Urban congestion top priority for Infrastructure Australia

By: Andrew Hobbs

Rail upgrades in focus for government advisory body in latest priority list

Urban congestion top priority for Infrastructure Australia
Upgrades to Sydney's M4 Motorway are among the six "High Priority Projects" identified by Infrastructure Australia.


Reducing urban congestion is the aim of five out of the six "High Priority Projects" identified by the board of government authority Infrastructure Australia, with improvements to national connectivity pushed further down the list.

In its revised Infrastructure Priority List, released today, Infrastructure Australia identified a series of projects it said would be the most nationally significant for Australia over the next 15 years.

Four of the six High Priority projects, for which Infrastructure Australia had developed a full business case, were in New South Wales – building WestConnex and upgrading the M4 Motorway as well as improving Sydney’s rail and aviation network capacity.

Upgrading Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road and the inner city public transport network capacity of Brisbane Metro were the other two top priorities, according to the list.

Of lesser priority, but still with a business case prepared, were the Inland Rail project and upgrades to rail connectivity between Beerburrum and Nambour in Queensland and to Sydney’s Northern Road, as part of its Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

The development of a deepwater port and rail connectivity of the Eyre Infrastructure Project for South Australian iron ore developer Iron Road, the Hobart Science and Technology Precinct and the Myalup-Wellington water project in Western Australia were also on the list.

Infrastructure Australia chair Julieanne Alroe said these projects were prioritised because of their potential to deliver national productivity gains, reflecting the demands of a growing population.

Opportunities to improve connections between capitals and neighbouring cities only made the list of high priority initiatives, for which no business case had been developed.

"This includes improvements to rail capacity on the Melbourne–Geelong and Brisbane–Gold Coast rail lines, as well as rail upgrades on lines from Sydney to the regional centres of Newcastle and Wollongong," Alroe says.

"Upgrading this infrastructure will be key to enable our satellite cities to develop stronger economic and employment foundations and links to our bigger cities."

Urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher said the updated Priority List provided important input into the Government's deliberations on which major national infrastructure projects should receive Federal funding.

"Of the 12 high-priority and priority projects in the Infrastructure Priority List released today, the Australian Government has already committed funding to seven," Fletcher says.

"We will be considering further investment in priority infrastructure in the 2018 Budget."


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