The Federal Opposition has pledged to inject $10 billion into Australian infrastructure as part of a plan to put superannuation savings “to work on nation-building”.
The initiative, which was announced by opposition leader Bill Shorten and shadow minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese yesterday, aims to mobilise private sector finance, the superannuation industry and international investors to fund potential infrastructure programs.
Infrastructure Australia will be backed by a $10 billion financing facility, allowing it to "jumpstart" new projects, a joint statement issued by Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese said.
"Just as the Reserve Bank of Australia is the independent authority at the centre of monetary policy, Infrastructure Australia will be at the centre of capital investment, driving results that are in the national interest.
"Australia has a need for significant investment in long-term physical assets to underpin our future growth and productivity, but governments at all levels are not able to sufficiently fund them," the statement said.
Industry Super Australia has come out in support of the initiative, arguing that it has the potential to reinvigorate the economy.
Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said: “For decades, industry super funds have prioritised deep investment in long-term infrastructure projects as a way of increasing productivity and jobs in order to strengthen the economy and produce higher returns for their super fund members.
“Australia’s infrastructure shortfall is now estimated at around $800 billion. Industry super funds are uniquely placed to help governments close the financing gap with $32 billion already invested in infrastructure, and new investment of at least $8 billion likely over the next 5 years,” he said.
Mr Whiteley said Australia’s superannuation assets are a large national asset, and are expected to reach $8 trillion in the next 20 years.
“They should be deployed as a unique important source of capital that can be invested for the mutual benefit of members and the economy, especially as our population ages.
“Putting the focus on nation-building policies will also build confidence in the investor community and begin to reverse the current trend of unproductive short-term investment that is dogging our economy with low growth," he said.
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