Top Infrastructure Australia priorities listed

Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road identified as a high priority project, three more on the priority list


Infrastructure Australia has included four new projects to its priority list that will "address some of the nation’s key infrastructure challenges, such as urban congestion and the need to improve national freight connectivity".

Releasing the updated Infrastructure Priority List today, Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies says the board had "positively assessed" business cases for the following four projects:

  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade (Victoria) – High Priority Project
  • Perth-Forrestfield Airport Rail Link (Western Australia) – Priority Project
  • Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (New South Wales) – Priority Project 
  • Adelaide-Tarcoola Rail Upgrade (South Australia) – Priority Project

Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road upgrade has been identified as a high priority project, while the remaining three are listed as priority projects.

Davies says the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2015 estimated that road congestion could cost the national economy up to $53 billion each year by 2031, with road travel times in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra expected to increase by at least 20 per cent in the most congested corridors.

"Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road Upgrade is identified as a High Priority Project on the updated Infrastructure Priority List as it addresses road congestion on a 38-kilometre freeway used by more than 160,000 vehicles per day," he says.

"The M80 Ring Road Upgrade will provide additional capacity on a vital corridor that connects major population centres in Melbourne’s north and west to the CBD, and facilitates access to the city’s port, airports and other major roads.

"The Perth-Forrestfield Airport Rail Link will address the lack of public transport access to the eastern region of Perth and Perth Airport, and reduce road congestion in the city’s east.

"Improving public transport access to Perth Airport will help manage ongoing growth, as passenger numbers double over the next 20 years."

Davies says the development of an intermodal terminal at Moorebank in Sydney’s south-west is part of a long-term strategy to increase the carriage of freight by rail, an argument seconded by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).

"The updated business case shows this project will provide a significant boost to Sydney’s intermodal terminal capacity, allowing for much more freight to be transported to and from Port Botany by rail.

"Port Botany currently accounts for almost 30 per cent of Australia’s container exports and imports, and is projected to continue to grow.

"The Adelaide-Tarcoola Rail Upgrade brings forward the re-railing of 600 kilometres of track originally scheduled to be undertaken over the next 25 years.

"This will improve capacity on the line between Adelaide and Perth, to support the projected growth in national freight volumes.

The independent infrastructure advisor says that investment in the national freight network is a key step to ensure Australia is prepared to deal with the population growth and make the most of economic opportunities through smoother trade passages with neighbouring economies like China and South-East Asia.

"At the national level, the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2015 projected the economic contribution of rail freight services to grow from $5.4 billion in 2011 to $9.5 billion by 2031."

The Infrastructure Priority List, which identifies nationally significant projects and initiatives in every state and territory, is regularly updated after the board has assessed new business cases from project proponents.

ALC welcomes Moorebank inclusion

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal will help support the NSW Government’s aim to double the amount of freight moving to and from Port Botany by rail and NSW Ports’ target to move 3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) by rail in the long term.

"Inclusion on the Priority List reinforces Moorebank’s status as a nationally significant infrastructure project and will help to ensure it is prioritised by governments in their investment and policy decisions," Kilgariff says. 

"Moorebank is critical to Sydney’s freight future as it will support the more efficient movement of freight to and from Port Botany.

"Once fully operational, it will also connect to the national road/rail network, and in so doing, provide a much needed boost to national freight efficiency."



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