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2021 Infrastructure Australia Priority List released 

26 February, 2021

 

Infrastructure Australia today released its updated Priority List, which provides evidence-based advice to help decision makers identify Australia’s spending priorities and deliver the infrastructure most needed by Australian communities. 

 

NGAA enjoys a strong collaborative relationship with Infrastructure Australia and it is pleasing to see included in today’s update a range of projects and initiatives impacting outer metropolitan growth areas across the country. A number of projects were also updated, bringing forward their recommended timeframes – an indication of the urgency of growth area’s infrastructure challenges. 

 

To qualify for assessment by Infrastructure Australia, a project must be of national significance. While many smaller local projects NGAA councils advocate for do not fit that definition, the major projects listed by Infrastructure Australia will add enormous value and address some of our most pressing concerns around responses to and preparation for population growth.  

 

Here is a snapshot of the some of the newly listed projects and initiatives impacting growth areas, with special mention to Perth’s South West Group and the South East Melbourne group for securing their project’s place. The full list is on the Infrastructure Australia website.

 

Added to the Priority Projects list: 

 

Prospect Highway Upgrade - High traffic volumes and limited capacity on the Prospect Highway between Reservoir Road and St Martins Crescent are leading to congestion and safety issues. This upgrade will improve Western Sydney road network capacity in Blacktown.  

 

Armadale Road Bridge - The Cockburn Central area is projected to experience high population growth, with the number of people living in the City of Cockburn forecast to reach 170,000 by 2031, a 60% increase from 2016. Ongoing development and the rapid population growth is significantly increasing the volume of traffic travelling to and through the area. Without intervention, the additional pressure from population growth is expected to worsen travel outcomes, increase safety risks, and may affect development plans within the region. 

Added to the High Priority Initiatives: 

 

Digital infrastructure to enable smart technologies The Western Parkland City is being developed as one of Greater Sydney’s three cities. It will have a population of more than 1.5 million by 2036. The initiative is for developing the digital foundations of the Western Parkland City to support future technological infrastructure, such as 5G and 6G antennas, public Wi-Fi networks and sensor networks. Enabling infrastructure could include smart street furnituresmart poles that provide mobile internet access, street lighting and security cameras; and a high-capacity telecommunications transmission network. 

 

Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal - The total volume of freight that is coming to or from Western Sydney is expected to increase from 18.5 million tonnes in 2014 to 41 million tonnes by 2041. Currently there is no freight rail serving the Western Sydney Employment Area, which is located close to the new Western Sydney International Airport (due to open in 2026). Without a freight rail link, this area will rely on road freight to transport goods to and from Port Botany. 

 

Added to the Priority Initiatives list: 

 

South East Melbourne recycled water supply infrastructure upgrades - Climate change, population growth and ageing assets present potential longer-term water security problems for Melbourne. Climate-independent water supply sources can help address the problem. Melbourne’s Eastern Treatment Plant produces over 130 billion litres of recycled water each year. Currently, about 95% (123 billion litres) of this water is treated and safely discharged into the Bass Strait. There is an opportunity to re-use more of this water to safely irrigate high-value horticulture crops, parks, sporting fields and green open space, rather than using potable water for these purposes. This can reduce overall demand for potable water and contribute to Melbourne’s water supply security. Other potential benefits include reducing urban heat effects and increasing amenity, recreation, health, environmental and irrigated agriculture benefits. 

 

Ipswich to Springfield transport capacity - Rapid population growth in Ipswich is increasing demand on the corridor to Springfield – a nearby major activity centre. The Queensland Government expects the population of the Ipswich Local Government Area to more than double from 222,000 residents in 2019 to 558,000 by 2041. The Centenary Highway is a strategic road connection between Ipswich and Springfield, passing through the growth area of Ripley. The City of Ipswich forecasts the number of daily trips on the highway to grow from approximately 7,500 trips in 2016 to nearly 40,000 trips by 2036. Existing public transport options between Ipswich and Springfield are not competitive with car travel times. Bus trips take between 1.5 to 3.5 times longer than the fastest on-road route. 

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