The Federal Government has stepped up its budgeted commitment to transport infrastructure, to about 0.6 per cent of GDP per year over the forward estimates. Yet it is mostly state governments that procure transport infrastructure assets.
Even though its direct control of the spend is limited, the Federal Government could do much more with the levers it has to ensure its funding is directed to obtaining high-quality infrastructure at the lowest long-term cost to taxpayers.
This submission highlights four spheres where it could do more.
First, it could push against the recent rapid trend towards megaprojects, with their unfortunate side-effect of exacerbating capacity constraints and tendency to cost overruns.
Second, it could promote competition, as a means of keeping down the cost of high-quality infrastructure and encouraging world-class innovation.
Third, it could insist that the states comply with its procurement and trade rules.
And fourth, it could coordinate across the jurisdictions to improve cost estimation and business-case development.