Infrastructure Australia sets out government priorities to boost Australia’s resilience to climate change

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday February 26, 2020

The body tasked with advising governments on infrastructure reform has urged all jurisdictions to invest in projects and initiatives that would better protect Australia from national disasters exacerbated by climate change.

Infrastructure Australia has released its 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, presenting 147 proposals adding up to more than $58 billion.

IA chief executive Romilly Madew said the list highlighted Australia’s need to be resilient.

“Compounding issues of unprecedented infrastructure demand, severe drought and other environmental changes require a focus on our resilience strategies and a consensus on where to invest now for our nation’s future prosperity.”

The list included six high priority projects, 17 priority projects, 36 high priority initiatives, and 88 priority initiatives.

Madew noted five of the new high priority initiatives addressed water, the rapidly growing waste problem, coastal inundation and road maintenance.

The body specifically identified the need for a national water strategy, as well as a town and city water security initiative.

“In response to this call to action, we’re expecting a range of solutions to be considered for capturing, managing and distributing water, along with improvements in reporting and use of data in the water sector,” she said.

Necessary improvements to road safety and mobile telecommunications coverage in remote and regional areas were also identified, which Madew said would provide people with critical services such as emergency alerts.

The list supported upgrades to Sydney’s M4 Motorway, and Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road.

IA also proposed the development of a national Indigenous art and cultural facilities program, and a national fast-charging network for electric cars.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said the list was “a huge call to action” for governments.

He argued governments must plan, fund and deliver new infrastructure on a larger scale and over a longer period of time than ever experienced before.

“This will require a new mindset from our governments and the community — one which is always focused on constantly planning and building for the future,” he said

The list was developed using data from the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and submissions from all levels of governments, industry and the community.

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