• Hannah Phillips

Labor Will Apply New Public Interest Conditions To Infrastructure Grants

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese announced yesterday a Labor Government will place more conditions on Federal infrastructure grants to States and Territories to secure public interest outcomes such as more training of apprentices and better work opportunities for mid-tier construction firms.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese told a summit in Sydney that the role of Infrastructure Australia would be expanded under Labor Government with new conditions addressing areas like procurement, training and sustainability.

Mr Albanese said it was a common complaint in the construction industry that contracts for big rail and road projects were so large that mid-tier building companies found it difficult to bid.

“I would encourage states and territories to work with industry to craft creative procurement plans that spread the benefit of major government contracts more evenly across the infrastructure sector,’’ he said.

“As a bonus, there is no shortage of evidence to suggest that greater involvement of mid-tier construction companies leads to savings to the public purse by fostering greater competition.’

’In the same way, states seeking federal infrastructure grants would be required demonstrate plans to use major public projects as opportunities to train more apprentices.

They would also be required to demonstrate that, where appropriate, designs for new roads incorporate smart technology such as variable speed limits, smooth entry points, variable speed limits, and lane directional changes.

States would also be required to demonstrate that they had ensured that new railways and roads were properly linked with active transport options like walking paths and cycling racks.

“Better planning delivers better outcomes,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“Through the Infrastructure Australia process, we have an opportunity to improve the quality of project planning to achieve outcomes that better meet the expectations and requirements of both the public and business community.’’

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