Maryland Governor Larry Hogan led a multi-state delegation to Australia for a four-day study tour to explore the country’s innovative approaches for developing, securing and financing roads, mass transit, ports and other infrastructure. The trip also reinforced vital U.S. relationships with leaders of Australian businesses and governments.
Gov. Hogan visited Australia in support of his initiative as NGA chair, Infrastructure: Foundation for Success, which seeks to build on and international successes in furnishing and maintaining the physical assets that are crucial to economic competitiveness and quality of life in states and territories.
“As we reaffirm a century of Mateship, I was honored to lead a mission to Australia to strengthen relationships among leaders of the states and territories of the two countries,” said Gov. Hogan. “Our countries have strong cultural and commercial ties, and cooperate in many areas, including cybersecurity, defense and aerospace, biotechnology, and education. This mission was all about extending our partnership in infrastructure, and looking at innovative ways to tackle an issue that affects our economic competitiveness and quality of life.”
Gov. Hogan was joined by Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, Louisiana Secretary of Transportation and Development Dr. Shawn Wilson, and Washington Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. The U.S. delegation met with Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and South Australia Premier Steven Marshall, who chairs the Council for the Australian Federation. Governor Hogan and the delegation also met with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr.
Gov. Hogan and other U.S. leaders visited Port Botany, the WestConnex civil works project and Sydney Metro’s Martin Place station to learn about innovative tools Australia uses to finance major infrastructure projects and explore modern construction approaches. One of the areas of focus was Australia’s asset recycling program, in which a state sells or leases assets such as ports and airports to the private sector and applies the proceeds toward new infrastructure, using incentives from the federal government. Investment is enabled in Australia by the presence of multi-billion-dollar “super annuation” funds that are essentially compulsory retirement savings accounts.
In addition to discussing infrastructure, the American leaders spotlighted opportunities for Australian companies to engage with their states, which already share more than $1 trillion in bilateral investment. Media coverage of the trip included hits in the The Australian and Sky News Australia; more coverage is available on the initiative website at: www.nga.org/infrastructuresuccess.