“It’s almost become a cliché that we need to invest more super and private capital in Australian infrastructure, but clichés don’t fund projects, they fund dollars,” Dwyer said.
“If governments are serious about this goal, they need to start routinely considering the use of private capital in major infrastructure projects.”
A recent Infrastructure NSW report urging the state to roll back several large transport projects also stressed the importance of private investment amid mounting government deficits.
The report said a “concerted effort” was needed to develop policies that would increase the investment of private money in large buildings.
Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies, Martin Locke, said while he believed the IPA analysis set a “high bar”, it showed the potential private funding was huge.
“[INSW] says we need to increase the use of private funding to move infrastructure forward, but you look at the statistics and the statistics show that’s not the case,” he said.
“In a way, the type of analysis that IPA has issued is quite provocative, because the number of projects that they believe are suitable candidates for public-private partnerships is almost overwhelming.”
Projects selected by the IPA analysis in NSW include the maintenance and operation of Sydney Metro West and several metro stations across the city.
The expansion of the Great Western Highway, the second stage of the Parramatta Light Rail and the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital have also been identified.
Road projects represent Australia’s largest private equity investment opportunity with a $26 billion pipeline, while rail infrastructure is estimated at $9.7 billion, according to the IPA.
While the government’s most recent INSW report recommended the second phase of the Parramatta light rail be pushed back, it will push the project forward for years to come.
However, construction of the controversial Northern Beaches Link and any major improvements to the Great Western Highway are expected to be delayed.
INSW recommended redirecting the state’s $27 billion in infrastructure spending to smaller projects that offer “high returns and faster paybacks with a smaller budget and reduced delivery risks.”
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