Queensland infrastructure priorities kick some goals
Some of Queensland major and much-needed infrastructure projects are a step closer today.
In Infrastructure Australia’s newly release 2017 Infrastructure Priority List, Queensland was delivered some good news as a number of projects have progressed through their business case assessment and are ready for funding.
The report shows four projects have made significant progress over the past year, completing their business case assessment and are one step closer to delivery. A number of new projects have also entered into the list of priority projects and initiatives.
The Ipswich Motorway Rocklea to Darra project, which seeks to increase the southern Brisbane to Ipswich road capacity, moved from being a “high priority initiative” to the top category of “high priority project”.
This meant it had completed its business case assessment and has been recognised by Infrastructure Australia as a project that will address a nationally significant problem and deliver robust economic, social or environmental outcomes.
Funding is now the focus for the project, which is expected to deliver a benefit-cost ratio of 3.8 and provide major benefits in travel time and vehicle operating cost savings.
The Australian Infrastructure Audit in 2015 projected that, in the absence of intervention, the direct cost of congestion along the Ipswich Motorway corridor would increase from around $42 million in 2011 to $139 million in 2031.
Projects that have been progressed up to the “priority project” list after completing their business case assessment includes the:
- M1 Pacific Motorway – Gateway Motorway merge upgrade
- M1 Pacific Motorway – Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes
- Bruce Highway Upgrade – Cooroy to Curra Section C
- Bruce Highway Upgrade – Mackay Ring Road Stage 1
- Inland Rail – Freight Connectivity from Melbourne to Brisbane
While the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland ( CCIQ) is delighted to see the progress being made on these important projects, many infrastructure projects from the previous year remain as “initiatives” and require further development and rigorous assessment to determine and evaluate the most appropriate option for delivery.
Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, which has been on the State Government agenda for nearly a decade, is still going through business case development and assessment.
The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority, which is still in the process of being set up by the State Government, promises to secure funding and start pre-construction activities this year.
CCIQ has consistently called for faster progress to be made on infrastructure planning and delivery.
Building Queensland, which is the state’s own independent statutory body for infrastructure, highlighted in its recent Pipeline December Report the slow progress on a number of Queensland’s priority infrastructure projects and the growing need for new investments.
The report showed the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade was earmarked as “ready for government funding” after progressing through the business case pipeline -- but this had not been reflected in Infrastructure Australia’s latest report and remained in its position as only an initiative.
However, the case with all infrastructure priority plans, including the Palaszczuk Government’s own State Infrastructure Plan, is that funding remains the key lever to seeing these projects come to life.
For major Queensland projects of national significance, it’s important that both the Federal and State Government, as well as industry, can come together and work cooperatively to deliver the infrastructure that is needed.
The UK government in particular has placed great emphasis on this type of collaboration, which is called the “City Deals” model.
City Deals are formal agreements between all levels of government designed to get them to move beyond the political cycle and assist in aligning governments on core infrastructure needs.
The Australian Government, Queensland Government and Townsville City Council signed Australia's first City Deal for Townsville in December 2016.
More of these city deals, across Queensland and Australia, means building new, innovative infrastructure becomes reality and more than just pork-barreling or a political football.
Queensland’s Infrastructure Priority List
High Priority Project
Ipswich Motorway Rocklea–Darra Stage 1c
Southern Brisbane–Ipswich road network capacity
M1 Pacific Motorway – Gateway Motorway merge upgrade
Road network capacity Brisbane–Gold Coast
Bruce Highway Upgrade – Cooroy to Curra Section C
Road network capacity Wide Bay–Burnett region
Bruce Highway Upgrade – Mackay Ring Road Stage 1
Road network capacity Mackay region
M1 Pacific Motorway upgrade – Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes
M1 Pacific Motorway capacity
Inland Rail (Melbourne to Brisbane via inland NSW)
Freight connectivity Melbourne-Brisbane
High Priority Initiative
Cross River Rail (A rail solution to support an integrated passenger transport network in South-East Queensland)
Brisbane CBD public transport capacity
Ipswich Motorway Rocklea–Darra (remaining sections)
Southern Brisbane–Ipswich road network capacity
Port of Brisbane dedicated freight rail connection
Freight rail access to Port of Brisbane
Preserve Corridor for East Coast High Speed Rail
Future connectivity between east coast capital cities
Brisbane to Gold Coast transport corridor upgrades
Brisbane to Gold Coast transport capacity
Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade
Queensland north coast rail congestion
Cunningham Highway – Yamanto to Ebenezer/Amberley upgrade
Cunningham Highway – Yamanto to Ebenezer/Amberley congestion
Bruce Highway upgrade
Queensland coastal cities connectivity
Mount Isa–Townsville rail corridor upgrade
Mt Isa–Townsville rail capacity
Gladstone Port land and sea access upgrade
Land and sea access to Port of Gladstone
Preserve corridor for Salisbury to Beaudesert rail connection
Future urban rail connection to Beaudesert
Lower Fitzroy River water infrastructure development
Opportunity to develop industry and agriculture in Fitzroy region
Connect gas suppliers to eastern gas markets
Constrained East Coast gas supply