THE ACT Government this Tuesday released the first ever infrastructure plan for the ACT. Released by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, the 10-year document will be updated annually and includes short and medium-term infrastructure priorities, as well as "visionary long-term projects."
Mr Stanhope said the ACT Government recognises the importance of high quality infrastructure and had invested substantially in the Territory's infrastructure. "Our annual capital works expenditure almost tripled from around $110 million in 2001-02 to $296 million in 2008-09. Works-in-progress for 2009-10 are well on track and will eclipse last year's record spend. In our latest Budget, $394 million has been allocated to new projects, with a cash allocation of around $2 billion towards capital projects over the next four years," Mr Stanhope said.
The Plan details the key drivers of demand for infrastructure investment over the next ten years, including: the changing demographics of the Territory and region, including an ageing and growing population; the need to maintain existing infrastructure as it ages; climate change; and the need to sustain a strong and dynamic economy.
The Plan also itemises infrastructure priorities over the next ten years in 10 sectors, such as Health, Transport, Education and Training, Transport, Housing and Community Services, and Land Development and Planning. Mr Stanhope stressed that the document is a "living document" and that it be revised each year in order to respond to new issues and remain relevant.
Over the next 10 years, the government estimates that 30,000 – 35,000 new dwellings will be built in the ACT, with just over half expected to be constructed as part of Greenfields development in Gungahlin and Molonglo. The remaining new dwellings are expected to be built as urban consolidation, primarily in the inner north and inner south and also Belconnen.
Transport initiatives over the next two years include:
- Park and Ride and Bike and Ride facilities on public transport corridors including Exhibition Park, Erindale Shopping Centre, Phillip Pool, Cohen Street in Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong;
- Implement smart card technology into the transport system; and
- Construction of new bus stations at Gungahlin, Erindale, City West, Barton and Dickson;
- Improve bus shelters, bus stops, community paths, on and off road cycle connections and street lighting.
While over the next 10 years, the government says transport policy and priorities will be on reducing traffic congestion and improving efficiency; encouraging walking, cycling and public transport; and integrated transport and urban development.