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Call for fast-tracked infrastructure investment

Infrastructure Australia has released its 2021 Priority List, which the nation’s property industry has labelled a “wake-up call” for governments to fast-track investment to speed up economic recovery.

Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Priority List, which was released on February 26, added 44 new proposals to the $59 billion project pipeline available for consideration by Australia’s governments.

High-priority projects include construction of a new 16km, dual-carriage M12 Motorway in Western Sydney, Western Sydney airport and a City and Southwest Sydney Metro; the M80 Ring Road Upgrade and North East Link to provide connectivity between M80 and M3 in outer northeast Melbourne; and the Brisbane Metro rail upgrade.

In her foreword, Infrastructure Australia Chair Julianne Alroe said the Priority List also highlights numerous opportunities to drive economic development in regional communities. 

“It puts a strong focus on regional infrastructure service quality, including improving digital connectivity and internet quality in regional areas and investment to support digital health services in regional and remote Australia as immediate investment priorities,” she said.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the updated list revealed the scale of the challenge facing the nation in order to meet increasing infrastructure needs.

He said Infrastructure Australia had thrown down the gauntlet to federal and state governments to tackle what he described as the nation’s “significant infrastructure deficit”.

“Of the 180 projects on the list, Infrastructure Australia says we need 67 per cent within the next five years.

“While it is promising to see 10 projects roll off the list and begin construction, this rate of delivery will see supply continue to fall behind demand.”

The Property Council explained Infrastructure Australia’s new list presented an opportunity for governments to continue efforts to stimulate economic recovery while simultaneously making progress on Australia’s long-standing infrastructure backlog.

“The very real costs of infrastructure shortfalls are felt by every Australian, whether through congestion, higher costs of doing business, or housing affordability,” Mr Morrison said.

With a federal election looming, the property industry has called on all parties to continue to use Infrastructure Australia and its annual priority list to de-politicise 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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