Australia

Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency established as part of Federal Budget 2017-18

THE 2017-18 Federal Budget has established the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency to help shape and assess financing options for major infrastructure.

Where there is capability to generate a revenue stream, projects such as Adelink, Tullamarine Rail link, Cross River Rail in Brisbane, the Western Sydney Airport Rail link and Brisbane Metro, all have the potential to be considered by the Agency.

'The lights of Broadway', Sydney
Above: The lights of Broadway', Sydney / by Ivan Vanderbyl.

From 1 July 2017, the Agency will be headquartered in Sydney and sit within the Prime Minister's portfolio, working with ministers and agencies to shape projects attractive to private investors.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the government was looking to recruit specific skillsets.

"This initiative will embed commercial skills at the centre of government. A big role of the agency will be to structure projects to finance landmark infrastructure up front, on the back of identified revenue streams," Mr Taylor said.

Establishing the Agency also aims to position the Commonwealth as an active investor, engaging early in infrastructure proposals and negotiating better, longer term returns for taxpayer investments.

"The Commonwealth can no longer be an ATM to the states. We must have a greater say in how taxpayer dollars are invested in big infrastructure projects, so that we can secure better outcomes for the community - more affordable housing, more local job centres close to where people live, accelerated improvements to roads and public transport to reduce congestion," Mr Taylor said.

"In this Budget, the Government is actively working to expand the use of financing to support broader infrastructure priorities, and the new agency will be a part of that."

The Agency's focus will be on identifying and developing financing options, working closely with Infrastructure Australia, which will remain the key source of independent advice on the economic and social benefits of major infrastructure.

Recruitment is underway to select a qualified head of the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, alongside stakeholder roundtables to inform establishment of the agency. A commitment to establish the Agency was announced as part of the government's Smart Cities Plan, with funding announced in the 2017-18 Budget.

More information about the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency is available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website at <http://www.dpmc.gov.au/domestic-policy/infrastructure-and-project-financing-agency>.

Photo: The lights of Broadway', Sydney / Ivan Vanderbyl / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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