The federal government’s independent infrastructure adviser has released its latest priority list, a $59 billion project pipeline of 44 proposals spanning social housing, renewable energy, port projects, to railways.
Of the record 44 new proposals, Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said the list “reflects the changing infrastructure needs” of Australia's cities, regions and remote communities in the wake of the pandemic.
“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the way Australians use critical infrastructure,” Madew said.
We have seen changing work patterns, a pause on net overseas migration, and a 200 per cent increase in people moving from capital areas to regional areas.”
Infrastructure Australia added five new priority projects, 13 high priority initiatives and 26 priority initiatives.
The new priority projects include a 10.5 km western bypass for the NSW Central West city of Parkes, an upgrade to the Prospect Highway in western Sydney, a major bridge in Armadale Perth, a ring road around Western Australia’s regional centre of Bunbury and a major upgrade to the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge in Canberra.
Digital infrastructure to enable smart technologies in Sydney's Western Parkland City and New South Wales social housing program are among the 44 new infrastructure proposals on the list, both graded as “high priority initiatives”.
In the past decade, NSW recorded a 37 per cent increase in unmet priority social housing demand, and a 70 per cent increase in homelessness across the state.
With energy initiatives now also on the priority list, the report called for the expansion of renewable energy zones across NSW, Victoria, and Queensland for large-scale wind, solar and hydro projects.
|NSW||Parkes Bypass||Connectivity between Melbourne and Brisbane|
|Prospect Highway Upgrade Reservoir Road to St Martins Crescent||Western Sydney road network capacity|
|WA||Armadale Road Bridge||Perth road network capacity|
|Bunbury Outer Ring Road||Western Australia regional freight network capacity|
|ACT||Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Upgrade||Renewal of transport infrastructure in Canberra|
^ Five latest priority projects from Infrastructure Australia
Madew said more than half of the infrastructure projects on this year’s priority list benefit regional communities.
The infrastructure body warned there was a “growing ‘digital divide’ between well-connected and poorly-connected areas” in the country.
This year 10 projects moved off the priority list and into the construction phase.
These projects include the M4 Motorway Upgrade in NSW, METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook Line in Western Australia, and sections of the Bruce Highway and M1 Pacific Motorway in Queensland.
As for the process, the projects are added to the priority list for consideration by Australia’s governments.
Projects on the list are advanced proposals with developed business cases that are assessed by Infrastructure Australia’s independent board.
Projects remain on the priority list until delivery or construction begins.
Infrastructure Australia's latest high priority initiatives
|Project Name||Problem/opportunity description|
|NATIONAL||Enabling digital health services for regional and remote Australia||Social and telecommunications infrastructure to deliver digital health in regional areas|
|National Electricity Market Dispatchable energy storage for firming capacity||Firming generation for energy network security|
|National Electricity Market Renewable Energy Zone expansions||Increasing renewable energy generation|
|Regional telecommunications transmission capacity||Telecommunications speed and reliability in regional areas|
|NSW||Digital infrastructure to enable smart technologies in the Western Parkland City||Digital and smart infrastructure|
|Greater Sydney water security||Water supply and resilience for Greater Sydney|
|New South Wales social housing program||Social housing conditions in NSW|
|Parramatta Outer Ring Road capacity||Congestion on roads around Parramatta CBD|
|Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal||Freight connectivity in Western Sydney|
|Qld||South East Queensland level crossings congestion and safety||Congestion and safety on South East Queensland’s urban road network|
|SA||Adelaide’s Outer Ring Route capacity||Congestion on roads around Adelaide CBD|
|South Australian road network maintenance||Maintenance backlog and preventative maintenance|
|NT||Enabling infrastructure for developing the Beetaloo Sub-Basin||Supporting infrastructure for potential gas market opportunities|
^ The latest high priority initiatives, 13 from Infrastructure Australia.