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Roads Australia Insider - February 8, 2019


Australia needs leadership on EV policy, says Senate Committee

The Australian Government should prioritise the development of a national EV strategy and an inter-governmental taskforce to lead its implementation – that’s the key finding of the report of the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Electric Vehicles, released last week.

The inquiry, which received 137 submissions and heard from 85 witnesses, has produced 17 recommendations to accelerate take up of EVs and take advantage of the opportunities the EV transformation presents.

The final Report notes that Australia lags behind other countries in EV take up because of the ‘relative absence of overarching policy direction from Australian governments’.

The committee also acknowledged that without “appropriate regulatory settings, Australia’s near term EV uptake is likely to be modest” with the result of “fewer EV models being available to Australian motorists” as well as delaying “the realisation of substantial economic, environmental and health benefits”.

The committee agreed the Australian government should develop and lead a national EV strategy and that there should be national targets for EV take up. It should develop a comprehensive plan for rollout of public charging infrastructure, as well as develop and implement an EV and EV component manufacturing roadmap.

Infrastructure spending set to peak, says Deloitte

A new report from Deloitte Access Economics predicts the current wave of infrastructure spending across Australia will peak in 2019.

And while a number of factors support a view that overall business investment could lift more sharply than currently forecast over the next year or two, Deloitte’s latest Investment Monitor is predicting slower growth.

The report says there has been a notable increase in the value of infrastructure projects listed in the Investment Monitor database over the last few years.

“Activity is expected Dto continue lifting from the trough observed in 2015, reaching a peak of almost $40 billion in 2019,” says Deloitte Access Economics partner and report lead author, Stephen Smith.

The report says a number of large NSW projects, such as the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest, are scheduled to wrap up in 2019, while others such as the $4.9 billion Pacific Highway upgrade from Woolgoolga to Ballina, the $3 billion NorthConnex, and the $2.1 billion Sydney CBD light rail are expected to be complete in 2020.

Adding to this, some of the largest projects currently underway are near the mid-point of their construction cycle. These include Sydney’s $16.8 billion WestConnex and the $2.9 billion first stage of the Perth METRONET.

“Although the healthy project pipeline will continue to support elevated levels of infrastructure activity, we expect calendar year 2019 to be the peak for this cycle,” Smith says.

“The factors that have supported the current surge in infrastructure spending are beginning to wane. There are fewer assets left to privatise, and the slowing housing market is weighing on property tax collections. That said, the NSW state election, scheduled for March, creates the prospect of additional projects entering the database.”

Key figures for the December quarter include:

  • The value of database projects fell by $27.0 billion to $679.1 billion – a 0.9% decrease from the previous quarter that places the value of the database at a near decade low.
  • The value of definite projects (those under construction or committed) decreased by $17.9 billion over the quarter. The completion of a number of large LNG projects in previous quarters has seen the value of definite project activity fall by $86.8 billion over the year, a 24.3% decrease.
  • The value of planned projects (those under consideration or possible) decreased by $9.0 billion over the quarter. Despite this, planned work has grown by 5.4% over the past year.


Government announces funding for ‘congestion busting’ projects in Vic and SEQ

The Federal Government has been making some major announcements in the past two weeks on funding distributions out of its $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been out and about announcing detailed commitments worth $261 million for 14 projects across Melbourne, as well as a $244 million package of works across South East Queensland.

In Melbourne, the commitments include:

  • $30 million to upgrade Ballarto Road, a key east-west arterial in the city’s south,
  • $50 million for the most congested section of the Calder Freeway – 23.3 kms from Sunbury to the M80 Ring Road,
  • a further $50 million to target the expected massive increase in peak hour traffic on parts of the Hume Freeway,
  • $10 million to tackle congested sections of the Fitzsimons Lane and Main Road corridor in Eltham,
  • $68 million in park and ride facilities at six locations - Croydon, Mitcham, Ringwood, Ferntree Gully, Hampton and Bentleigh,
  • $20 million for intersection upgrades, including traffic lights, and widening works in the southbound direction on the Maroondah Highway from Melba Highway to Ingram Road,
  • $17.8 million for eight intersection upgrades along the Princes Highway at Beaconsfield Avenue; O’Neil Road; Brunt Road; Bayview Road; Tivendale Road; McMullen Road; Arena Parade; and Thewlis Road,
  • $13 million to upgrade the McGregor Road and Pakenham Bypass interchange on the Princes Highway to assist motorists needing to exit or enter the Freeway from the east, and
  • $2.5 million for improvements in the westbound direction on Plymouth Road between Narr-Maen Drive and Midhurst Road in Croydon.

Meantime, in South East Queensland the Government has promised:

  • $50 million for upgrades on the Gympie Arterial Road,
  • $15 million for new park and ride facilities at Mango Hill and Ferny Grove train stations,
  • $7.75 million for flood proofing at Youngs Crossing,
  • $7.5 million for three local upgrade projects at Bracken Ridge,
  • $15 million to upgrade intersections in Panorama Drive and Wellington Street in Thornlands and Cleveland,
  • $12 million to upgrade the Newnham Road and Wecker Road intersection in Mount Gravatt, and
  • $6 million for safety improvements at the intersection of Rickert Road and Chelsea Road in Ransome.

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