"New" Funds Needed for Infrastructure Projects
Australia's peak motoring organisation, the Australian Automobile Association, has called on the Federal Government to release additional funding for new infrastructure projects in the upcoming Budget – over and above previous commitments.
AAA Director of Research and Policy, John Metcalfe, said the Government's weekend announcement of additional infrastructure funding seemed to be largely projects and funding that have already been announced.
Mr Metcalfe said the upcoming Federal Budget provided a real opportunity to create jobs and to build safety into Australian road infrastructure.
"This is a chance to create long-term economic benefit for Australia – apart from delivering new infrastructure there are also employment benefits, travel time savings, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and lower business costs," he said.
"We believe there are real benefits for governments, the community and all road users by building better infrastructure."
AAA's call comes following announcements by Federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, over the weekend of a $32 billion investment in road and rail projects as part of the Nation Building Program.
While welcoming the Government announcement, Mr Metcalfe said the projects identified in the program have largely been announced and there was a need to invest further in road and rail, with the upcoming Budget identifying and funding new projects through Infrastructure Australia.
"While we welcome the projects announced by the Government over the weekend, the AAA motoring clubs believe there is further scope to fund projects and provide an economic fillip through Infrastructure Australia," Mr Metcalfe said.
"Numerous studies, including one conducted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), show that a 1 per cent increase in infrastructure spending can increase national economic output by between 0.17 and 0.39 per cent, which generates a higher return than other areas of economic investment."
Mr Metcalfe noted AAA's Budget submission calling for greater investment in roads and also funding for important road safety and assessment programs such as the Australian Road Assessment Program and the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.
"We should never forget that more than four people die on Australian roads every day on average – that is a national tragedy that can be avoided and this Budget can certainly assist in that regard," he said.