Driv­ing the changes

Gov’t looks to su­per for in­trastruc­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

THE Fed­eral In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter says the gov­ern­ment is look­ing at ways to en­cour­age su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture projects.

That is be­cause the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment won’t be able to fund Aus­tralia’s in­fra­struc­ture needs with­out help from the pri­vate sec­tor, An­thony Al­banese says.

He also said car­bon pric­ing will drive pro­duc­tiv­ity growth by en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment in re­new­able and smart tech­nol­ogy, which will play a ma­jor role in im­prov­ing ve­hi­cle move­ments and r el i ev­ing bottl enecks on roads and rail around the coun­try.

The min­is­ter said tap­ping into Aus­tralia’s su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds was one an­swer to the fund­ing chal­lenge.

‘‘ One of the things we are look­ing at is how you en­cour­age s up­er­an­nu­a­tion i nto fixed in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments,’’ he said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ Part of it is about mak­ing sure there is a deeper pipe­line of projects avail­able.

‘‘ We are also en­gag­ing with them about var­i­ous fi­nanc­ing op­tions that could pro­mote some in­cen­tive for them to do so.’’

The min­is­ter said that in the wake of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, there was in­ter­est among su­per an­nu­a­tion funds to diver­sify away from eq­ui­ties.

‘‘In­fra­struc­ture in­vest - ments are at­trac­tive be­cause they pro­vide a cer­tain re­turn over a longer term, rather than the eq­ui­ties mar­ket, which is far less cer­tain as we’ve found in re­cent times,’’ he said.

‘‘ It is an at­trac­tive form of in­vest­ment and I think there is a nat­u­ral fit be­tween su­per­an­nu­a­tion, which is about long term, se­cure re­turns . . . and in­fra­struc­ture, which is long term as well.’’

Mr Al­banese said pric­ing car­bon would en­cour­age de- vel­op­ment of greener in­fra­struc­ture by im­prov­ing ‘‘ the price of rel­a­tively low emit­ting in­fra­struc­ture ( com­pared) with higher emit­ting in­fra­struc­ture’’.

Car­bon pric­ing would ‘‘ im­prove i nce ntivestous e smart in­fra­struc­ture, which in the long term will re­duce the eco­nomic cost of that in­fra­struc­ture.

‘‘ In the medium term, let alone the long term, there are con­sid­er­able sav­ings for gov­ern­ment,’’ Mr Al­banese said.

‘‘ You can avoid the need for adding lanes if you ac­tu­ally use the in­fra­struc­ture more ef­fi­ciently, and it is a lot eas­ier to do it up front than retro­fit it.’’

Smart in­fra­struc­ture uses tech­nol­ogy to man­age traf­fic move­ments and cut con­ges­tion, im­prove net­work ca­pac­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

It is be­ing tri­alled with the Aus­tralian Rail Track Cor­po­ra­tion, where it is ex­pected to al­low more in­tense timetabling, im­prove transit times and safety.

The Min­is­ter said smart tech­nol­ogy would be­come a re­quire­ment on gov­ern­ment backed in­fra­struc­ture.

WAY OF FU­TURE: An­thony Al­banese ad­dresses an in­fra­struc­ture and in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day

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