Infrastructure Australia has today launched its mid-year list of priority infrastructure projects in a simpler format that is here to stay.
The streamlined Infrastructure Priority List aims to improve decision-making by providing clearer investment advice to governments, industry and the community, according to Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew.
“As COVID-19 again challenges our communities and the global economic shocks associated with the pandemic continue to unfold, it is vital that the Australian government and other potential investors have access to clear, independent advice on the infrastructure investments that will help our country build back stronger,” she said.
“The Infrastructure Priority List provides evidence-based advice to support an informed discussion about Australia’s investment priorities. It is a resource for governments as they look to respond to shocks and stresses such as the pandemic, natural disasters and security threats, but it also takes a forward-looking view to ensure we prioritise the right infrastructure investments, at the right time.”
Terminology used in the Infrastructure Priority List has been simplified in response to stakeholder feedback. For example, the terms ‘projects’ and ‘initiatives’ have been replaced by the inclusion of ‘proposals’ at four different stages of the project lifecycle.
The ‘High Priority’ classification has been removed to ‘enable decisions based on factors such as timeframe, location, sector and category of the problem or opportunity’, Infrastructure Australia noted. Meanwhile, funded proposals have been removed ‘to provide a focused list of potential investments’.
The release of the streamlined list follows the launch of an Assessment Framework earlier this month, which Madew said has provided clear and best-practice instructions on how to develop strong business cases for major infrastructure proposals.
“With a new, user-friendly Assessment Framework in place, we are now simplifying the Infrastructure Priority List to improve its value, structure and readability and support better infrastructure decision-making in Australia,” she said.
The mid-year update to the 2021 priority list includes just one new early stage proposal, which aims to tackle traffic congestion on Sydney’s A8 corridor, between Seaforth and Mona Vale.
Infrastructure Australia noted that a 2019 audit identified the A8 corridor, between the Northern Beaches and North Sydney, as one of the five most congested roads in Sydney in 2016.
“Without action, it is forecast to remain one of the 10 most congested roads in Sydney in 2031,” the agency warned.
The new proposal has been submitted by Northern Beaches Council. The council will now need to identify and develop potential options before developing an investment-ready proposal for submission to Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure Australia noted.
The Infrastructure Priority List is published in February each year. Since 2020, Infrastructure Australia has also released a mid-year update to ensure investment opportunities are current, and can be considered for funding by governments within existing budgetary processes.
Submissions for the February 2022 Infrastructure Priority List are open until September 3.