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2010 OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2010

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2010

The 2010 edition of OECD's periodic survey of Australia's economy.  This edition includes chapters covering recovery from the crisis, fiscal policy effectiveness, meeting infrastructure needs, and enhancing labour utilisation.

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Meeting infrastructure needs

Adequate and well-functioning infrastructure is a key ingredient to growth and well-being. The benefits to activity of efficient spending in energy, water, transport and communication sectors go well beyond their contribution to capital accumulation. Good infrastructure facilitates trade, bolsters market integration and competition, fosters the dissemination of ideas and innovations and enhances access to resources and public services. These benefits are particularly important for Australia because of its size, the geographical dispersion of its population and production centres, and its remoteness from other markets. Nevertheless, Australia has an important infrastructure deficit. This is in part due to underinvestment in the 1980s and 1990s, while the rebound in capital spending at the beginning of the 2000s has been insufficient to deal with capacity shortages exacerbated by the strong demand generated by the mining boom, expected population growth, technological progress and environmental concerns. To ease these shortages, the authorities have put bolstering infrastructure to the top of their economic policy agenda. This entails greater government expenditure in this area, but also structural reforms to optimise public and private investment choices and the use of existing facilities with better regulation. This chapter reviews the state of Australia’s infrastructure and the government’s action programme.

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