In May 2008, the Australian government allocated an initial AUD20 billion (CDN16 bill.) to a Building Australia Fund to finance critical road, rail, port and broadband projects. The government is “back in the business or nation building”. On infrastructure, the PM talks of a “transformational vision.”
Infrastructure investment is a cornerstone of the government´s strategy for seeing Australia through the banking and finance crisis and its aftermath, and that the government was now bringing forward its long-term infrastructure building agenda. In its first year in office, the Australian government committed to a AUD76 billion (CDN62b) infrastructure investment program, allocating funds for road, rail, ports and high-speed broadband.
The precise composition of this 76b remains unclear, although the Prime Minister said it is made up of 20 billion to be allocated through the Building Australia Fund, 15 billion through the Education Investment Fund and other programs and 11 billion through the Health and Hospitals Fund and other programs. A further 26 billion would be spent under the AusLink road and rail program introduced by the previous government. Another 5 billion has been committed for a national broadband network.
Clearly this focus on infrastructure development presents many opportunities for Canadian companies -whether they are new to market or established players- across a range of industries such as rail and urban transport, education, health, environment, and telecommunications as well as building and materials.