Advancing our infrastructure agenda

It’s time to think outside the square on infrastructure funding and financing. If Victoria is to retain its competitiveness and liveability, alternative funding methods must be explored.

The pressures of meeting our infrastructure demand, even under modest growth, are significant. Recently, it was reported that Melbourne grew by 95,500 people in 2013 to reach 4.35 million — the largest increase of any Australian capital. Harnessing this growth will be vital for our continued success, as will the delivery of infrastructure to improve living standards across our state.

Whilst there is no shortage of projects on Victoria’s infrastructure wish list, a key challenge is identifying the right funding and financing mechanisms to move these projects off the drawing board and into the marketplace.

If we are to retain the State’s liveability and competitiveness, we need to find better ways to invest in high quality infrastructure projects. This includes alternative funding methods for project investment and delivery.

The Property Council recently launched its latest report, Finding $50B, which presents 14 funding and financing mechanisms available to governments for meeting this challenge without drawing on traditional methods of support – increased taxes, higher debt and or rising Commonwealth financial dependency.

Each method has been selected for its ability to drive our State’s economic competiveness by promoting efficiency, equity and simplicity. We believe the focus of any reform must be on sustainable outcomes, rather than the creation of another tax which distorts market activity and erodes our standard of living.

To demonstrate their practicality, the Property Council has applied the mechanisms to five projects which remain high on Victoria’s long term infrastructure list – the North East Link, E-Gate, grade separations, station redevelopment and activity centres upgrades.

By doing so, we hope that Finding $50B will attention to the range of tools available at the Government’s disposal for realising its infrastructure ambitions.

I would like to thank the Infrastructure Committee for their hard work in bringing this project to fruition. As always, the expertise and direct industry insight provided by our committee members play a crucial role in the Property Council’s policy development.

Regardless of the result of this November’s election, infrastructure will be vital to the prosperity of this State. Using evidence based research as the basis of our advocacy, the Property Council will continue to engage with key decision makers at all levels of government in the coming months to advance our infrastructure agenda and ensure the interests of the property industry are recognised, accepted and implemented.