US President Donald Trump has unveiled his long-awaited $US1.5 trillion infrastructure plan after looking to Australia for inspiration.
Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey and other Australian officials and business leaders have met with senior members of the Trump administration over the past year to pass on Australia’s experience in privatising and leasing public assets.
Mr Trump announced on Monday what he described as the ‘biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history’ involving selling off airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles International, roads and other federal assets.
‘The framework will generate an unprecedented $US1.5 to $US1.7-trillion investment in American infrastructure,’ Mr Trump told a meeting at the White House with US state and local officials.
‘We’re going to have a lot of public-private.
‘That way it gets done on time, on budget.’
Mr Trump will ask US Congress to authorise $US200 billion over 10 years to stimulate $US1.5 trillion in infrastructure improvements paid by states, local governments and the private sector.
It could die in Congress, with numerous Democrats and Republicans immediately criticising the plan.
Mr Hockey has briefed Mr Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Vice President Mike Pence about the asset recycling program he introduced as treasurer in the 2014 federal budget.
Mr Hockey said in an interview with the Fox Business channel last week Mr Trump was ‘very interested’ in working with Australia to shape his administration’s $US1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
‘The president’s talking about $US1 trillion of infrastructure, maybe $US1.5 trillion,’ Mr Hockey told Fox Business.
‘If America doesn’t build $US4.5 trillion of infrastructure within seven years its economy is going to start to go backwards.
‘It’s going to start to lose millions of jobs.’