In a further blow to Scott Morrison’s repeated refusals to fast track infrastructure investment, the Reserve Bank Governor today flagged that such decisions comes down to our aspiration as a nation.
Repeating comments made earlier in the year, the Governor told the House Standing Committee on Economics that infrastructure investment is a key policy lever to boost the economy and lift productivity:
“Spending on infrastructure not only adds to demand in the economy but, done properly, it can boost the economy’s productivity. It can also directly improve the quality of people’s lives through reducing congestion and improving services. At the moment, there are some capacity constraints in parts of the infrastructure sector, but these should not prevent us from looking for further opportunities to boost the economy’s productive capacity and support domestic demand.”
The Governor put it to the Committee that fast tracking investment is a matter of aspiration:
“Do we have an aspiration to be better than ok? I’ll leave that up to you (politicians)… society can make a choice to be better than ok.”
State Governments could not be clearer. NSW Liberal Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today repeated ongoing calls for the Commonwealth to “dig deep” for nation-building infrastructure.
Yet this third term Morrison Government fails to act on infrastructure.
With less than 30 percent of this Government’s so-called $100 billion 10 year infrastructure program budgeted for the next four years there is clear capacity to fast track projects.
The Reserve Bank Governor flagged small projects in regional Australia as a priority for fast tracking infrastructure:
“I encourage governments to look at the possibility of a series of smaller projects – not as big as building a metro in Sydney – they can be more widely dispersed across the country and that can help us all.”
“There is scope to do more across the country, particularly in regional areas – maintenance of rail, road and bridges and some expansion of regional infrastructure – because people tell us at the regional level there is still spare capacity.”
“There may not be for the big megaprojects in Sydney and Melbourne but right across the country there is the capacity to do more infrastructure spending that would make people’s lives better.”
Scott Morrison must finally listen to the RBA and State Treasurers and fast track infrastructure investment to support Australia’s sluggish economy and boost productivity.
It comes down to our aspiration as a nation and Labor wants Australians – particularly those in regional Australia – to be better than ok.