New national infrastructure list disappointing … and discriminates against the outer suburbs

02 July 2010

The new National Infrastructure Priority List, released today, will disappoint the residents of Sydney and Brisbane and introduces new funding criteria discriminating against urban communities on the edge of Australia’s cities, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforce’s chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that no Sydney or Brisbane urban infrastructure projects are identified as “ready to proceed”.


“The highest rated Sydney project is the South West Rail Link, but even that’s not regarded as ‘ready to proceed’, despite the fact that the project is already underway,” Mr Gadiel said.


The Sydney and Brisbane public transport systems are yet to be funded by the Federal Government, despite the generous assistance extended to other state capitals.


“This list will be a great disappointment to Sydneysiders and Brisbanites.


“We had expected that, following last year’s allocation of $4.5 billion to Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast, new projects and Sydney and Brisbane would now win the support of Infrastructure Australia.


On a separate point, Mr Gadiel said he hoped the Federal Government would reject Infrastructure Australia’s new criteria for assessing urban infrastructure projects.


“Prime Minister Gillard has questioned whether the infrastructure in western Sydney, western Melbourne or the Gold Coast growth corridor is good enough,” Mr Gadiel said.


“Yet Infrastructure Australia has come up with new rules that deny these important growth regions the opportunity to get federal funding for the infrastructure they need.


“The new criteria discriminates against new and emerging suburbs on the edges of the existing urban footprint,” he said.


“Public transport that facilitates the development of new suburbs on the edges of the cities will now be viewed less favourably by Infrastructure Australia.


“Similarly federal funding applications for new or upgraded major roads to connect land release areas to existing urban communities are unlikely to get support under these new rules.


“What’s more, new motorways designed to help motorists get from the edge of cities into urban CBDs are to be viewed dimly by Infrastructure Australia this will make it harder to secure support for projects such as Sydney’s M4 east extension.


“We hope the Prime Minister intervenes and overturns these new rules.”


Mr Gadiel said that the decision by the Federal Government to develop a population policy suggests that the future shape of our urban communities will be decided federally.


“This responsibility carries with it the obligation to fund our cities’ infrastructure requirements as the demand for housing, shopping precincts and new workplaces continues to grow,” Mr Gadiel said.


“The Federal Government has placed cities infrastructure front-and-centre in the community’s mind.


“The Federal Government needs to commit to an annual rolling program of funding cities infrastructure, including expanded public transport, motorways and key arterial roads crucial to growth.


“It’s crucial that infrastructure servicing new suburbs at the edge of cities be supported, as well as the infrastructure vital to creating compact, pedestrian friendly residential communities in the inner and middle ring suburbs of cities.”


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $78 billion to the national economy each year and creates 849,000 direct jobs.



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