Swan enters, Stage 3

In an appearance on ABCTV’s Q&A program last night, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan hinted to a big announcement. “Stage 3 is [one of] the really big, complex, economic infrastructure projects. “We are moving in that direction and we will have more to say.” The announcement is expected to coincide with Infrastructure Australia’s priority list of major projects, also expected in the next few months. The federal Budget in May would be an opportune time to release IA’s list, if it can be finalised in time. IA’s interim priority list – in reality an unprioritised, multi-billion dollar wish list from state and local governments – was presented to the Council of Australian Governments in December. The national infrastructure body is now working on the tough task of turning that half-baked wish list into a workable funding strategy. In the COAG report, IA complained about the quality of submissions it received. “A majority of the projects submitted … had very little or no supporting economic analysis to demonstrate the case for funding,” the report said. “Of those with economic analysis, the supporting evidence material provided to Infrastructure Australia was weak in many cases.” IA requested project proponents provide “comprehensive and detailed information on the appraisal and deliverability assessment on each project” and is now using that information to put together a final list. “The IA council has set a series of themes … and will prioritise around those themes based on the quality of the information provided,” IA coordinator Michael Deegan said. Infrastructure Australia’s themes include a broadband network, a national energy market, indigenous services and ports, rail and water infrastructure.

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