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Victoria’s new government has promised to “tear up” the contracts for the controversial East-West Link project. Courtney Biggs/AAP

Rip up the contracts? Why public-private infrastructure deals need to change

Victoria’s public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a mess. Their democratic standing has never been lower. They have always trumpeted better value for money and more timely delivery, but with the contract…
Some US bridges are currently living out their twilight years. Bob Jagendorf

Here’s how to fix America’s crumbling bridges

There are about 600,000 bridges in the United States, and about one in four is classified as functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. This doesn’t mean they’re in danger of imminent collapse; they…
China recently launched its US$50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing. AAP

Why we should question G20 claims of a global infrastructure shortfall

The G20 infrastructure agenda cites an OECD prediction the global infrastructure gap will be worth US$70 trillion by 2030. It is predicting this gap will grow. Yet it’s difficult to assess the credibility…
Tony Abbott is meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week. Lukas Coch/AAP

Abbott’s awkward APEC moment over Asian infrastructure bank

Forget shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most challenging task this week will be breaking an uncomfortable silence with Chinese President Xi Jinping. And he…
Victoria’s capacity to handle the millions of containers imported and exported through its ports affects the whole state. AAP/Julian Smith

Project affecting all of Victoria has to be part of election debate

Victoria’s election debate about infrastructure is shaping up around large projects such as the East West Link and Airport Rail Link. But another infrastructure project could also be on the radar: the…
Immigrant faces from the early 1900s watch Ellis Island visitors pick their way through a crumbling hospital. Aimee VonBokel

Artists' installations raise questions about abandoned buildings

This fall, French street artist JR and American cinematographer Bradford Young each installed a series of portraits in crumbling New York buildings. The two projects were not coordinated, but together…
We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting for public transport, but would we pay more tax for improvements? Purple Wyrm/Flickr

Six ways to boost funding for better public transport

Although Australia’s tax-to-GDP ratio is low by international standards, no-one wants to discuss how we might pay for the improvements needed to public transport, and even less the need for taxation to…
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says the economic recovery underway in many markets is “brittle, uneven and beset by risks". Dave Hunt/AAP

The world has an economic growth problem, and more G20 spending won’t fix it

Last week the IMF revised its 2014 global economic growth forecast down to 3.3% from the 3.7% expected six months ago, confirming that most economies around the world, Australia included, continue to underperform…
Global infrastructure agendas must not marginalise developing countries www.shutterstock.com

The pitfalls of the G20 infrastructure agenda

Australia’s G20 infrastructure agenda aims to increase quality investment into global projects. The agenda advocates using the private sector to develop infrastructure in order to boost global growth and…
Australia is pushing for the creation of a G20 infrastructure hub. www.shutterstock.com

Building big: does Australia need a global infrastructure hub?

Infrastructure investment is failing to attract the funding it needs to support global growth. As of June 2014, the managed funds industry in Australia had just over $2.4 trillion dollars under management…
Tony Abbott has the support of business leaders, but will it last? Nikki Short/AAP

The Abbott economy at one: open for business, closed to real reform

In his victory speech on election night last September, prime minister Tony Abbott declared Australia was “under new management and … once more open for business”. There were, of course, specific promises…
Right idea, wrong execution: the Ord River irrigation scheme needed better surrounding infrastructure. isthatdave/Wikimedia Commons

To grow agriculture in Australia, farmers need to think like miners

It’s perhaps fitting that mining magnate Andrew Forrest is in the vanguard of a move to position Australia as a major food supplier to China. Fitting, because if the plan is to work, Australian agriculture…
Bombardment of the Gaza Strip is having devastating effects. Mohammed Saber/EPA

The Israeli assault on Gaza: a public health perspective

It is three weeks since the current Israeli offensive against Gaza began on July 8. But it is now eight years since Israel began its blockade of Gaza. Since then unemployment has risen, public infrastructure…

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