Greens spokesperson for finance, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, responded to Scott Morrison’s exhalations about superannuation funds’ level of investment in Australia.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Scott Morrison should have a look in the mirror if he wants to see what’s frustrating super funds’ efforts to invest in Australia.
“The May Budget shows federal funding for infrastructure is set to fall off a cliff over the forward estimates. Annual payments to state and local governments for infrastructure will go from $9 billion this year to $4 billion in four years’ time.
“Instead of blaming anyone and everyone else for the reluctance of investors, the government needs to get over its ‘debt phobia’ and help facilitate the infrastructure of the future.
“The government should be issuing infrastructure bonds to finance investment in rail, renewable energy and much needed local upgrades, something superannuation funds are more than happy to invest in.
“Outgoing Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, only two weeks ago reiterated his call for government not to shy away from debt for productive infrastructure.
“Glenn Stevens also pointed out the elephant in the room: that housing debt is the real cause for concern.
“But, instead, this government in happy to leave in place the policies that are fuelling a real-estate bubble and is still proposing corporate tax cuts that would see billions of dollar of revenue shifted off-shore. And they’re having a crack at super funds? Give me a break, ” he concluded.
Last year, Senator Whish-Wilson chaired a select committee inquiry into federal government investment in infrastructure. This inquiry unanimously recommended the issuance of infrastructure bonds to finance productivity-enhancing infrastructure.
Budget Paper No. 3 — Table 2.9:
Payments to support State infrastructure services ($ million)