The politics of infrastructure

by John Daley

Governments spend a lot on transport infrastructure – and it’s very popular. In this presentation summarising Grattan’s analysis of recent election promises, John Daley shows that elections are increasingly about big transport infrastructure ‘announceables’. But these election promises are usually driven by politics more than evidence. They don’t show much influence from the advice of independent expert bodies, and they are typically made well before business cases have been completed, let alone publicly released.


Instead, government spending on infrastructure projects is influenced by political attitudes. The Coalition tends to promise more roads and more regional spending than Labor. In the last Victorian election, the parties were a long way apart; by contrast, in the most recent NSW election there was quite a lot of consensus between the parties.

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