Infrastructure Australia identifies AU$55bn pipeline of planned projects

Out-Law News | 29 Mar 2018 | 2:25 pm | 1 min. read

Australia's independent infrastructure advisory body has updated its pipeline of planned projects for 2018, which contains 96 priority projects and initiatives with a combined value of AU$55 billion (€34.1bn).

The 2018 Infrastructure Priority List incorporates six projects deemed 'high priority' because of their potential to deliver national productivity gains; along with 24 'high priority initiatives', for which a full business case has not yet been made. Five of the six high priority projects are intended to tackle urban congestion, particularly in the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne areas.

Infrastructure Australia is a statutory body which provides independent advice on infrastructure to the government, and assesses the relative economic merits of planned projects. Its annual list, which identifies planned projects of national significance over the next 15 years, is based on submissions from state and territory governments, stakeholders and the community, as well as its own strategic infrastructure audit.

Infrastructure expert Simela Karasavidis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said that the updated list had "been welcomed by many in the Australian infrastructure industry".

"However, a number of infrastructure commentators have queried how the list complements the equivalent lists produced by state and territory governments' infrastructure bodies," she said. "The lack of coordinated and integrated decision-making around these projects also remains a concern."

Four of the six planned projects given highest priority in the document are located in New South Wales. The high priority projects also include one in Victoria, and one in Queensland.

The listed projects include the "investment-ready" AU$1bn (€620 million) Brisbane Metro, listed as a high priority project, and the AU$800m (€496.9m) Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade project in south east Queensland, which is listed as a 'priority'. New initiatives are also included to improve rail network capacity in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and "meet unprecedented demand".

Julieanne Alroe, chair of Infrastructure Australia, said that projects on the list reflected the demands of Australia's growing population, particularly in the major cities.

"In the 10 years since Infrastructure Australia was formed, the priority list has helped establish a longer-term view of our collective needs as a nation - one that enables our leaders to look beyond elections and budgetary cycles and make evidence-based investment decisions," she said.

"These are the strategic investments recommended by the independent Infrastructure Australia board to best meet the connectivity needs of Australia's growing cities, strengthen our global role as an exporter of goods and services and make our infrastructure more resilient," she said.