Billions wasted on infrastructure: report

A new report says the federal government has wasted $10.8 billion on infrastructure in a decade.
A new report says the federal government has wasted $10.8 billion on infrastructure in a decade.

Poor management by Australian governments has seen billions of dollar wasted on infrastructure over the past decade, and a new report warns another $5 billion is set to be frittered away.

Research by Equity Economics says a lack of expertise has resulted in $10.8 billion lost in the last 10 years on projects such as Sydney's light rail, Victoria's regional fast rail and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

These have run significantly over budget with substantial delays and quality issues as a direct result of state, territory and commonwealth government not retaining adequate expertise.

The analysis, commissioned by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, says the multi-billion dollar hit is the consequence of government outsourcing and deregulation.

"Australian governments have become bad customers and sadly this has often hurt workers," Construction and General Division National Secretary Dave Noonan said while releasing the report on Friday.

"We have tens of billions of dollars going to waste because of a deregulation-at-all-cost agenda. This has resulted in burgeoning corporate profits, compromised worker and community safety."

Mr Noonan said the $5 billion likely to be wasted over the next three years could deliver several major public hospitals, 250 schools or fund more than 10,000 teachers or nurses.

He said the coalition government's only answer was to silence whistle-blowers, putting even more power in the hands of the major construction companies.

Mr Noonan also took aim at draft laws making it easier to deregister rogue unions and ban their officials.

"The Ensuing Integrity Bill is a sham which doesn't address any of the big failures in construction," he said.

"All it does is stop sunlight being shone on them."

Australian Associated Press