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Budget explainer: does Australia really have an infrastructure deficit?

Marion Terrill and Brendan Coates write in The Conversation (28.4.16) about the notion that Australia suffers a deficiency in infrastructure planning and building, citing evidence to suggest that the answer is not as cut and dried as counting cranes on the skyline.

‘While it has become conventional wisdom that Australia has an infrastructure deficit, there is remarkably little shared understanding of what that means.

‘Does it mean that today’s infrastructure is substandard, or is that we’re not equipped for tomorrow’s infrastructure needs? And how do we even know what we really need, as opposed to what’s on everyone’s wish list?

‘There is a lot of talk about building physical infrastructure, but it’s the services that these assets provide – like mobility, an internet connection and electricity – that really matter.

‘So the question is not whether we have built enough infrastructure, but whether it is delivering the quantity and quality of infrastructure services we need now and in the future.’

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