Infrastructure hit list released as review shows shambolic spending
Scott Morrison once proudly boasted of his $120 billion infrastructure investment program. An independent review has found major problems with it, including huge cost blowouts.
Why did the federal government’s infrastructure investment program (IIP), worth $120 billion under the former Coalition government, suffer cost blowouts so large it now can’t be delivered on budget, as an independent review found yesterday?
The review, commissioned earlier this year and led by veteran transport bureaucrat Clare Gardiner-Barnes, former infrastructure secretary Mike Mrdak and retired WA transport chief Reece Waldock, has resulted in Labor unveiling a list of projects that would be cut to ensure existing projects can be properly funded.
The $120 billion commitment grew from both the Coalition’s relentless pork-barrelling while in government and from pre-pandemic calls from bodies such as the Reserve Bank and the International Monetary Fund for a “pipeline” of infrastructure investment over the long term that would support stable economic growth while interest rates were near zero. But since the pandemic, with two years of supply-side problems and labour shortages, infrastructure construction has gone from economic stabiliser to key inflation driver, with costs blowing out by the billions as governments undertook multiple major projects simultaneously.
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