Infrastructure delivery ‘after the fact’ won’t cut it on current population trends
Essential infrastructure and services such as public transport, roads, hospitals and schools are failing to keep pace with the delivery of new housing in growth areas of our largest cities, a new report from Infrastructure Australia warns.
The newest release in Infrastructure Australia’s Reform Series, Planning Liveable Cities, recommends substantial planning, funding and governance reforms to ensure Australia’s governments are appropriately coordinating the delivery of new housing in growing cities with the additional infrastructure and services needed to support it.
RA President, David Stuart-Watt, said this week the report underscored the urgent need to get ahead of the curve on essential urban infrastructure planning and delivery.
“Over recent years there’s been a growing recognition of the importance of integrated urban and infrastructure planning, and there’s evidence that we are getting better at it,” he said.
“But this latest report is a reminder that we have to improve further and faster to cope with our burgeoning population.
“We’re still in catch-up mode delivering infrastructure to urban growth areas established 10 and 20 years ago.
“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes in the future.”
Mr Stuart-Watt said the latest ABS population projections released last month were a clarion call to state and local governments, in particular.
“We need to build a city roughly the size of Canberra every year for the next 25 years to cope with expected national population growth,” he says.
“By 2027 alone, the populations of Greater Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are expected to grow by as much as 600,000, 1.3 million and 1.4 million respectively.
“If we’re to have any hope of accommodating this growth and achieving any semblance of ‘liveability’ in our major cities, we must focus our thinking and planning on delivering the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time.
“At the same time, we need to factor into our thinking the likely impacts of new transport technologies and solutions.
“We are on the cusp of a transport revolution, but there is still a lot of uncertainty as to how exactly it will play out.
“We must accommodate a certain amount of flexibility in our planning scenarios to ensure we can take advantage of autonomous vehicle and drone technologies, amongst others, as and when they roll out.”
NSW Government promises fast rail if re-elected
The NSW Government says it will start work on a fast rail network in the next term of government, linking regional centres to each other and Sydney and significantly slashing travel times.
Four potential routes have already been identified and High Speed Rail expert, Professor Andrew McNaughton, has now been appointed to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.
The four routes identified by the Government are within 300 kilometres from Sydney:
• Northern Route including the Central Coast and Newcastle.
• Southern Inland Route including Goulburn and Canberra.
• Western Route including Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange / Parkes.
• Southern Coastal Route including Wollongong and Nowra.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian says rhe delivery of fast rail on these routes has the potential to slash travel times by up to 75 per cent. Approximate travel times could be:
Journey Current Rail Time Faster Rail <200km/h High Speed Rail
Sydney to Canberra 4:07 3:00 1:00
Sydney to Goulburn 2:31 1:45 0:30
Sydney to Newcastle 2:35 2:00 0:45
Sydney to Gosford 1:19 1:00 0:30
Sydney to Wollongong 1:25 1:00 0:30
Sydney to Nowra 2:39 2:00 0:45
Commenting on the proposal this week, RA CEO Michael Kilgariff said there was "....no doubt that fast rail would relieve congestion, not just on the major road corridors into Sydney but within the Sydney road network itself.”
“It would take cars off our highways and roads and, alongside our existing and planned metro and regional road projects, provide a more balanced, integrated transport solution for residents and commuters.
“It would also take pressure off Sydney’s housing market and population by providing an additional encouragement to people to move to the State’s regional cities.”
Mr Kilgariff said despite the excitement and promise around autonomous vehicles, mass transit systems would continue to do the ‘heavy lifting’ in our future transport mix.
“Earlier this year Roads Australia led a study visit of industry and government leaders to Japan, Seoul and Singapore to better understand how these cities are planning for urban growth and future transport,” he said.
“Public transport investment and culture dominates the thinking of our three near-neighbour cities – regardless of what benefits autonomous vehicles may bring to the table.
“Our delegation took away a very clear message that fast, efficient, safe public transport is more important than ever to the future liveability of cities like Sydney.”
Roads Australia will be releasing the report on its recent study visit next week.
Inland Rail construction officially underway
Construction of the Inland Rail kicked off yesterday on the Parkes to Narromine section, in central western NSW.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, turned the first sod at Parkes, the site of one of 13 individual sections of the 1,700 kilometre rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The first of these – the $300 million Parkes to Narromine section is – being delivered by the INLink JV, comprisding RA members BMD Constructions and Fulton Hogan.
The Federal Government says once fully constructed, Inland Rail will enable faster, bigger, double-stacked trains to move more produce into domestic and international markets, and at a lower freight cost.
There are currently 187 live contracts for materials, goods and services worth $637 million associated with Inland Rail, including the manufacturing of 200,000 concrete sleepers.
The first double-stacked freight train is expected to run between Melbourne and Brisbane in the mid-2020s.
Next stage of North-South Corridor comes to market
The South Australian Government has this week invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the delivery of the next section of the North-South Corridor, Regency Road to Pym Street.
A shortlist of two is expected to be finalised by late February.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephan Knoll, said yesterday the release of the EOI marked an important milestone in the delivery of the $354 million project.
“This crucial project will complete a continuous 47 kilometre non-stop section of the North-South Corridor between Gawler and the River Torrens,” he said.
“It will link the operational Torrens Road-to-River Torrens lowered motorway to the South Road Superway, and is expected to achieve travel time savings of up to eight minutes during peak periods and avoid north-south delays at two signalised intersections.
“It will also allow more efficient access to and from key freight areas of the National Land Transport Network, the Port of Adelaide, the industrial north-west sector of Adelaide and Adelaide Airport.”
Applications now open for CPEE 2019 post-grad courses
The Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) has launched its 2019 program of on-line courses covering roads, pavements and infrastructure asset management.
According to CPEE CEO, Ray Farrelly, Australia’s current lengthy infrastructure pipeline reinforces more than ever the need for increased capability and knowledge in the work environment.
“The key technical areas associated with the design, construction and maintenance of road pavements and major infrastructure assets offer tremendous opportunities for skilled individuals,” he said this week.
“Put simply, updating the specific knowledge and expertise leads to a more productive workplace outcome and for individuals, increased advancement opportunities - and the bonus is that it’s a very productive way for achieving CPD.”
CPEE on-line courses are full accredited and suit participants from the workforce who find it difficult to undertake traditional ‘face to face’ university courses.
The CPEE Master of Pavement Technology and Graduate Certificate in Pavement Technology are very practical and encourage direct application of the skills and knowledge acquired. Most of the units incorporate the latest revised Austroads’ guides.
Two Bachelor courses are also delivered jointly with the University of Tasmania (UTAS), the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Professional Honours in Road Engineering and Construction) and Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Professional Honours in Infrastructure Asset Management).
Single units in each semester can be selected to suit any specific need to update knowledge in key areas.
CPEE is an accredited private provider of tertiary education whose Foundation Members are Austroads and AAPA. It’s also supported by all state road agencies.
For further information visit the CPEE website or call the CPEE office to discuss on +61 (03) 9890 5155