Federal debt boss: why borrowing isn’t easy

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 4 : 26-Aug-19

Australian Office of Financial Management CEO Rob Nicholl has rejected suggestions that the federal government’s capacity to increase its borrowings has been boosted by the downturn in bond yields. The yield on 10-year government bonds fell below the cash rate of one per cent earlier in August, and Nicholls argues that demand for government debt has not risen despite a global downturn in bond yields. The federal government is resisting pressure to ramp up its infrastructure spending instead of prioritising a return to a Budget surplus.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY. OFFICE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Billions for big projects must roll on

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 13-Aug-19

Infrastructure Australia’s latest audit has stated that the current boom in infrastructure spending needs to be maintained over the next 15 years if living standards are to be maintained. Infrastructure Australia states the annual cost of road congestion is tipped to grow by $18.9 billion to $38.8 billion in just over a decade without additional investment, while it states energy prices have risen 50 per cent since its last audit, which was undertaken in 2015. Australia’s population is expected to increase to 31.4 million over the next 15 years, but Infrastructure Australia says spending in major cities like Sydney and Brisbane is not keeping pace with population growth, particularly in outer suburbs.

CORPORATES
INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA

Pull your weight: Feds tell states

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 16-Jul-19

Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge has called on the states to accelerate new infrastructure projects where possible to help stimulate the Australian economy. While noting that capacity constraints in the construction sector are at their highest level since the resources boom, Tudge has suggested three areas where new infrastructure can be fast-tracked, including the 166 small urban congestion projects that the federal government announced in the lead-up to the 18 May election.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA

States urged to sell $220b in public assets rather than increase debt

Original article by Mark Ludlow
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 20-Jun-19

The net debt of Australia’s state governments is set to rise sharply in coming years to finance infrastructure projects, but analysis shows that they have almost $220bn worth of assets that could be privatised. This includes $67.4bn worth of public assets in Queensland and $59.bn in New South Wales. IFM Investors CEO Brett Himbury says the nation’s superannuation funds would be keen to invest in state government assets. The NSW government may be open to further asset sales, but Queensland and Western Australia have ruled out this option.

CORPORATES
IFM INVESTORS PTY LTD, INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AUSTRALIA, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSGRID PTY LTD, ENDEAVOUR ENERGY LIMITED

Coalition’s $1bn drive to get regions moving

Original article by Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 1-Apr-19

The federal government’s April 2019 Budget will include an additional $1bn for the Roads of Strategic Importance program. The extra funding will be used to upgrade regional and interstate road infrastructure. The Budget will also include one-off payments to assist people such as pensioners, veterans and the disabled with the rising cost of energy. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the Budget will focus on responsible and targeted spending, while shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says it will be a "highly political" document that will in reality be an election campaign launch for the Coalition.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, SHOOTERS, FISHERS AND FARMERS PARTY

Land title ruling set to cost billions

Original article by Amos Aikman
The Australian – Page: 5 : 14-Mar-19

The High Court has upheld a previous ruling of the Federal Court, which found that the Ngaliwurru and Nungali peoples are entitled to compensation for "cultural loss" caused by the construction of infrastructure such as roads and water pipelines on native title land. The court ruling is limited to 1.26sq km of land at Timber Creek in the Northern Territory, but lawyers says it is likely to prompt similar compensation claims by native title holders across Australia.

CORPORATES
HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, ASHURST AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF TREASURY AND FINANCE, QUEENSLAND. DEPT OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET, NORTHERN TERRITORY. DEPT OF THE CHIEF MINISTER

$1 trillion debt bomb buried in budget papers

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 21-Jun-18

Analysis of budget documents shows that the net financial liabilities of Australia’s federal, state and territory governments will top $A944bn in June 2021, which is equivalent to about $A36,000 per person. Infrastructure projects will be a major contributor to the debt blowout, with New South Wales and Victoria unveiling plans to ramp up spending on infrastructure over the next four years. Meanwhile, credit ratings agency Moody’s has expressed concern about the NSW government’s increased debt in its 2018 Budget, warning that it could affect the state’s credit profile.

CORPORATES
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, NEW SOUTH WALES. THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND. TREASURY

States suffer as PM’s pet projects prosper

Original article by David Uren
The Australian – Page: 2 : 22-May-18

Federal grants to the states for infrastructure projects have declined to their lowest point since 2013-14. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stated that the federal government should not be seen as an ATM for the states and territories on infrastructure, with his government preferring to put money in projects in which it has direct equity, such as Western Sydney Airport. Adrian Dwyer, the CEO of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, contends that there is a considerable difference between direct and equity funding. He says more infrastructure spending is needed to address congestion in Australia’s cities.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Plan now or quality of city life will fall

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Feb-18

Infrastructure Australia contends that governments need to start planning for what it claims will be a population increase of 12 million over the next 30 years. Much of this growth is expected to occur in major capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, but Infrastructure Australia warns that the quality of life in large cities will suffer if planning does not start now on infrastructure issues such as the adoption of user-pays road systems and the development of large "timetable-free" public transport networks.

CORPORATES
INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA

Taxpayers to ‘lose billions on NBN’

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 18-Oct-17

Infrastructure bodies such as Infrastructure Australia need more power and greater budgets to scrutinise the costs and feasibility of major government projects. This is the collective view of Gary Banks, Fred Hilmer and Brendan Lyons. Lyons is about to leave his role as head of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Banks was the first chairman of the Productivity Commission, and Hilmer was an adviser to the Keating government. Banks and Hilmer both predict that the $A49 billion National Broadband Network will be sold at a loss, while they both suggest there was no evidence of any cost analysis before the Federal Government announced its Snowy Hydro expansion plan.

CORPORATES
INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA, INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, NBN CO LIMITED