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Coalition Government infrastructure strategy supported by Infrastructure Australia

Monday, 04 July 2011

The Infrastructure Australia (IA) report to COAG identifies rigorous project planning and cost benefit analysis as a top priority for governments to achieve maximum return on infrastructure investment.

Treasurer Kim Wells said the Coalition Government was delivering on election commitments for new major infrastructure, fixing the botched projects left behind by Labor, and beginning a new pipeline of infrastructure to lift productivity.

"The number one priority of the Victorian Coalition Government is to deliver the government's election commitments for major infrastructure including new rail links, major roads, ports, hospitals and schools," Mr Wells said.

"Secondly, the Coalition Government is fixing the major problems inherited in infrastructure projects such as the Regional Rail Link project that was not properly planned or costed before Labor announced that it would proceed," Mr Wells said.

The IA report highlights the Regional Rail Link (RRL) project as an example of previously approved projects that have since encountered difficulty.

"The Coalition Government is focused on ensuring that future infrastructure investments are properly planned and subject to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, we have already established the new 'High-Risk High-Value' unit in the Department of Treasury and Finance and we are progressively reassessing the projects previously announced," Mr Wells said.

"In stark contrast to the financial mismanagement of the Brumby Labor Government, the Coalition will make sure that planning and project cost estimates have been properly prepared before new projects are submitted to IA," Mr Wells said.

"While the Coalition is doing the hard work to fix the mismanaged and under-financed projects left on the drawing board by the Brumby Labor Government, the Coalition is beginning a new phase of infrastructure planning," Mr Wells said.

The IA report notes that the financial outlook for infrastructure investment is challenging and new emphasis is needed to establish suitable funding models.

This year alone, Victoria has been subject to an unprecedented $2.5 billion GST cut, deferral of $550 million in infrastructure funding, and passed over in the Federal Budget for infrastructure funding handed to other states by the Gillard Government.

"With estimated cost blow-outs of $2 billion for projects left on the drawing board by the Brumby Government and the record withdrawal of funding from Canberra, Victoria has been left with a difficult challenge to deliver major infrastructure projects.

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