Building Big Australia

More than $55 billion of "nation-shaping" projects need to be developed in Australia over the next 15 years, Infrastructure Australia says.

The Federal Government’s advisory body issued an updated Infrastructure Priority List this week. Five of the six high priority projects are to cope with urban congestion in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

There are three high priority projects proposed for Sydney: an upgrade to the M4 Motorway (Parramatta to Lapstone) to improve “connectivity” in outer western Sydney; WestConnex to ease road congestion in inner west Sydney and the Sydney Metro: City and South-West to enhance rail network capacity. The other high priority projects are an upgrade to the M80 Ring Road in Melbourne to ease M80 congestion and the Brisbane Metro to build inner city public transport network capacity.

Priority Projects included the Eyre Infrastructure Project (Iron Road) in South Australia, to build Eyre Peninsula freight capacity; the Hobart Science and Technology Precinct and the Myalup-Wellington Water Project in Western Australia, identified as an opportunity to develop industry and agriculture.

The five High Priority Initiatives were all to do with easing urban congestion, in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Infrastructure Australia chair Julieanne Alroe said that “new investment-ready projects like the $1 billion Brisbane Metro and the $800 million Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade [a priority project] in South-East Queensland have been prioritised because of their potential to deliver national productivity gains.”

The Federal Government welcomed the updated list. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said he was particularly pleased at the prominence given to the Queensland projects.

The Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said “of the 12 high-priority and priority projects … the Australian Government has already committed funding to seven … We will be considering further investment in priority infrastructure in the 2018 Budget.” See the full list here.