Infrastructure funding under fire

APRIL 2010

A SOLUTION to Queensland’s infrastructure funding crisis can be found by exploring alternative financing strategies used offshore, according to a report commissioned by the Property Council of Australia Queensland.

The report, undertaken by Brisbane’s AEC group as an assessment of traditional and alternative infrastructure financing mechanisms in Queensland, identified that in southeast Queensland alone there is $124 billion worth of public infrastructure required by 2026.

The Property Council’s infrastructure committee chairman, Chris Warnock, says the need for public infrastructure funding ‘comes as no great surprise to anyone’ but the critical issue is finding a solution.

It will be further discussed at a Property Council event this month, with overseas financing strategies expected to be the focus.

“We are trying to identify different ways of financing things and rather than just identity the problem, be part of the solution,” says Warnock.

“We’ve looked at how other countries finance infrastructure projects, what the barriers are to introducing them here and how they would apply to specific infrastructure projects in Queensland.

“We are trying to highlight that some credible work has been done by an objective source and elevate the debate that clearly more work needs to be done. Obviously some legislative changes would be involved with some of the potential strategies.”

BrisConnections CEO Ray Wilson will be one interested attendee at the event but believes the private sector will continue to play an essential role in public infrastructure funding into the future.

The man in charge of the State Government’s $4.8 billion Queensland Airport Link, northern busway and airport roundabout upgrade, says the private sector will continue to demonstrate its ability to deliver major public projects on time, within budget and to a high quality.

“A lot of people say that private funding is in jeopardy and some say that it is not the way of the future, which I completely disagree with,” says Wilson.

“Every project is different but when the government sits down and has a look at the outcomes of each project and plans to reach these outcomes – the private sector plays a huge role in that.”

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