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Australia has borrowed heavily to weather the recent COVID-induced economic storm. But, in dramatic contrast to the last major global recession, the nation is emerging with little to show for the deep debt incurred.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show infrastructure spending under the current government has dropped off alarmingly: total investment in construction projects for 2020 was $34.9 billion. That is a decrease from 2019 spending, despite the raging pandemic and the urgent need to boost the economy with infrastructure development. Worse, it is $4.75 billion less than the investment in 2018.

Bizarrely, last year’s spend was also less than the infrastructure investment in each of the critical four years of the global financial crisis (GFC) -- 2009 to 2012. And when calculated relative to population or to gross domestic product, which are both far greater than a decade ago, the comparisons are even more dismal.