going nowhere.”‘
I think they’ve got a problem with the job’Mr Daley said the lack in funding was “a major blow” to the infrastructure sector, adding that the “business community is still struggling” with the uncertainty surrounding the Federal budget.
“All of us need to recognise that this is a difficult time for the economy.
It’s a very challenging time for businesses,” he told the BBC.”
People are still not sure about what the Government will do.
They’re still not clear about what their jobs are going forward.””
I don’t think the Government should be putting its priorities at risk.”‘
It’s about the jobs’While the IECA’s Mr Karp said he was hopeful that the $250bn “will be paid back” in some form by the end of the decade, he warned that “jobs will continue to be lost” to other industries, including