A few days ago, the former Prime MInister, Paul Keating, came out with a proposal for a ‘Reserve Bank for Infrastructure’.
“What Australia desperately needs is a Reserve Bank of infrastructure, that is a public body that nominates the big projects and then gets them going, that’s what I’d be doing.”
On line comment was generally favourable. The idea of taking infrastructure decisions out of the hands of politicians (but putting it where exactly?) was also well received. We don’t trust our politicians. But is there any other group that we do trust? Bankers? Professionals? Overseas Investors? Big Business? (Who would fill the ‘private’ slots in the proposed public-private RB?)
Only one commentator thought to ask exactly what infrastructure Keating had in mind, and what growth might result from it. Which is to my mind the real issue with infrastructure decision making – we don’t know how to do it. If we had clear criteria on what constituted a ‘good infrastructure investment’ then we could leave it up to a professional group to determine. We could even leave it up to a computer algorithm!
How might such a ‘Reserve Bank’ work – and in whose interests?
If such a RB were to be established, what rules would you like to set for it?