CCIQ looks for an infrastructure plan with vision and growth

Sunday 13 March, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: infrastructure plan, cross river rail, Ipswich Motorway;

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says a major new Queensland Government report must provide clarity on its infrastructure priorities and vision to grow the state.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the State Infrastructure Plan is a significant opportunity for the Palaszczuk Government to spell out its plans.

“State Government infrastructure spending as a percentage of the economy has halved since 2007-08 and this is clearly having implications for the cascaded economic benefit across the economy,” he said.

“The government must urgently boost infrastructure investment back to at least 4.25 per cent of GSP which is the average for the last 10 years. It currently stands at 2.6 per cent and is projected to fall to 2 per cent across the forward estimates. This cannot be allowed to occur.

“The State Infrastructure Plan is an opportunity for the government to smash through this concerning trend and focus on progressing, as a matter of priority, key infrastructure projects across Queensland to grow the economy.

“The expeditious development and roll-out of the Infrastructure Plan is the single best way to get this the state moving.”

Mr Behrens said the plan was expected to be released in two parts, with a 1-4-year plan for already announced projects and another for “opportunities” covering a 5-15-year horizon.

He said key projects for CCIQ would include:

•             Increase Brisbane CBD public transport capacity through Cross River Rail

•             Increase the South/West Brisbane (Ipswich Motorway) network capacity

•             Freight rail access to Port of Brisbane

•             Gold Coast Light Rail – Stage 2

•             M1 Pacific Motorway – Gateway Motorway merge upgrade

•             M1 Pacific Motorway upgrade – Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes

•             Bruce Highway upgrades

•             Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade

•             Gladstone Port land and sea access upgrade

•             Mount Isa – Townsville rail corridor upgrade

•             Cunningham Highway – Yamanto to Ebenezer/Amberley upgrade

•             Lower Fitzroy River water infrastructure for opportunities to develop industry and agriculture in Fitzroy region

Mr Behrens said there was no point having a “Rolls-Royce wish list” without the means to fund it.

“CCIQ will be looking for the government to also provide clarity around how our state’s significant infrastructure needs will be met,” he said.

“There is widespread recognition among the business community of the important role played by infrastructure in sustaining Queensland’s economic growth.

“An investment in infrastructure represents an investment in our future prosperity.”

In its recent report, Infrastructure Australia had estimated that infrastructure provided a $33.9 billion dollar economic contribution to Queensland, with this forecast to grow to $71.2 billion over the next 20 years.

“It is important that Queensland’s infrastructure networks are the enablers of future economic growth by driving ongoing private business investment and expansion into regional areas; and enhancing the competitiveness of business in both domestic and global marketplaces,” Mr Behrens said.

“This will allow for the future prosperity for all Queensland communities.

“Queensland faces unique challenges of investing and maintaining a geographically expansive transport, energy, water and telecommunications infrastructure network. Currently, inadequate and costly infrastructure is adversely impacting the efficiency of business operations.”

Mr Behrens said Infrastructure Australia estimated that if the inadequate transport networks in Queensland were not addressed the macro-economic cost would be $9 billion by 2031. 

“For business, the practical impact of this $9bn represents higher costs of doing business; decreased efficiency and productivity; reduced access to existing markets and expansion into new and emerging markets.

“The state cannot afford to stall investment in infrastructure as other states, particularly NSW, are moving forward rapidly by securing future long-term projects.

“What businesses need is a well thought-out infrastructure blueprint backed by bipartisan commitment to long-term implementation.

“A significant amount of investment is required in Queensland’s infrastructure and our strongest advice to the Palaszczuk Government is to get going and quickly.”

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