Australia

Infrastructure Australia releases fourth review of infrastructure priorities and performance

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia has released its fourth review of national infrastructure priorities and performance, highlighting the vital role of infrastructure in contributing to national productivity and quality of life.

The report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), Progress and Action, includes Infrastructure Australia's annual infrastructure priority list.

In releasing the report, Chairman Sir Rod Eddington called on governments, industry and the community to look long and hard at the nation's future infrastructure needs and the sort of cities and regions we want to live in.

"Our communities deserve appropriate, well-functioning infrastructure and we need to examine ways to provide these assets at least cost to the community. The results of not doing enough are traffic congestion, poor access to our export gateways, missed economic opportunities and lower quality of life," said Sir Rod.

"We need to continue to identify and assess infrastructure projects and reforms that provide the greatest public benefits. A focus on stronger strategic planning, improved project prioritisation, reforms to remove red tape and ongoing efforts to get more from our existing infrastructure assets need our collective attention," said Sir Rod.

Sir Rod said that in just three years, all 'ready to proceed' projects identified in Infrastructure Australia's first priority list have received funding from the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.

"This is an important testament to the regard for Infrastructure Australia's work across all governments. We remain committed to working with governments, industry and the community," he said.

The report reveals that forty two project submissions were received in the 2011-12 round, with an estimated total cost in the order of $30 billion to $50 billion.

Brisbane's Cross River Rail project, first submitted by the Queensland Government to Infrastructure Australia in 2008, has been identified as a new 'ready to proceed' project. It aims to meet increased transport demand associated with south east Queensland's rapidly growing population.

Other projects identified as 'ready to proceed' are the Melbourne Metro project, the Victorian Managed Motorways Project 1 (Monash Freeway, High Street to Warrigal Road), the Victorian Managed Motorways Project 2 (Monash Freeway, Warrigal Road to Clyde Road) and the Pacific Highway upgrade.

Projects recommended for development funding are the Port Botany and Sydney Airport Transport Improvement Plan, Melbourne's East West Link, 'Transforming the Pilbara: Pilbara Cities', 'Integrating Sydney's motorway network - network charging' and Melbourne's Western Interstate Freight Terminal.

The report also says governments will need to take action to address funding challenges and puts forward options that include applying user charges and pricing mechanisms on a wider basis, the sale or lease of public assets to the private sector and examining ways to increase the allocation of government funding for infrastructure from the existing revenue base.

The report, Australian Infrastructure Progress and Action: A Report to the Council of Australian Governments, is available from the Infrastructure Australia website at <http://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/>.

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