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The Queensland Government has allocated $300 million of its new State Infrastructure Fund to address “critical” road and rail upgrades.
The Queensland Government has allocated $300 million of its new State Infrastructure Fund to address “critical” road and rail upgrades.

New infrastructure plan to boost confidence

A state government has released its latest state infrastructure plan, which outlines a pipeline of projects that could improve investment confidence as well as several reform measures.

The Queensland State Infrastructure Plan, said to be the first to be released in the state in more than three years, included a four-year forward program of infrastructure projects that were either in planning, approaching the procurement and construction phase, or that were already underway.

Jackie Trad, Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, said that having a “transparent pipeline of work is vitally important”, adding that the program aimed to provide the private sector with the confidence to invest in staff and resources.

“Through the State Infrastructure Plan, we now have an infrastructure blueprint that will meet the future demands of our population and deliver economic growth and jobs for Queenslanders year after year through better infrastructure planning and better decision-making,” Trad stated. “We are completely transforming how our state prioritises infrastructure, by taking the politics out of the planning process.”

The document outlined a number of reforms to the way the Queensland Government would plan, prioritise and invest in infrastructure going forward, including:

  • The establishment of an Infrastructure Cabinet Committee to drive infrastructure co-ordination and development.
  • The establishment of an Infrastructure Portfolio Office to co-ordinate and integrate state government infrastructure, land use and economic planning.
  • The review of “fragmented” local government infrastructure grants programs to optimise prioritisation.
  • An increased focus on funding infrastructure through public “value capture” financing.

The Queensland Government also announced a new $500 million State Infrastructure Fund to support the plan. The government allocated $300 million for “critical” road and rail upgrades and $180 million for “regionally significant” infrastructure projects. It was said the remaining $20 million would go towards funding business cases for other priority projects.

Industry response

Aaron Johnstone, Queensland’s state director for Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia, described the plan as a “solid blueprint for Queensland’s future”.

“[It] will provide more clarity for our industry in supporting our long-term infrastructure needs,” he said. “Our industry will look forward to working closely with the government in the plan’s roll-out, and in continuing our discussions on better planning and resource access policies to help the industry provide construction materials in a productive and sustainable manner.”

Consult Australia state manager Stacey Rawlings noted that the establishment of the new fund indicated the state government was “prepared to open its wallet, at least in the short-term” but warned that longer term funding would also need to be put in place.

“The government must move quickly to capitalise on these announcements with longer term funding to ensure the commitments announced in the plan become a reality,” she said. “Longer term funding will be essential to deliver a real productivity dividend for the state, and help businesses plan for new jobs and growth.”

The Queensland State Infrastructure Plan is available at www.dilgp.qld.gov.au

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Friday, 15 December, 2017 02:07am
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