Infrastructure reform could save taxpayers $4billion a year

Fixing infrastructure governance in Australia could save taxpayers $4 billion a year.

Speaking at the Infrastructure Business and Policy Dialogue 2014 in Sydney last week, SMART Infrastructure Facility chief executive Garry Bowditch said Australia could be the best in the world in delivering better value-for-money infrastructure if governments chose to make that a top priority.

Mr Bowditch said the nation had the potential to save between $4 billion and $5 billion per year through better long-term planning and more sound governance of infrastructure.

"What is encouraging about the Australian infrastructure performance is that the nation has the appetite to fix a range of legacy issues that has driven higher costs over the past decade," he said.

SMART Infrastructure Facility chief executive Garry Bowditch says urgent reform is required. Picture: GREG ELLIS

SMART Infrastructure Facility chief executive Garry Bowditch says urgent reform is required. Picture: GREG ELLIS

"Australian governments more recently have sought to develop integrated plans for their future infrastructure needs and to establish agencies to improve project selection methodology and achieve more overall rigour in the system.

"But there is much more to do. Urgent reform is required and every jurisdiction must maintain their focus on getting these basics right."

The SMART Infrastructure Facility has undertaken an analysis of the potential savings from comprehensive infrastructure reform and the way major projects are procured and managed by government.

Mr Bowditch said the analysis suggested Australia had a strong global record for competent infrastructure management.

But he said complacency to reform in areas of value for money would hold back the attractiveness of Australia as an infrastructure investment destination in the future.

"Australia must better balance its competing obligations to deliver infrastructure in a timely way with its responsibility to ensure value for money for Australian taxpayers," he said.

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