Bold ideas for local government infrastructure

Local Government Minister Simon Crean has released a major review that identifies potential new ways for local governments to plan, finance and deliver infrastructure investments.

Speaking at the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra, Mr Crean said Australia could more effectively meet its infrastructure needs through partnership and collaboration.

“Nation building does require big investment in infrastructure, but that can’t be done by governments alone; we need partnerships between governments, and where appropriate, with the private sector,” Mr Crean said.

“That message has been backed by other recent reports including the Business Council of Australia and our Government’s Infrastructure Finance Working Group.

“Infrastructure and skills are the constraints to growth and we have to find creative solutions to overcome those constraints.

“The future infrastructure needs of the nation can be met if we develop the partnerships, and as recommended in this report, consider new
financial instruments.”

Mr Crean said the report by Ernst & Young recommends a number of financial instruments to address these issues and argues for a national authority capable of addressing councils capability and aggregation functions, along with appropriate financial instruments.

“There’s been a concerted effort on behalf of councils to improve their financial and asset management processes,” he said.

“The key is to keep building capability, and extending existing programs of training in these areas.”

“As a government, we will continue our reform agenda and help build confidence that local government is a worthy, low-risk investment partner,” he said.

“While we are yet to respond to the report, we will work with State and Territory governments, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), state local government associations and our network of 55 Regional Development Australia committees to progress the issues raised in the report and examine the potential of developing trial projects, particularly in the clean energy space.”

The full report is available online at