INFRASTRUCTURE Australia released its latest report in June, providing updated advice on national infrastructure reforms and investments for Australia and updating the nation's list of infrastructure priorities.
The report states that "addressing transport congestion presents the greatest opportunity to improve national productivity." It says that public transport, specifically rail, is "vital to the future success of our cities" and that road and rail networks must be improved to meet the growing freight requirements.
Challenges facing Australia highlighted by the report include population growth, financing of future infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The report lists seven themes for action to meet these challenges as the most important infrastructure objectives for the nation. The seven themes are:
- Transforming our cities – increasing public transport capacity in cities and making better use of existing transport infrastructure;
- Adaptable and secure water supplies;
- The creation of a true national energy market – more extensive national energy grids to enable greater flexibility and competition in the nation's electricity and gas systems and creating opportunities for the development of renewable energy sources;
- Competitive international gateways – developing more effective ports and associated land transport systems;
- A national freight network – development of our rail and road networks so that more freight can be moved efficiently by rail and by road;
- A national broadband network; and
- Providing essential Indigenous infrastructure – improved services for Indigenous communities.
In the report, Infrastructure Australia updates the list of infrastructure priorities and states that "reforms to ensure existing infrastructure is better used should be a top priority for Australia, as such reforms have significant economic, social and environmental benefits with less financial and other costs than investment in new capacity."
Among the list of 'Ready to Proceed' projects - projects that meet all of Infrastructure Australia's criteria - are the Melbourne Metro Stage 1 rail tunnel, Integrated Transit Corridor Development - Route 86 Demonstration (Melbourne), the National Broadband Network, Adelaide Rail Freight – Goodwood and Torrens Junction, Federal Highway Link to Monaro Highway – Majura Parkway (ACT) and Pacific Highway Corridor Upgrades (NSW).