Source: From Canva.
  • Federal budget committed to increased infrastructure spending
  • Important to keep government accountable to ensure they use tax revenue efficiently
  • Parliamentary inquiry will examine infrastructure procurement processes

A key part of the Federal Government’s recent budget was its commitment to increased infrastructure spending to support employment and economic growth.

This was welcome news for advocacy groups like the Property Council, which consistently criticised the government for its slow rollout of infrastructure projects.

The Federal Government has committed $110 billion to a 10-year infrastructure pipeline as part of Australia’s Economic Recovery Plan. This includes an additional $15.2 billion in new project funding through the 2021–22 Budget, supporting an estimated 30,000 jobs across every State and Territory.

The government has also dished out an additional $1 billion to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, bringing the total commitment to $2.5 billion. They have also committed $1 billion to the now $3 billion Road Safety Program as part of the ongoing commitment to improving road safety for all Australians and reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

With all of this increased spending on infrastructure, this necessarily requires the coordination of governments at all levels to enable efficient and effective infrastructure procurement processes.

Also, with increased spending more generally, concerns will inevitably arise about whether the government is using our tax dollars efficiently. It is a fact that the government has no money of its own to spend. They must raise revenue via taxation, which diverts resources away from the private sector to the public sector. Therefore it is critical that government can effectively utilise tax revenue to create jobs and growth post-COVID that were foregone in the private sector.

As a result, a new parliamentary inquiry will examine procurement practices for government-funded infrastructure, including the frameworks, standards, rules and norms, and intersections between tiers of government and the private sector.

Committee Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, Mr John Alexander OAM MP, said “this is an important and timely inquiry as Australia focuses on its economic recovery.”

“Given the size of this investment, it is important that procurement practices for these government-funded infrastructure projects provide the best value for tax-payer dollars and support developing Australian industry capabilities and Australian jobs,” Mr Alexander continued.

“The committee will examine challenges and opportunities to enhance Australia’s sovereign industry capability, including for Australian-owned businesses.

“We are keen to hear about: what is working well here and internationally; opportunities to improve procurement practices; and how governments at all levels can better cooperate on infrastructure procurement.”

John Alexander, Committee Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities

The committee invites submissions from stakeholders and interested parties. The full terms of reference are available on the committee’s website.

Submissions are being sought by Friday, 16 July 2021. Submissions can be made online or by email.

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