Feb 17, 2016 - The transport infrastructure recommendations and priorities released today in the Australian Infrastructure Plan will, if adopted, go a long way towards creating more liveable Australian cities.
The accompanying Priority List, in particular, highlights the importance of corridor preservation for future outer ring roads around Sydney and Melbourne and the east coast high speed rail project.
“The 15-year Infrastructure Plan provides an excellent framework to meet the growth challenges of our cities and regional urban centres over the coming decades,” Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt, said today.
“The Priority List rightfully acknowledges that roads and rail are critical not just to our economic future but to our quality of living, now and into the future.
“The challenge is for policy-makers across all tiers of government to put their shoulders to the wheel.
“We hope the Plan sparks a genuine, bipartisan political review process so we can get early traction on some of the key recommendations.”
Mr Stuart-Watt said the Infrastructure Plan revived ‘good, old-fashioned strategic thinking backed up by efficient delivery’, and offered a strong, equitable structure that would incentivise state and local governments to deliver infrastructure reform, and at the same time allow well-regulated markets to deliver an improved level of service at the best value cost.
“It’s especially pleasing that this Plan puts the customer first,” he said.
“The starting point is – how can we make the delivery of essential services like transport, telecommunications, water and energy more efficient and cost effective for businesses and ordinary Australians?
“From here, IA has built a strong, evidence-based case for genuine reform, including a greater role for the private sector in funding and financing infrastructure and a more equitable approach to how we as users pay for infrastructure like roads.
“Roads Australia has been arguing for the last five years for an informed debate on road usage charging as part of a broader transport funding reform agenda.
“In our submission to Infrastructure Australia, we called for timetables for the introduction of heavy and light vehicle charging, and it’s pleasing that the Plan recommends a five and 10-year timeframe respectively.
“We don’t think these timeframes are too ambitious. Our industry will be keen to work with the community and governments to achieve these important reforms.”
Mr Stuart-Watt welcomed the adoption of a number of other recommendations from Roads Australia’s submission.
“The Plan’s recognition of the importance of initiatives like long-term, integrated planning across all states and territories; a long term pipeline of projects; post-completion reviews of projects to share learnings across our industry; the harmonisation of technical standards and specifications; the inclusion of whole of life maintenance costs in business cases; and the use of infrastructure design tools like Building Information Modelling (BIM) will be welcomed by Australia’s road designers, builders and operators.”
Mr Stuart-Watt said the Plan’s recommendation to develop a corporatised delivery model for roads was also significant, and would help reshape the way roads were valued and funded.