Friday 7 May 2021

The shovels weren't shovel-ready

There's opportunity here.
Less than half of the Government’s ‘’shovel-ready’’ infrastructure projects have begun by its first self-imposed deadline, with just 44 per cent of the 150 projects under construction by the end of February.
These things were set up as stimulus when everyone was worried about double-digit unemployment. Unemployment rates instead are below 5%. The projects never received any adequate CBA; the Infrastructure Commission Infrastructure Industry Reference Group just threw together a list of things that they might be able to get out the door in a hurry.

I was kinda sceptical that these things could wind up being delivered in a hurry; here's what I'd written on them a year ago

Why not just pause to reconsider all the ones that haven't started yet? Maybe they make sense, or maybe the money is better spent elsewhere. The government's announced a public sector pay freeze. Maybe they wouldn't have to do that if they could step back and reconsider the couple of billion dollars that they're here spending. 

The urgency behind the projects is gone. The government is short of funds. Why not take a minute to figure out whether the money could be better spent?

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