The Liberalization of Infrastructure
Edited by Matthias Finger and Rolf W. Künneke
Chapter 26: Recent Australian Infrastructure Liberalization
Gary Madden, Jeffrey Petchey and Aaron Morey BACKGROUND Australia is a relatively small country in population and gross domestic product (GDP), with trade critically important to growth and prosperity. Additionally, the nation is geographically isolated from major trading partners the USA, Japan, China and EU member countries. Further, trade is increasingly reliant on mining export growth. In particular, total mining industry gross value added almost doubled between 1985–86 and 2005–06, with these exports comprising 37 per cent of total export value (ABS, 2008a). Tourism is another substantial export component that contributes A$38 935 million (in 2006–07). Also significant is the supply of international education services, contributing A$9 981 million in 2005–06 (ABS, 2008c). Clearly, well-functioning integrated airport, road, rail, ports and telecommunications infrastructure are required to facilitate export activity. This infrastructure must also support the coastal concentration of the population. At 2005, 60 per cent of the population reside in urban areas, with most communities located in coastal cities. By contrast, the national population density is only 3 persons per square kilometre (World Bank, 2008). This sparse pattern of settlement and regional business isolation impose significant demands on infrastructure placement. For example, regional rail, road and air infrastructure is required to efficiently transport goods and services from geographically remote areas. For example, stresses on infrastructure through increased commodity demand and need for an integrated supply chain is illustrated by an infrastructure bottleneck that occurred at Dalrymple Bay Terminal (North Queensland) in 2004–05. In...
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