National authority needed to fix export issues: Edwards

HSBC chief economist John Edwards is certain a national authority to coordinate infrastructure development is necessary to avoid exports continuing to be affected by constraint issues.

Staff Reporter

Edwards, who will address delegates at the NSW Infrastructure Summit next month, said Australia's export volume growth had slowed over the past six years from about 7% per annum to about 3% as a result of infrastructure issues.

"I think we need some kind of authority to identify trends in demand, to identify trends in demand, to identify where we're going to run into constraints, what the capacity of our infrastructure is and how those needs ought to be met," Edwards said.

"In my mind the only authority capable of doing this nationally is the Commonwealth."

Of current constraints and bottleneck situations, Edwards said the fault lies across all sectors.

“If you take a case like Port Waratah, the principal coal port in NSW, it’s owned by the coal operators and exporters, but it’s supplied by trains that are operated by the Government of NSW.

“So it’s pretty clear that everyone’s responsible: the exporters, the coal miners and the government."