AUSTRALIA must build more roads, railways and ports to secure a new era of prosperity, two Reserve Bank board members say.
To continue our 21-year run of growth and rising living standards, we must create a more diversified economy based on high-skilled jobs and high-value manufacturing exports, Heather Ridout and John Edwards say.
Ms Ridout, who is the newest addition to the Reserve's board and a former adviser to the Federal Government on infrastructure, said investing in key urban projects, such as Adelaide's Northern Connector, is the key to unlocking greater productivity and rising living standards to replace the commodity price boom.
"We have under-invested. Congested roads in major cities are a major sign that we're not doing well enough," Ms Ridout said.
"We just keep putting short-term considerations before the real work of building a productive economy."
Dr Edwards - a fellow board member and former economic adviser to Paul Keating - warned that the nation faces many challenges, including a high Australian dollar and an ageing population.
"The big investment boom in mining, which has helped the economy over the last six years, is close to a peak."
Success from now on, Dr Edwards said, "will take substantial investment in factories, offices and mines, roads, bridges, ports, railways, broadband and above all in education and training".
Dr Edwards said the National Broadband Network was the most important piece of physical infrastructure on the table.
"Australia's future will increasingly depend on our success not only in exporting minerals and farm products, but also clever manufactures and high value services."
Michael Deegan, the head of the Federal Government's infrastructure advisory body, Infrastructure Australia, said the overall collective underspend on urban infrastructure now ran to the "tens of billions of dollars".
Mr Deegan nominated work on the Northern Connector and South Road as the South Australia's top priority projects.
Read more at AdelaideNow.