New research by the Property Council of Australia demonstrates that Western Australia’s poor infrastructure provisioning system is holding back state growth and future prosperity.
The report, entitled Mind the Gap: The Costs of WA’s Infrastructure Provisioning Framework, shows how public investment in infrastructure in WA averaged 1.5% of GSP, which is below the international infrastructure investment norm of 3.8%, leading to an investment shortfall of $59.2 billion.
Shortcomings are blamed on the WA Infrastructure Coordinating Committee, which the PCA claims lacks status and accountability.
“This research demonstrates that WA needs an independent infrastructure body that takes responsibility for its planning, prioritisation and delivery,” says Joe Lenzo, Property Council executive director.
“Poor infrastructure provisioning adds unnecessary risk to projects, making it difficult to secure debt financing and attract capital… Business-as-usual is not an option if we want to provide the infrastructure necessary to support WA’s growth.”
The Council says considerable under-investment in WA infrastructure over the past 40 years has negatively impacted on the property and the general community, while the report reveals that if WA is to meet global benchmarks for infrastructure stock relative to GDP by 2040, approximately $22.1 billion in infrastructure expenditure per annum will be required.
Other key recommendations include implementing a transparent approach to decision making and evaluation, and to task the independent infrastructure body with developing a long-term, 20-year infrastructure strategy that delivers cross-portfolio assessments based on objective and quantitative evidence analysis.
“Implementing a strong infrastructure provisioning process will ensure that scarce infrastructure dollars are directed where they are most needed and where the best value for money can be realised,” says Mr Lenzo.
“The process needs to be independent, transparent and accountable. Infrastructure should not be a political football, nor should projects simply be dropped because something else attracts the government’s attention.”