Infrastructure Victoria plan shows it’s time to build: Pitcher Partners

By Sabine Wolff - October 4, 2016

Pitcher Partners today welcomed the release of Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year plan, urging the state government to move quickly to stimulate economic activity and accelerate the long term returns to arise from the proposed investment program.

“We strongly encourage the Victorian government to embark on the critical infrastructure builds listed in the report,” said Pitcher Partners’ Mark Harrison.

“Debt finance is cheap, and the Victorian economy is in a healthy position – now’s the time to build and really set ourselves up for the future.”

Harrison also hoped to see Victorian businesses grow as a result of further infrastructure commitments.

“To ensure the state gets the greatest economic payoff from an infrastructure program, the government and opposition must commit to including Victorian owned and operated businesses as priority partners within the supply chain.

“Infrastructure spending is an investment in Victoria’s future. Let’s make sure that Victorian businesses benefit by supplying the materials, labour and know-how to our infrastructure projects.

“This would be in keeping with the sentiment of government’s own reforms to the Victorian Industry Participation Policy, which require a 10 per cent local content weighting for project tenders over $50m, but surely the 10% can be increased.”

Mark Harrison did however issue a warning that infrastructure investment must extend beyond Melbourne’s boundaries.

“We’d also urge government not to focus solely on Melbourne-centric projects. Mid-sized businesses across Victoria are relying on infrastructure investment.

“Victoria has commercial regions and growth corridors outside Melbourne, and if we want businesses in those areas to survive and thrive, the government need to stimulate those regions, make it easier for them to operate and get their goods to a national and global market.

“To that end, we’d like to see more discussion around port solutions and a second major airport.”

Harrison urged the government to consider the impact of changing technology in infrastructure investment.

“The 30-year could afford to give more consideration to the impact technologies are having on business, society and every other aspect of our lives. 

“Education and health are core state government responsibilities that would benefit from strategic and long term technology investment with real return to the government and the Victorian economy.”

Harrison also warned that user-pays funding models would need to be offset to avoid causing a greater cost burden for business.

“The user-pays models as outlined in the plan could make transporting goods more difficult for mid-sized businesses – especially in the case of tolls on major freeways.

“If the state government is considering these options, it will need to support business with lower taxes, for example payroll tax. This action alone would also stimulate investment and employment activity.

“The plan is set, now the government need to act and give business the confidence to invest.”

For further information please contact:

Mark Harrison, Partner, Pitcher Partners, 03 8610 5136
Sabine Wolff, Media and Communications Advisor, Pitcher Partners, 0419 529 577

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