Australia is a wealthy nation. The Australian Progressives believe that there is enough national will and wealth to develop a national infrastructure program in the following areas:
- Energy supply
- Water supply
- Agricultural development
- Space industry
- Health service provision
- Regional development and enhancement
Australia is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels. We believe that fossil fuels will soon become redundant in a modern global economy and we should be transitioning to clean, green technologies to sustain our nation’s economy and people into the future and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon footprint.
The AP support a strong energy policy to provide a long-term assurance for industry and consumers and surety for investors.
Our policies are:
- Increased funding to alternative energy research and development
- Restoration of rebates for domestic solar energy fed back into the grid
- Means tested subsidy of solar hot water systems up to 25% of the total cost for new consumers with incomes less than $80,000 p.a and up to 50% for concession card holders
- Negotiated industry subsidies for the establishment of solar and wind turbine farms established in regional Australia
- Encourage the take up of compressed Australian natural gas and the development of the natural gas industry to gradually replace petroleum-based fuels and to back up the transition period to 100% clean, green technologies.
- The transitioning of coal out of the economy to be gradually replaced with green energy systems with natural gas back up
- Funding the research into waste incineration technologies and systems for energy creation purposes
- Exploration of energy research for the adaptation of nuclear technologies for industry
We believe that water is the most important yet ignored natural supply to sustain our future capabilities. We are aware that the effects of climate change have reduced Australia’s average rainfall leading to several and extended periods of drought in southern Australia.
Our policy is to fund a feasibility study to:
- Explore options to build a water pipeline(s)/infrastructure from northern Australia to agricultural production areas of south eastern Australia and other parts of the mainland as appropriate
- Develop options to construct sea water purification facilities in each capital city
- Subsidise the purchase and installation of domestic rainwater tanks in households earning less than $80,000 p.a. up to 25% of the purchase price
- Invest in smart technologies research to improve water consumption for domestic and commercial applications
- Provide education and training for primary sector producers in efficient and effective water management
Future Building must acknowledge that Australia is at extreme risk of environmental degradation due to a range of factors including climate change. Declining rainfall patterns and warmer temperatures have exposed numerous Australia agricultural industries to enormous risk of failure. In recognition of the serious issues that adversely impact Australian livelihoods, economy and environment, we support, in summary:
- The findings from the South Australian Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin System
- Renegotiated Murray Darling Basin Agreement to enforce tighter provisions to private water access and improved river flows
- National education programs and producers for farmers on sustainable agricultural and water management practices
- An additional water consumption levy imposed on the Cubbie Station and similar sized water consumers to be used for improved water management practices
- Feasibility studies on the development of a water pipeline from northern Australia to drought prone regions of southern Australia
- A boost to regional telecommunications and internet infrastructure to allow farmers to access and utilise innovative agricultural technologies
Education is the investment we make into our children and youth - future proofing Australia from economic decline and social degradation. We support a fully funded public primary, secondary and tertiary education system. Our policy is centred upon an upgrade of all metropolitans, regional and remote primary and secondary schools’ infrastructure with a set level of minimum funding guaranteed to regional schools to assure future certainty for those areas
We support the retention of as much defence industry and infrastructure development as is feasible within Australia. We also support the Australian defence industry developing defence capability with other Allied nation partners.
Our policies are:
- Maintaining a minimum of 2.75% of GDP for the defence budget
- Maintaining defence support industries in Australia, with support services and industries located in major regional areas – subject to security and defence operational requirements
Future Building must also include the engagement with the final frontier. We will continue to fund the Australian Space Agency to assist with the development of space industry related infrastructure. Working closely with industry, we will continue to support:
- The expansion of Australia’s national interests in the space industry
- Promoting close working relationships with other nations developing their space industry
Health service provision
We support a fully funded public health system to promote and protect the health of all Australians. Our policies are:
- Targeted upgrade to all public hospitals and allied health services infrastructure to assure minimum health care standards, especially in regional and remote areas
- Reorienting health services provision infrastructure to help support a flexible and adaptable approach to health services delivery in regional and remote areas, including the construction or upgrade of flexible health service centres in targeted regional cities.
Regional development and enhancement
Australia is a very big nation and is relatively unpopulated in regional areas. Future Building must also include the continued development of Northern Australia and would establish or continue to support a Ministerial portfolio for that purpose.
We also support:
- Relocation of viable industries out of the cities and into regional locations
- Development of improved national transportation systems
- Establishment of a local government grants scheme up to $100m p.a for local government to bid for one off infrastructure programs, projects and services
Key to Future Building is our national transportation system. We support a feasibility study for the construction of a new prime single gauge national rail loop transportation system – including a fast train from Brisbane-Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne.
We support the extension of the rail system to continue to Adelaide-Perth-WA coast townships – Darwin-Brisbane to create a whole of country transportation loop. We will work closely with State and Territory jurisdictions to align a national rail loop system with secondary rail development projects.
We also support the expansion of a cohesive national roads/highway/secondary roads systems and maintenance program and would directly subsidise regional local government to assist with the ongoing maintenance of their local primary and secondary roads in regional Australia.
Future Building also includes supporting a significantly increased Commonwealth investment in urban public transport anchored on improving land use efficiency in urban areas and addressing ongoing and worsening congestion. We would also want an end to the privatisation of transport infrastructure to avoid the imposition of tolls and streamlining of services and reduce funding of major urban freeways.
CSIRO and Universities
- Reform funding model to increase financial security.
- Increase funding for all research.
- Develop commercialisation expertise to improve returns on investment.
New Industry development
- Create a new division in the CSIRO and set up a government Venture Capital fund to seed early stage and emerging growth companies in Australia based on their potential for success. Technical and business support to help ensure success and all returns on investment will help grow the fund for more investment.