Sell public assets to fund infrastructure: Transurban chief
Toll road owner Transurban's chief executive is urging the federal government to raise up to $100 billion in asset sales to tackle a massive infrastructure backlog.
Scott Charlton said with superannuation funds willing to invest, it made perfect sense.
In April, the NSW government said it would use about $4.3 billion of the net proceeds from the 99-year lease of Port Botany and Port Kembla to fund infrastructure.
The lease was awarded to the NSW Ports consortium, comprised mostly of super funds and international investors, for $5.07 billion.
Mr Charlton said the most tried-and-true methods for freeing up infrastructure capital were "capital recycling" through asset sales and public-private partnerships (PPP) in which private companies take on more risk.
The PPPs enabled infrastructure to be brought forward that would otherwise take governments decades to do, he said. "If you look at what NSW has done, sold the port of Botany, use that money to seek capital into WestConnex, build that and then on-sell that as well as an ongoing business," he told ABC TV's Inside Business.
"There have been failures in some of these PPP projects in recent history from the private sector, there have been great outcomes from the government sector but, look, we're still in the game."
The federal government was warned in a report by Infrastructure Australia earlier this month that action needed to be taken to improve infrastructure. Some estimates put the backlog at $700 billion, or nearly 50 per cent of gross domestic product.
The slowdown in mining activity has led to calls for government to finance infrastructure.
Transurban has tendered its proposal to build an eight-kilometre road link in north-west Sydney, which would involve federal and state funding, and two super funds: QIC and Canada Pension Plan.
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