The Queensland Resources Council has called on the state government to send a clear signal to potential investors and customers regarding infrastructure investment.
Speaking in Perth, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said future public assets needed to stem from “visionary” government investment.
Roche said the Palaszczuk Government’s plan to reduce government debt involved hypothecating a portion of government-owned business.
He said an early test for the government’s approach would be its reaction to a commercial arrangement with private sector interests to help facilitate development of multi-user Galilee Basin rail infrastructure.
“If the answer is yes, then perhaps the new Queensland Government will be prepared to break free from the straightjacket stifling government’s role in economic infrastructure over the past seven or eight years,” Roche said.
Roche said for the proposed State Infrastructure Plan to bear fruit, it would require cooperation between state and federal governments.
“A consistent government position on infrastructure sends a strong signal to potential investors and potential customers,’ he said.
“The QRC believes government has a genuine industry development role in infrastructure, noting there is not enough private capacity to pay for everything, as governments have come to expect.
“The global competitiveness of the Queensland resources sector has relied on the provision of high quality economic infrastructure ahead of demand.
“For the resources sector to take advantage of continuing Asian demand for minerals and energy, industry and government need to consider how best to provide infrastructure ahead of demand, and in a least-cost way. Now is the time to be investing in the next resources sector upswing. Ten years from now we don’t want to be playing catch-up.”
According to the QLD government, the State Infrastructure Plan will provide a coordinated and integrated approach to infrastructure planning, prioritisation, funding and delivery.
The government says while the pipeline will focus on public infrastructure, it is also expected to highlight opportunities for the private sector to engage with government on finding creative solutions for infrastructure delivery.
Roche said that the Queensland Treasurer would find no stronger ally than the QRC if federal infrastructure spending was blocked by politics.
“We will back Mr Pitt 100 per cent in calling on the federal government to ensure that Queensland gets its fair share of infrastructure funding,” he said.
“Tying federal support to the sale of state-owned assets is redundant as neither side of politics in Queensland is on board with further asset sales.”