Luci Ellis: How infrastructure fits in

Speech by Ms Luci Ellis, Assistant Governor (Economic) of the Reserve Bank of Australia, at the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) Leaders' Luncheon, Sydney, 15 June 2018.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
15 August 2018

I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today, and conscious of the infrastructure expertise in the room. There wouldn't be anything I could add to what you know about project design, selection or funding. What I would like to do today is place infrastructure in a broader context. Specifically, I plan to talk about the role of infrastructure from the perspective of someone involved in macroeconomic policy: the policy challenges and opportunities, the work of the G20 and role of infrastructure as not just an engine of growth but, more importantly, an enabler of growth.

What Is Infrastructure?

Before getting into that, it's useful to define what we are talking about. When macroeconomists think about infrastructure, we think about the capital goods that provide public services. They are shared facilities that help economies function well. These include the structures - that is, the things produced by the construction industry that, unlike buildings, don't have roofs. But there are also many other shared facilities that promote a well-functioning economy and society. One example of those other important pieces of infrastructure is the New Payments Platform that was launched recently. There are also important social infrastructures such as our legal system, or our frameworks for safeguarding children. But for the purposes of my talk, I will focus on the things that are tangible.