Massive infrastructure simulus planned? Or just made up

So says Domain:

Australia could build its way out of the deepest recession since the 1930s through a $220 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects that would transform the nation, deliver jobs and sharply increase the nation’s long-term productivity.

The projects, on top of the government’s existing $100 billion infrastructure plan over 10 years, could be a key consideration for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the October 6 federal budget as economists call for a bigger stimulus to rebuild the economy.

While the government has committed up to $10 billion in recent months to projects across the nation, much of this work has come from existing projects in last year’s budget.

The Global Infrastructure Hub, an Australian initiative at the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014, estimates Australia faces a $217 billion infrastructure shortfall by 2040. By its estimates, Australian governments have already committed enough to road and water networks and the biggest problems concern railways and ports.

Hub chief executive officer Marie Lam-Frendo said low interest rates and the depth of the recession meant there was now an opportunity for all nations, including Australia, to do far more to position their key infrastructure systems for the future.

“I think we have a short-term window to get this through,” she said.

Economists, analysts and even the Reserve Bank believe much more will be needed given the depth of the recession.

…Liberal MP John Alexander said the pandemic intensified the case for high-speed rail projects to allow faster travel out of the big cities and encourage the growth of regional cities.

“The position that high-speed rail can’t pay for itself has been totally refuted,” Mr Alexander said.

No it hasn’t. The problem is the existing commenter network cannot handle the trains so they are only very fast until they reach outer metropolitan lines then stall, defeating their purpose unless you dig very, every expensive tunnels.

That said, I’m all for the plan for huge new infrastructure projects. And perhaps loss-making VFTs radiating outwards from Sydney and Melbourne are worthy of consideration if they take the pressure off house prices further in.

One final note. This entire story might need an apology for corrupt journalism tomorrow given it headlines with the idea that Treasurer Depressionberg is considering a plan for $200bn in infrastructure while providing zero evidence of any such intention.

And, a second final note one hour later, the story has been altered with no apology.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. We could repair the NBN infrastructure and run fibre into almost every home and business, like the original version had just begun doing, until Liberals got in and stopped the fast fibre rollout at Murdoch’s behest, scrapping it for his decrepit Foxtel copper to be used instead.

    Abbott and Turnbull no longer have to face the public who have largely figured out they were just looking after Murdicks by spending $11Bn extra than the planned fibre NBN, to give us last mile unreliable and slow copper instead of fast reliable fibre.

    With working from home the new normal, who would oppose spending another $7 Bn to upgrade the NBN back to the originally planned version?

  2. It’s being worked on – the key to point to make is that the RBA issues bonds and not the private sector. As a sovereign country we have the rights to the rain and sunlight that comes out of the sky for nothing – it’s already our equity – there is no need to mortgage it for the sake of using some other countries currency. Given infrastructure is a long tail investment, if the government uses debt instead of equity the finance costs will exceed the construction cost and render projects unfeasible when they aren’t.

  3. It’s such a pity Australia is a dark, dreary, rainy little country like the UK. Because if it were a huge island with the best solar insolation of any country on the planet, the way forward for the pollies would be clear: become a renewable energy superpower, both in innovation, manufacturing and production, exporting power via HVDC lines to Asia, exporting intellectual property to the world.

    So yes, a great pity about the poor weather quality of our politicians.

    • Haywood JablomyMEMBER

      We might as well be the UK for how little we exploit our natural advantages for the benefit of our inhabitants. We are the lotus eaters of planet earth, for now. Though the blame ultimately has to fall on our political system and the poor quality individuals that populate it.

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