Infrastructure Australia projects
Infrastructure projects around the country. Image – Infrastructure Australia.
  • 44 new projects have been added to the list of infrastructure priorities
  • Of the $59B pipeline, only 10 are now underway
  • PCA says that governments are moving too slowly

In a sharp critique calling out the slow rollout of Australia’s infrastructure projects, the Property Council of Australia has called on governments across the country to “wake up … fast track investment … [and] … speed up the economic recovery.”

Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Priority List, released last week, added 44 new proposals to the $59 billion project pipeline available for consideration by Australia’s governments.

According to the independent advisor, this was the largest ever number of new proposals added to the priority list. More than half the projects impact regional communities.

“The 2021 Infrastructure Priority List is a comprehensive overview of nationally-significant infrastructure needs, providing an investment roadmap to guide Australia’s economic recovery and improve quality of life as we continue to absorb and respond to the shocks of COVID-19,” said Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

“We have added a record 44 new proposals to the Priority List for consideration by Australia’s governments across the broad spectrum of transport, energy, water, waste, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

“Spanning all key infrastructure sectors and highlighting investment opportunities across Australia’s unique geographies, the 2021 Priority List reflects our changing infrastructure needs,” she said.

Ten projects have moved off the list and are now underway. These include the M4 motorway upgrade in NSW, Metronet railway line (WA) and sections of the Bruce Highway and M1 Pacific motorway (Qld).

The Property Council argues that the new – longer – list is an opportunity for governments to stimulate economic recovery while also making progress on our ever-increasing infrastructure backlog.

“Infrastructure Australia has thrown down the gauntlet to Federal and State Governments to finally tackle Australia’s significant infrastructure deficit,” said Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison.

“Of the 180 projects on the list, Infrastructure Australia says we need 67% within the next 5 years.”

“While it is promising to see ten projects roll off the list and begin construction, this rate of delivery will see supply continue to fall behind demand,” Mr Morrison said.

Ken Morrison PCA
Ken Morrison, CEO of the Property Council of Australia. Photo – LinkedIn.

With a federal election due within a year, the peak body is calling on all parties to continue to use Infrastructure Australia and their annual Priority List to depoliticise infrastructure provision.

“Election commitments that do not make progress on these evidence-based priorities are counterproductive,” Mr Morrison said.

“Industry confidence will be buoyed by any bipartisan and cross-jurisdictional efforts to realise these game-changing projects as 2021 progresses.”

“Going big on infrastructure investment will not only fast track Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, but also set up our communities for high productivity and future success.”

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