Posted May 25, 2018 05:14:52 Australia has been in the midst of an economic slump and its economy has contracted by around 20% over the past three years, according to data released on Wednesday.
While Australia’s transport system is still struggling, the country’s economy is also on the mend and the national government is planning to spend $3 billion in the coming year on new rail and transport projects.
“There’s an emerging sense in the business community that the country is coming back from this,” Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the National Australia Bank, said in an interview on Wednesday, ahead of the release of the latest data.
“The outlook for our economy is very good.”
The new rail plans come as the government’s new transport chief, Mark Dreyfus, is pushing for more rail infrastructure investment and the construction of new lines.
It comes as the country also plans to spend up to $1 billion on roads over the next five years.
While the infrastructure projects will be welcomed by many of the business groups and some politicians, some of the measures will not be popular with the general public.
Mr Wilson said while the government has committed to spending $1.2 billion on rail and road infrastructure in the next financial year, it would also like to see more rail investment.
“I think it’s really important that we keep that in mind, so we’re really looking to see if that can be delivered,” he said.
He said while most of the projects would be funded with the new $1bn, some projects would need to be delayed.
“It’s the infrastructure that we’re most concerned about, the construction that we want to see, because of the uncertainty,” he told ABC Radio.
“If we delay a bit, we might be able to achieve that by funding some projects in the interim, but that’s not going to be the case.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest transport infrastructure data for the June quarter on Wednesday with an analysis showing a net loss of $9.9 billion for the year.
The Australian Government’s latest Infrastructure Report shows a net net loss for the period of September to November of $3.6 billion.
The economy is expected to contract by around 18% in 2019, and a further 4.1% in 2020.
Mr Wilson pointed out the downturn in the country was likely to continue for some time.
“We are not going into the next year with a good sense of where the economy is going, but we are seeing some signs of recovery in some regions and there’s certainly a lot of hope for the next few years,” he added.