Australia’s infrastructure advisory body has released its first ever mid-year update of the Infrastructure Priority List.
Launched on Wednesday, the update aimed to “highlight the most recent priority proposals at a time when our infrastructure investment needs to progress quickly, without jeopardising the quality of those investments”, according to Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew.
The list now features 12 new infrastructure proposals, bringing the total number of 2020 proposals to 155, including seven high priority projects, 21 priority projects, 37 high priority initiatives, and 90 priority initiatives.
Just one new high priority project has been listed in the mid-year update: the M12 Motorway in Western Sydney. As part of the joint federal-New South Wales governments’ Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, the 16km dual-carriage motorway would provide interchanges connecting the Northern Road, Western Sydney Airport and the M7 Motorway.
The remaining NSW projects added to list — ranked as “priority” — include “more trains and more services” along the Sydney rail network, the Port Botany rail line duplication and the Cabramatta passing loop for freight trains.
In WA, priority projects include upgrades to METRONET’s signalling and train control systems and improvements along the Morley–Ellenbrook line.
The two new high priority initiatives are both based in Queensland: network safety improvements to the Queensland regional road, and improvements to the capacity of the transport corridors between the Brisbane CBD and northern suburbs.
The five new priority initiatives include modernisation to Canberra’s Australian Institute of Sport, with the four remaining initiatives based in Queensland.
Four existing proposals have also been updated, to “reflect when a proposal is taken up by new proponents, progresses to new stages, adapts to new challenges or becomes more time-critical”. The advisory body is currently calling for submissions to the priority list so it can remain relevant.
Madew said the priority list would be a “critical tool” for governments across the country as they attempt to tackle the economic impacts of COVID-19, as it would direct investment to projects that would “kick-start economic growth and have the greatest returns for all Australians”.
“Australia is planning its recovery from a rolling series of crises: drought, flood, the bushfires and now COVID-19,” she said.
“As we look forward, the focus is on delivery and as the nation’s infrastructure advisory body, we are continuing to improve our ability to move quickly to identify investments that will improve productivity — this is about expanding the pipeline, keeping the economy growing, helping to create jobs and attract investment.”
The update noted that IA has been working collaboratively with the federal government to provide advice on a staged response for managing and recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One critical element of our advice is to maintain a pipeline of nationally significant infrastructure investments,” it said.
“Nationally significant infrastructure projects are long-term investments, typically considering a 30-year view of the project’s social, environmental and economic impacts. In making these recommendations, Infrastructure Australia continues to take a long-term view and has also considered the sensitivity of key planning assumptions using the best data available to us.”