​Infrastructure Australia creates roadmap for reform

The plan sets out 78 recommendations for reform, and identifies 93 priority initiatives

Infrastructure Australia (IA) hopes to save the average household $3000 annually by 2040 with the release of its 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan last month.

By making fundamental changes to the way we plan, fund, deliver and use infrastructure in Australia, IA chairman, Mark Birrell, said Australia can get what it needs and improve living standards and productivity.

The plan, which follows on from consultation on the Australian Infrastructure Audit report, sets out 78 recommendations for reform, and provides a roadmap to fill today's infrastructure gaps required to meet future challenges.

Recommendations include reforming the funding and operation of transport infrastructure, completing the national electricity market, improving the quality and competitiveness of the water sector and delivering a telecommunications market that better responds to user demand.

In addition to the plan, IA has included a refreshed Infrastructure Priority List, identifying 93 projects and initiatives. These initiatives were based on a consensus of submissions provided from state and territory governments, peak bodies and the community.

“The Priority List is ultimately a platform for better infrastructure decisions,” said Mr Birrell. "It provides rigorous, independent advice to governments and the public on the infrastructure investments Australia needs.”

Key investments recommended in the list include a new metro rail systems in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; road and rail initiatives to bust urban congestion in Perth; public transport improvements in Adelaide and Canberra; urban renewal in Hobart, and metropolitan water supply upgrades to support Darwin's growing population.

Future initiatives also feature, like the protection of the corridors for High Speed Rail and new ring roads around Melbourne and Sydney.

“Some of the ideas will be tough to progress, but let that all be part of an open public dialogue about the infrastructure people want, the outcomes it should deliver and the best ways to plan and pay for it,” said Mr Birrell.

“The public policy changes and major projects in the 15-year Plan, once delivered will drive our nation's prosperity and maintain our quality of life,” Mr Birrell said.

IA said in a statement it aims to update the plan at least every five years, and the Priority List regularly throughout each year.

“In developing the plan, we have prioritised the user—the commuter waiting for a train, the family paying their electricity bill, and the business looking to capitalise on overseas markets,” said Mr Birrell.