Infrastructure Australia has released its 2018 Infrastructure Priority List, identifying a $55 billion pipeline of infrastructure investments for the country’s cities and regions.

The 2018 list identifies 96 major infrastructure proposals, including six High Priority Projects, six Priority Projects, 24 High Priority Initiatives and 60 Priority Initiatives.

Infrastructure Australia Chair, Julieanne Alroe, said, “These are the strategic investments recommended by the independent Infrastructure Australia board to best meet the connectivity needs of Australia’s growing cities, strengthen our global role as an exporter of goods and services, and make our infrastructure more resilient.”

An additional $25 billion of projects now off the list and under delivery across the country.

New investment-ready projects like the $1 billion Brisbane Metro and the $800 million Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade in South East Queensland have also been prioritised.

The list also identifies new initiatives to improve rail network capacity in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to meet unprecedented demand in these growing capital cities.

The list is based on the Australian Infrastructure Audit and more than 500 submissions from governments, stakeholder groups and the community, is the authoritative list of nationally-significant infrastructure investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.

For the first time, the Priority List has been published alongside an interactive map that provides an up-to-date view of the nationally-significant investments Australia needs to meet its future infrastructure challenges.

“In the 10 years since Infrastructure Australia was formed, the Priority List has helped establish a longer-term view of our collective needs as a nation — one that enables our leaders to look beyond elections and budgetary cycles, and make evidence-based investment decisions,” Mr Alroe said.

Reflecting the demands of a growing population, Australia’s cities and public transport needs are a major focus of the revised Priority List.

“New investment-ready projects like the $1 billion Brisbane Metro and the $800 million Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade in South East Queensland have been prioritised because of their potential to deliver national productivity gains,” Mr Alroe said.

“We have also added new initiatives to improve rail network capacity in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to meet unprecedented demand in major capital cities.

“The Priority List identifies a number of additional opportunities to improve connectivity between capitals and neighbouring cities. This includes improvements to rail capacity on the Melbourne–Geelong and Brisbane–Gold Coast rail lines, as well as rail upgrades on lines from Sydney to the regional centres of Newcastle and Wollongong.

“Upgrading this infrastructure will be key to enable our satellite cities to develop stronger economic and employment foundations, and links to our bigger cities.

The Australian Government welcomed the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said the Priority List is critical in informing all levels of government and the private sector on what priority projects and initiatives are under development across the country.

“I am particularly pleased to see the addition of two major Queensland projects to the list following the assessment by Infrastructure Australia as having the potential to improve connectivity and reduce urban congestion,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Brisbane Metro with its focus on bus services in inner Brisbane to improve bottlenecks on the South East busway has been assessed as a High Priority project on today’s list.

“The Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade has also made the list for the first time as a priority project which will significantly enhance access to Brisbane from the north.

“The Coalition Government will continue to commit to the infrastructure Australia needs. We are making a record $75 billion investment into nation building projects which is contributing to new heights for both economic growth and job creation across Australia.”

Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, said the updated Priority List provided important input into the government’s deliberations on which major national infrastructure projects should receive federal funding.

“Of the 12 high-priority and priority projects in the Infrastructure Priority List released today, the Australian Government has already committed funding to seven,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Infrastructure Australia Priority List is a dynamic document, with ten projects having now dropped off the list because the government has committed funding to them allowing construction to commence. This illustrates our strong, ongoing commitment to delivering quality, nationally significant infrastructure.

“We will be considering further investment in priority infrastructure in the 2018 Budget.”

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also welcomed Ithe release of the Priority List.

The ARA believes IA plays an integral role in identifying long-term nation-building infrastructure projects that are productive and sustainable for Australia’s future.

“All of the rail projects listed on IA’s 2018 Infrastructure Priority List are important nation-building initiatives and are endorsed by the rail sector,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.

“As Australia’s population grows by around 1.5 per cent a year, rail infrastructure will be the backbone to Australia’s growing passenger and freight needs. To manage the challenges posed to our cities and regions in the long term, Australia will need to ensure that it continuously invests in rail infrastructure.

“IA’s 2018 Infrastructure Priority List provides governments with the foresight to enable change today that will provide the passenger and freight solutions of tomorrow.

“We know that rail is an efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial mode of transport. We also know that rail has lower emissions than road transport, is safer and can help reduce congestion in our cities.

“The significance of these rail projects identified by IA warrants special attention and seeks investment from governments at all levels. Our networks of infrastructure and services connect people and communities, support freight transport across the country, help deliver our resources to overseas markets and continue to generate economic growth and employment.

“The latest update to the Infrastructure Priority List by IA has identified Sydney Metro: City and Southwest as a high priority project that has been positively assessed by the Infrastructure Australia Board.

“IA has also identified the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade and Inland Rail as priority projects, which will bring significant opportunities to our nation.

“Other high priority rail initiatives, awaiting business cases include increased capacity for the Sydney and Melbourne rail networks; Cross River Rail; the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy; the Rail Network Optimisation Program; preserving the corridor for Western Sydney Freight Line and the Intermodal Terminal; preserving the corridor for the rail connection to the Western Sydney Airport; preserving the corridor for the East Coast High Speed Rail; the Port Botany freight rail duplication; the Gawler line rail upgrade; and the Port of Brisbane’s dedicated freight rail connection.”

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