Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia

CONSULT Australia has taken action to help government deliver infrastructure projects by releasing its Capturing Value paper, which CEO Megan Motto said would aid government put “its money where [its] mouth is”.
Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia Govt should put its money where its mouth is: Consult Australia

Consult Australia CEO Megan Motto

Marion Lopez

Capturing value is a financing mechanism whereby investors “capture” some or all of the value generated by an asset once it is built and operational, as a way to recover their initial investment.

In releasing its paper yesterday with member firm Sinclair Knight Merz, Consult Australia CEO Megan Motto said the incoming federal government would not be able to simply rely on Commonwealth funds to pay for all promised and necessary Australian infrastructure.

“On the other side of September 7, whichever side of politics prevails will be faced with a long list of spending promises and an ever tighter budget,” she said.

“The fact is there is just not enough funding available under current Commonwealth and state government arrangements.

“To fund the full list of projects canvassed across both sides of politics, the major parties must move beyond the patchwork of grants and look at alternate policies.”

The publication was launched in front of 200 attendees from the built environment sector and government agencies, with Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington as the guest speaker.

The document sets out the 10 success factors for value capture in Australia, establishing a reference point for a whole of government approach that realises funding and better value for investments in infrastructure and urban renewal.

The report suggests governments should:

  1. Develop a comprehensive long-term plan
  2. Embrace genuine and robust stakeholder consultation
  3. Carefully select the improvement district
  4. Create a shared vision
  5. Establish a clear and balanced governance framework
  6. Understand the risks and rewards for all stakeholders
  7. Use incentives to attract private investment and better design
  8. Secure consistent and coordinated leadership
  9. Secure the ability to influence outcomes; and
  10. Build trust as a core value.

Motto told CIN the report was well received by the assembly and she hoped it would trigger quick action from the incoming government.

She warned that funding could become a casualty of spending cuts if proper funding mechanisms, such as value capture, were not established.

“Action is urgent and following the federal election, it is incumbent on the next government to review such funding options with a view to rapid implementation,” Motto said.

“Governments have a history of stalling progress as they concentrate on identifying obstacles to new funding mechanisms.

“The Capturing Value paper now provides a reference point for governments and other key stakeholders to identify the success factors that will drive the type of investment we so desperately need.”

She said the recommendations in the report provided a clear pathway through these obstacles.

“There should no longer be any excuses to pursuing this type of reform and investment opportunity,” she added.

“Consult Australia will use the paper alongside the Urban Coalition’s A New Deal for Urban Australia as the basis for ongoing conversations with both governments and agencies.”

The Urban Coalition’s plan was released in May this year to improve infrastructure funding and strategic planning in Australian cities.

The plan calls for the establishment of an “urban infrastructure fund” that would raise money for infrastructure projects by issuing investments to both retail and institutional investors.