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Report finds $600 billion infrastructure spending needed over 15 years, but federal minister plays down impending crisis

A major Infrastructure Australia audit has found $600 billion in infrastructure spending is needed over the next 15 years to prevent living standards going backwards as a result of increased congestion.

But Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, has downplayed the Infrastructure Australia report, labelling it “pessimistic”.

The report suggests Melbourne’s infrastructure will struggle to keep up with demand and traffic could come to a standstill by 2031.

“They haven’t taken into account all of the new projects that have been announced over the last six months, and inevitably will be announce over the next decade,” he told 3AW Breakfast.

“In some respects in Melbourne I think we’re 10 years behind where infrastructure should be.”

The cost of congestion in Melbourne is set to nearly double from 5.5 billion to 10.4 billion by 2031, but Mr Tudge said he is confident of working with the State Government to tackle the issue.

“We’ve got more in common than we have differences,” he said.

“We’re working together well with Melbourne Airport rail link, on Geelong fast rail, the Monash upgrade, and so many other projects.

“The one sticking point is the East West Link … We just want the State Government to give us the green light.”

Executive Director of Policy and Research at Infrastructure Australia, Peter Colacino, defended the report, despite it not accounting for some current infrastructure projects.

“We’re very clear in the report about what has been factored in, what’s been assumed, and the parameters in which the modelling takes place,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Modelling for the audit was completed in September 2018.

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