400-billion-USD investment needed in Australian infrastructure: gov't report

Australia's population is expected to hit 25 million on Tuesday evening. NO ARCHIVING

Australia's population is expected to hit 25 million on Tuesday evening. NO ARCHIVING

The cost of congestion in Melbourne is set to almost double from 5.5 billion to 10.4 billion by 2031, but Mr Tudge said he is confident of working with the State Government to tackle the issue.

A major Infrastructure Australia audit has found $600 billion in infrastructure spending is needed over the next 15 years to prevent living standards going backwards as a result of increased congestion.

Less visible but just as frustrating to people are hospitals and schools that are ageing or reaching capacity, overcrowded parks and city green spaces, ageing water pipes, and the quality of services like the NBN.

Public transport crowding is also on track to increase fivefold over the same period, costing more than $800m a year.

Communities are increasingly demanding more involvement in infrastructure planning decisions, the report says, and governments must work to boost engagement with citizens in planning decisions.

"Changing and growing demand, and a mounting maintenance backlog is putting unprecedented pressure on the infrastructure services each and every Australian relies on".

"Many of this year's new additions reflect the need for forward-thinking, ambitious solutions to support our future prosperity - for example, the delivery of a national electric vehicle fast-charging network identified as a High Priority Initiative", Alroe said.

While most people report concern about energy costs - which have risen 50% over the past decade - most of the expense is related to vehicle purchase and running costs.

"Our biggest cities are growing rapidly, but their infrastructure base hasn't kept up".

Remote and regional Australians were also feeling the pinch, with two-thirds of the continent not having mobile phone coverage, compared to 99.4% of premises.

Nineteen per cent of very remote Indigenous communities lacked water for the preparation of food or for clothes washing and 6% lacked water for personal hygiene.

Infrastructure has also been slow to respond to calls for lower emissions with progress to reduce emissions "inconsistent" and policy directions 'uncertain, ' the report says, despite it being the most significant contributor to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. "But when you look at the detail, the investment simply isn't there".

The report also predicts that traffic delays on roads and public transport will balloon despite $200 billion of new infrastructure investment.

But Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused the coalition of ripping the "guts" out of infrastructure funding in 2014.

Mr Morrison stressed the report's findings pre-date the 2019/20 budget, in which the government announced $23 billion worth of infrastructure projects, 160 of which were focused on busting congestion.

"Australia has always been a desirable place to live, work and raise a family both for people raised here and migrants and we are seeing that more than ever, which is why the Liberal and Nationals government is investing $100bn over 10 years in transport infrastructure across Australia to manage our growing population", he said.

The government has committed $100 billion to infrastructure over the next 10 years.

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