Infrastructure Australia has released its latest Infrastructure Priority List, which provides independent, evidenced-based advice to governments and industry on projects that will most benefit Australia’s rapidly growing population.
Upon early analysis of the list (released February 27), RCA notes a marginal rise in projects that impact regional Australia, however the ongoing majority of the projects prioritised are designed to combat the crippling congestion problems of Australia’s ever-growing capital cities.
In light of the whopping $60 billion total capital value of the ‘national interest’ list, there is a critical imperative for governments to look beyond the capital city bias to our regional capital cities to get Australia out of this exorbitant game of catch up that our country simply cannot afford.
Rail and road freight routes connecting metropolitan ports dominated the few projects based in – or implicating – Australia’s regional capital cities, and RCA believes that a greater emphasis on the movement and connectivity of skilled labour in addition to products should be given equal consideration.
In our recent recommendations on how the federal government should assess future regional City Deal bids, RCA called for Federal incentives for state governments to increase their planning and business case development for regional projects, to ensure fare and consistent analysis of the needs of those that live outside the urban growth boundaries of the major metropolitans.
As stated in Infrastructure Australia Chairman The Hon Mark Birrell’s foreword:
“the number of people living in Australia’s regional areas will grow from 5.6 million in 2011 to 6.8 million in 2031 – an increase of around 22 per cent. This population growth means we need to be smarter about selecting projects that best address our current infrastructure gaps and set us up to meet the challenges of the future.”
We need all levels of government, industry and private sector to back our regional cities in infrastructure projects that will help lift Australia out of our congestion backlog made blatantly clear in this latest list.