Australia faces 161 billion USD infrastructure funding shortfall: G20 report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-04 14:36:51|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Australia is facing a major shortfall in funding for critical infrastructure, according to a report from the Group of 20 (G20).

The report, details of which were released by Fairfax Media, found that Australia has to spend an extra 230 billion Australian dollars (161.8 billion U.S. dollars) on infrastructure by 2040 to deal with its growing population.

It said that the government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, should significantly increase its infrastructure spending by 0.35 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the equivalent of seven billion Australian dollars (4.92 billion U.S.dollars) in 2019 alone.

According to the G20 report, Australia's spending on roads is at an appropriate level but there are significant shortfalls in that on ports and railways.

It noted that 96 percent of Australia's residents will live in urban areas by 2040, up from 89 percent currently.

It came after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday announced it was cutting interest rates to a record-low of one percent in a bid to stimulate the economy and bring unemployment down from 5.2 percent to 4.5 percent.

Wayne Swan, Australia's Treasurer between 2007 and 2013, told Fairfax that the government should take advantage of low interest rates by borrowing more money. Swan has been largely credited with guiding Australia through 2008's global financial crisis.

"There is an obvious imperative to stimulate and make structural improvements and all the advice says to do it in those quality areas," he said.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday, the volume of civil construction work done across Australia fell to a two-year low in the first quarter of 2019.