Infrastructure Victoria last week released a draft of Victoria's first ever state-wide, cross-sector infrastructure strategy for the next 30 years, with recommendations including increased densities in established areas, a network-wide road pricing scheme and high-capacity signalling upgrades on Melbourne's metropolitan rail network.
The draft strategy, which is now open for consultation, takes the unprecedented step of looking at every aspect of infrastructure for the state across nine sectors ranging from education to transport, telecommunications, energy and justice.
The independent authority has put forward 134 recommendations worth around $100 billion to address the current and future needs of generations of Victorians across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, with 70 per cent of recommendations having statewide relevance.
Chief Executive Michel Masson said in developing the draft strategy Infrastructure Victoria had taken a bold approach, and not shied away from tackling tough issues.
"While there are 134 recommendations, three areas have been identified for priority action - increasing densities in established areas to make better use of existing infrastructure, introducing a comprehensive transport pricing regime and investing in social and affordable housing for vulnerable Victorians.
"These recommendations have the potential to change the social and economic fabric of Victoria, and are the most important areas for action in the short to medium term," Mr Masson said.
The draft strategy combines state-shaping major projects – such as North East Link and a new airport rail line – with policies and reforms which aim to get the most out of existing infrastructure – such as harvesting stormwater, turning vacant land into urban forests and transforming state schools into community facilities.
"The challenges we face over the next 30 years cannot be solved just by building new things so we have looked at ways to manage demand and better utilise existing infrastructure," Mr Masson said.
The draft strategy is ambitious and complex, but also provides a practical roadmap for the future, setting out next steps for action and implementation targets over 0-5, 5-10, 10-15 and 15-30 years.
Mr Masson said the strategy has been developed through rigorous assessment of available evidence and new analysis it had commissioned, and informed by feedback from the community, two citizen juries, government, academia and the private sector throughout an extensive consultation program.
"Every recommendation is backed by evidence and all of our analysis, independent technical reports and the outcomes of our consultation program are publicly available," Mr Masson said.
Infrastructure Victoria is inviting feedback on the draft strategy, which will be delivered to Parliament in December this year.
"We encourage all Victorians to look at the draft strategy and tell us if our priorities are right," Mr Masson said.