Infrastructure Australia has released its annual priority list, with 147 proposals identified as national significance, the largest since its inception.
This year’s list flags a project pipeline worth more than $58 billion, and adds six new high priority projects, and 17 priority projects.
Regional Australia is a focus in 2020 with calls to improve regional road safety across the country and mobile telecommunications coverage in remote areas.
Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew said keeping regional Australia connected on the road and ensuring access to electronic payment systems, emergency alerts, and other critical services, is equally important.
“Truly staying connected requires not only safe and efficient transport options, but also ensuring our towns and regional communities have the same access to telecommunications as the rest of Australia,” said Ms Madew.
Ms Madew said the report also places significant emphasis on building national resilience to drought, environmental degradation, and climate change.
“Compounding issues of unprecedented infrastructure demand, severe drought and other environmental changes, require a focus on our resilience strategies and a consensus on where to invest now for our nation’s future prosperity.”
Key priorities by state
High priority for NSW is the Sydney to Canberra rail corridor, which recommends an upgrade to tracks and railway signalling to enable faster service. The project would see improvements to ageing infrastructure and allow track sharing with freight movements.
Upgrades to the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Lithgow, and improvements to the Princes Highway from Nowra on the South Coast to the Victorian border have also been identified as priority initiatives.
Regional road maintenance remains a priority on the Queensland agenda as two projects in the state have been added to its high-priority and priority list.
Queensland’s National Land Transport Network has been identified as a high-priority project, with the 5000 kilometres of roads and 940 bridges requiring significant rehabilitation.
The report also flagged the poor state of regional roads including Warrego, Landsborough, Flinders, Barkly, Carnarvon, Dawson, Peak Downs and Capricorn highways, as vulnerable to wear and tear as well as weather events such as flooding.
Key road and rail projects in South Australia to remain on the priority list for this year include North-South corridor, the Adelaide tram network expansion and the Eyre Infrastructure Project.
Priority initiatives in Tasmania include the Derwent River crossing capacity and Burnie to Hobart freight corridor improvement to increase connectivity across the state.
Cycling access to Melbourne CBD is new to the list in 2020, added as a priority initiative. Proposed by the RACV in 2019, the project would see 17 suggested routes link commuters to major hubs around the city in a bid to alleviate congestion.
Nine new initiatives and projects have been added to the priority list for Western Australia as regional and rural network safety improvements remain top priority.
The Bindoon Bypass, Great Northern Highway improvements from Broome to Kununurra, and South Coast Highway improvements from Albany to Esperance, have also been added to the list to help improve road connectivity across the state.