Briggs to push PC’s infrastructure agenda


Assistant minister to seek cooperation of other governments in getting proposed reforms up

Briggs to push PC’s infrastructure agenda
Jamie Briggs will lead negotiations with the states and territories

 

Assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development Jamie Briggs will lead the charge in support of the Productivity Commission’s (PC) infrastructure recommendations.

The task of bringing sometimes fractious states into line with his reformist Federal Government and working with Infrastructure Australia will be a major test for Briggs, who put the agency's recent difficulties down to the infrastructure coordinator being appointed by the previous transport minister.

"The commission has made a number of recommendations relating to better institutional and governance arrangements," Briggs said in a conference speech in Canberra as the PC’s Public Infrastructure report was being presented to Parliament.

"These include the need for consideration of various public and private financing models as alternatives to traditional models of taxpayer funding," Briggs says.

"Road specific, institutional and funding reforms; improving planning and tendering arrangements; addressing some of the factors influencing cost; achieving better labour markets, particularly on construction sites; better data collection that has the potential to revolutionise the planning and cost of infrastructure.

"The PC has identified savings of at least $1 billion per year from undertaking these reforms.

"The majority of the reforms recommended by the Productivity Commission directly relate to state and territory governments who are responsible for the delivery of public infrastructure, particularly in respect of roads.

"In the coming months, I will be leading our discussions with the state and territory governments about the implementations of the commission's recommendations."

He also gave the states credit for already sweating transport infrastructure harder and working on heavy vehicle investment and access reform measures.

"The PC recommends having a clear idea about pitfalls and lessons from different models; and in that respect, Infrastructure Australia has already been asked to look at and audit our infrastructure base across the country," he says.

"Using alternatives to finance infrastructure such as traffic flow management, intelligent use traffic lights, peak hour road closures, ramp metering − and the states are certainly already doing this."

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