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Meeting Infrastructure Needs in Australia

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  • Claude Giorno

Abstract

Adequate and well-functioning infrastructure is a key ingredient to growth and well-being. The benefits to activity of efficient spending in energy, water, transport and communication sectors go well beyond their contribution to capital accumulation. Good infrastructure facilitates trade, bolsters market integration and competition, fosters the dissemination of ideas and innovations and enhances access to resources and public services. These benefits are particularly important for Australia because of its size, the geographical dispersion of its population and production centres, and its remoteness from other markets. Nevertheless, Australia has an important infrastructure deficit. This is in part due to underinvestment in the 1980s and 1990s, while the rebound in capital spending at the beginning of the 2000s has been insufficient to deal with capacity shortages exacerbated by the strong demand generated by the mining boom, expected population growth, technological progress and environmental concerns. To ease these shortages, the authorities have put bolstering infrastructure to the top of their economic policy agenda. This entails greater government expenditure in this area, but also structural reforms to optimise public and private investment choices and the use of existing facilities with better regulation. This chapter reviews the state of Australia’s infrastructure and the government’s action programme. Répondre aux besoins d'infrastructures en Australie Des infrastructures adéquates et fonctionnant bien sont essentielles pour la croissance et le bien-être. Des dépenses bien gérées dans les secteurs de l’énergie, de l’eau, des transports et des communications influencent positivement l’activité au delà de leur contribution à l’accumulation du capital. Elles facilitent les échanges, renforcent l’intégration des marchés et la concurrence, permettent la diffusion des idées et des innovations et améliorent l’accès aux ressources et aux services publics. Ces bénéfices sont particulièrement importants dans le cas de l’Australie en raison de sa taille, de la dispersion géographique de sa population et de ses centres de productions ainsi que leur éloignement des autres marchés. Le pays est pourtant confronté à un déficit d’infrastructures. Celui-ci est du en partie à un sous-investissement au cours des décennies 1980 et 1990. Le rebond des dépenses en capital au début des années 2000 a été insuffisant pour faire face au manque de capacités exacerbé par la hausse de la demande générée par le boom des produits miniers, la progression attendue de la population, les progrès technologiques et les préoccupations environnementales. Pour réduire ces tensions, les pouvoirs publics ont placé le renforcement des infrastructures en haut de leur agenda de politique économique. Ceci implique un accroissement des dépenses publiques dans ce domaine, mais aussi des réformes structurelles visant à optimiser les choix d’investissements publics et privés et l’utilisation des équipements existants grâce à une meilleure régulation. Ce chapitre passe en revue la situation du secteur des infrastructures en Australie et le programme d’action du gouvernement.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kgg7sx3p7q0-en
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 851.

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Date of creation: 24 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:851-en

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Keywords: network industries; productivity; infrastructure; productivité; industrie de réseau; infrastructure;

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