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How Australia can spread the benefits of our bulging infrastructure pipeline

Martin Loosemore writes in The Conversation (31.1.17) about Australia’s ‘bulging’ infrastructure pipeline, arguing that federal and state governments could leverage their procurement spending power to benefit the communities where the work is done.

‘Good infrastructure can transform the social fabric of local communities, regional economies and national prosperity. The 2012 Olympics’ impact on London’s East End and the Guggenheim Museum’s role in revitalising Bilbao in northern Spain are examples of how infrastructure projects can regenerate disadvantaged communities by creating a new sense of identity and pride.

‘But what about the project design and construction phases? This has been largely neglected in the debate about equitable and sustainable cities.

‘With one of the world’s largest infrastructure pipelines Australian governments have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage their procurement spending power. For instance, the second airport for Sydney at Badgerys Creek in the city’s west offers a great opportunity.

‘Projects like this can be used to tackle growing disadvantage and inequity in the communities where they are built. This can kick-start change over the life of major infrastructure projects.’

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