In 2019 infrastructure spend grew in Australia’s federal budget and all state and territory budgets, highlighting the important role of infrastructure in creating jobs and growing the Australian economy. But the benefits of infrastructure extend far beyond national finance. Infrastructure investment future proofs our cities; helps to keep up with population growth and supports people and communities too.
Here are five long-term benefits of investing in major infrastructure.
1. Less travel time
Through rolling programs like the Infrastructure Investment Program and Roads of Strategic Importance, the Australian Government will invest a record $100bn in transport infrastructure over 10 years. As well as future proofing our cities and transport infrastructure, this investment will deliver:
2. More affordable, reliable and sustainable utilities
Upgrading Australia’s utilities infrastructure is another focus area for investment, and one that will have a positive and long-lasting impact on the nation.
Australia’s energy infrastructure investment is focused on delivering efficient, affordable and competitively priced energy to all Australians, as well as improving the reliability and sustainability of Australia’s energy supply. These improvements will reduce the cost of energy for many households, improve the quality of life for many Australians and reduce our carbon footprint.
Demand for communications technologies and data-driven services in Australia continue to grow. To support this growth, during 2019-2020 Australia allocated $1.5bn to growing its digital economy and communications related programs. This investment will benefit Australia by:
When we turn on the tap and see a steady flow it’s easy to take our water supply for granted – but water is in fact one of the planet’s most at-risk and important resources. Water sustains life and is essential to all people and businesses. It is also critical to the social and economic wellbeing of the many rural and regional Australian communities affected by drought.
Long-term investment in water infrastructure:
3. A boost for tourism
Australian airports aren’t exactly a hive of activity right now! But when we can move around more freely again, the many significant aviation projects currently underway will provide a much-needed boost to travel and tourism-related industries, including:
4. Connecting communities
Infrastructure spend is about so much more than economic growth – it’s also about investing in people, communities and quality of life. Investing in community infrastructure is good for the economy too – social infrastructure contributes 12.5% of Australia’s GDP (2018), and employs over 3 million Australian workers (roughly a quarter of the Australian workforce).
Social housing is a particularly important area for public infrastructure investment, with access to affordable housing a major issue for many Australians. Prior to the COVID-19 recession, an estimated 200,000 people and families were on the waitlist for social housing. Given the tough economic times that lie ahead, investing in social housing will have an immensely positive impact on Australia – both socially and economically.
These benefits are just some of the many long-term reasons for investing in infrastructure. Check out this guide for a round-up of major Australian infrastructure projects and priorities in 2020.
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