Infrastructure Victoria proposes $100 billion worth of projects to government

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday August 19, 2021

Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said the strategy has outlined how Victoria can make the most of existing infrastructure
Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said the strategy has outlined how Victoria can make the most of existing infrastructure. (AAP Image/Infrastructure Victoria)

Infrastructure Victoria has called for all state government buildings to be more energy efficient, and for all new government fleet vehicles to be zero emissions vehicles, under an ambitious 30-year infrastructure roadmap.

The 2021–2051 infrastructure strategy, launched on Thursday, aims to help the state respond to current and future infrastructure challenges, including rapid population growth and a changing climate.

The report presents 94 recommendations to government that are worth around $100 billion. The recommendations relate to four themes, including confronting long-term challenges, managing urban change, harnessing infrastructure for productivity and growth, and developing regional Victoria.

Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said the strategy has outlined how Victoria can make the most of existing infrastructure, while ensuring new infrastructure delivers maximum value to areas where it is needed most.

“Victoria faces some big challenges over the next three decades including a growing and ageing population, technological transformation, a warming climate and worsening congestion on our transport network,” he told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

“With statewide infrastructure planning, Victoria can be better prepared for the challenges ahead, get better use from what we already have, and ensure the value of every infrastructure project that is built is optimised.”

Read more: Nudging public towards flexible work could help solve Melbourne’s transport issues, according to Infrastructure Victoria

Among the recommendations, Infrastructure Victoria has called for the state public sector to use recycled products where feasible, and for all Victorian government services to be delivered from premises that meet contemporary accessibility standards.

The City Loop should be reconfigured for more frequent and reliable services, while suburban train lines in Melbourne’s growing outer north and west should be extended, the advisory body has recommended.

Masson noted that Melbourne’s outer-northern and western suburbs are expected to gain more than 800,000 new residents over the next 30 years.

“By better connecting outer suburban growth areas and the regions to Melbourne, we can provide fairer access to jobs, transport and services for all regardless of postcode,” he said.

“Every Victorian deserves good access to jobs, services, and public transport whether they live in Mildura, Middle Park, Melton or Mallacoota”.

Some recommendations have also considered the medium and long-term impacts of COVID-19, with the pandemic further highlighting the need to embed resilience in infrastructure.

Infrastructure Victoria delivered its inaugural infrastructure strategy in 2016. Of the 137 recommendations in that roadmap, nearly 90% have been completed or are underway.

The Victorian government is expected to respond to the strategy’s recommendations and deliver a five-year infrastructure plan within 12 months.

The launch of the strategy has coincided with the release of a new report from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, which found that several government agencies ‘are not sufficiently strategic in planning for the material and human resources they need to deliver major government infrastructure projects’.

The audited agencies included the Department of Treasury and Finance and its Office of Projects Victoria, the Department of Transport and its Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

VAGO found the agencies’ lack of strategic planning could risk cost overruns and delays.

“The agencies have identified potentially critical resource shortages and risks. However, there are significant gaps in the information they use to assess and address these shortages and how they coordinate this work,” the report said.

“As a result, no agency fully understands the construction industry and public sector’s ability to deliver the government’s pipeline, or how effective their work to mitigate resource shortages is. The audited agencies’ advice to government does not consistently disclose the extent of these knowledge gaps. This reduces the reliability of their advice to the government about these risks.”

VAGO made 11 recommendations to the agencies, with six of those relating to the need for the agencies to determine the size and timing of resource shortages and risks for the government and transport pipelines. The remaining recommendations related to strengthening the agencies’ advice to government and their planning on how to address shortages and risks.

Read more: A tale of two juries: shaping Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year strategy


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