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Smart cities plan a path to better infrastructure

"The initial steps announced today in the Federal Government Smart Cities Plan have the potential to make a real difference in lifting Australia's standard of living and quality of life.  We should strive to make Australia's cities less congested, more amenable, more affordable and more productive," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"As the Government acknowledges, delivering the benefits will require close cooperation of all levels of government, all sides of politics, and with the engagement of business and the broader community.

"The allocation of $50 million to early-stage planning and development will get the project moving.  The creation of the new infrastructure financing unit should set out the scope for greater public and private investment in high-priority infrastructure projects.

"There is a strong appetite from institutional investors, particularly superannuation funds, to invest in infrastructure either as owners or lenders.   Ai Group has long advocated the case for greater public-sector investment in productivity-enhancing, intergenerational infrastructure. 

"The infrastructure financing unit should examine how best to tap these sources of funding for different projects.

"In whatever way they are financed, these investments need to be rigorously and independently assessed for their impact on Australian living standards and not captured for near-term political advantage," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries:  Tony Melville 0419 190 347