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CCF warns Australian infrastructure could be left behind

The CCF welcomes Infrastructure Australia’s new report on the impact of Covid on rural communities

Civil infrastructure voice Civil Contractors Federation National (CCF) welcomes Infrastructure Australia’s new report Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps, describing it as a wake-up call to governments to ensure they prioritise the infrastructure needs of regional Australians.

The federation says the report on the strengths and gaps faced by regional Australians is timely given the challenges regional communities face from the impact of Covid-19.

“The report rightly points out that the ability of regional Australia to take advantage of the opportunities available to them depends on their ability to access robust, reliable and resilient infrastructure networks,” CCF CEO Chris Melham says.

“The capacity, connectivity and quality of infrastructure throughout our regions is integral to their future growth and innovation, and this report serves as an important blueprint for industry and governments to ensure spending and policy reforms are targeted to achieve maximum benefits.”

According to the CCF, the report underscores its key message to the federal government in the lead-up to the 2022–2023 budget that there needs to be an equitable spread of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure investment program.

“The 2022–2023 budget provides an important opportunity for the federal government to address the infrastructure service quality gaps in regional and remote areas as evidenced by this report,” Melham says.

Melham says the increased population growth in regional areas because of Covid-19 is putting a strain on infrastructure services throughout Australia.

“Infrastructure Australia estimates a 200 per cent increase in net migration from capital cities to regional areas due to Covid-19,” Melham says.

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“This is putting an increasing strain on infrastructure services in non-metropolitan areas and resulting in gaps in service delivery between major cities and our regional areas, which act as a major barrier to economic growth and prosperity in our regions.”

The CCF says a greater budgetary commitment to improving infrastructure services in rural areas will help generate more employment opportunities, build resilience and improve quality of life for Australians.

Without this, it warns that rural and regional Australians are at risk of being left behind.

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