Australia’s independent infrastructure advisory body has added 44 new projects to its priority list, including initiatives in water security, digital connectivity, social housing and hydrogen.
Infrastructure Australia’s annual Infrastructure Priority List, which is designed to inform the government’s infrastructure investment decisions, now contains a total of 180 projects representing $59 billion worth of nationally significant investment opportunities, IA Chair Julianne Alroe said.
Projects must have around a $30 million impact on the economy per year to be deemed of national significances, or have significant societal, community or environmental issues.
Ten projects have moved off the priority list and into construction, including the M$ Motorway Upgrade, the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook Line in WA and sections of the Bruce Highway and M1 Pacific Motorway in Queensland.
Recognising the energy transition
IA CEO Romilly Madew says the priority list recognises that Australia is in an energy transition, and 2021 sees the addition of Renewable Energy Zone expansions, hydrogren export infrastructure and large scale solar development in the Northern Territory.
“It reflects the diversity need in our energy systems and grids and the inclusion of a number of different proposals including hydrogen,” she said on Friday.
Non-urban parts of Australia are also well covered with more than half of the new additions benefiting regional areas.
There’s a focus on increasing connectivity with initiatives to boost regional telecommunications transmission and enable digital health services in regional and remote parts of the country.
Ms Madew says it’s a recognition of the large numbers of people who have been driven out of metropolitan areas by COVID.
“With COVID we definitely saw that people were moving to the regions permanently, and that really meant that we had to look at enabling infrastructure in the regions to ensure they could take this increased capacity,” she said.
The list also features new road and rail projects including improvements to the Outback Way connecting WA to Queensland, the Parkes Bypass between Melbourne and Brisbane and level crossing upgrades in South East Queensland, as well as improvements to capacity at key.
Speaking at the launch, infrastructure and regional development minister Michael McCormack said infrastructure was crucial to recovering from Covid.
“The list reflects the role that that infrastructure can and will and must play in driving future growth,” he said.
Ms Madew said while IA added a record number of new projects this year, tranches of stimulus packages across Australia meant the infrastructure spending budget was also higher than it has ever been.
“It’ll be interesting to see in the coming year, with the announcement of projects, how much of those are from our list,” she said.
Some of the new projects include:
Renewable energy zone expansions
Hydrogen export infrastructure
Outback Highway access
Newcastle Airport expansion
Digital infrastructure in the Western Parkland City
Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal
NSW social housing
South East Melbourne recycled water supply upgrades
Rail access to Webb Dock
Bowen Basin water supply
Upgrades to level crossings
Development of Beetaloo Sub Basin
Large scale solar development
Port of Burnie and Hobart Port capacity improvements
Barrossa Valley Water Supply
Outer Ring Route capacity
Australian Marine Complex infrastructure capacity
Transport connectivity between Fremantle and Murdoch
A full list is available here.
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