Canada could be the source of more investment for infrastructure projects in Australia following a trip by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will seek the support of pension funds to invest in Australian roads, rail, ports and commercial developments when he visits Canada next month.
Canada’s top 10 pension funds manage well over $700 billion in assets and are among some of the biggest in the world.
Mr Abbott and Trade Minister Andrew Robb will visit Ottawa – as part of a trip also taking in New York and Washington DC – to talk to government figures and business leaders, including pension fund chiefs.
Canadian pension funds are active in investing in infrastructure and real estate around the world, including power companies in the US and seven British airports including Heathrow.
The largest, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), committed to a $1 billion interest in Sydney’s Barangaroo South office tower project in July 2012.
Other Australian projects with Canadian interests include the Sydney desal plant, Victoria’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre project and the Port of Brisbane.
Brendan Lyon, chief executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, told AAP on Friday there was unprecedented global interest in Australian assets because of the underlying strength of the economy.
“Canadian pension funds have been some of the most active in this space,” Mr Lyon said.
“Australian infrastructure assets are very attractive to super funds and other equity investors because of the stable, long-run returns and because of the well understood regulatory environment.”
He said it made sense to harness more investment from Australian and offshore superannuation funds.
“The most recent example of this are the huge returns achieved on the Sydney and Newcastle port assets, which delivered gross sale proceeds of 25 and 26 times earnings respectively,” he said.
In Ottawa, Mr Abbott is also expected to meet with Canadian PM Stephen Harper to discuss trade issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Mr Abbott will hold talks on trade and security with US President Barack Obama in Washington.