Submissions sought for IA's 2018 Infrastructure Priority List

Infrastructure Australia (IA) is calling on Australian governments and leaders to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance as part of its 2018 Infrastructure Priority List (IPL) update.
Submissions are open until 27 October this year, with the revised IPL due for publication in February next year.
“We are keen for states and territories and other partners to submit initiatives that solve the most pressing infrastructure problems facing our nation,” said Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies in a statement.
“The 2018 IPL will build on the current list, with new initiatives to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia, and updates to existing initiatives,” said Davies.
“We welcome submissions for all types of infrastructure, including programs of related works and programs for network optimisation.”
Proponents can make a submission via the Infrastructure Priority List—Call for submissions page.

IA appoints former Toll executive to board

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has announced a renewed board, featuring representatives with experience across many areas of infrastructure.
Julieanne Alroe, the new chair of the board, is CEO and Managing Director of the Brisbane Airport Corporation and has served on the IA board since June 2015.
Former senior Toll executive Andrew Ethell has also joined the board, along with Reece Waldock, former Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Transport; Deena Shiff, former senior Telstra executive; and Dr Peter Wood former Evans & Peck executive.
“I am really pleased that the diverse experience of the new appointees – across telecommunications, trucking and logistics, state government transport delivery and consulting engineering – will complement the skills of the continuing board members,” said Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure.
“I warmly thank outgoing board members Mark Birrell, Gerard Blood, Michael Carapiet and Peter Watson for their service. I particularly want to note the outstanding contribution of Mark Birrell, as chair and previously a board member.
“The Coalition Government has established a stronger role for Infrastructure Australia and Mr Birrell has overseen significant projects, including the Australian Infrastructure Audit—the nation’s first comprehensive examination of infrastructure across the energy, telecommunications, water and transport sectors—and the delivery of the first 15–year Australian Infrastructure Plan.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the new appointments, particularly the appointment of the ALC’s former Deputy Chairman and Honorary Fellow, Andrew Ethell.
Ethell served on the ALC’s Board from 2008 until 2017, and was Deputy Chairman for almost that entire period.
“This appointment recognises Andrew’s considerable expertise across the policy issues of vital importance to Australia’s freight logistics industry,” saidMichael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“We likewise welcome the appointment of Julianne Alroe as the new Chair of IA, as well as the appointment of Deena Schiff and Reece Waldock to the Board, and welcome the continuing service of Nicole Lockwood, given her expertise in freight logistics matters.
“[The] ALC also acknowledges the contributions of the outgoing IA Board members. We especially thank outgoing Chairman, Mark Birrell, who has been a reliable ally for our industry over many years.”
“ALC has been one of IA’s most vocal supporters. As the nation’s independent infrastructure umpire, we believe IA plays a critical role in advancing the infrastructure projects Australia needs to promote economic and employment growth,” he said.
“These include transformational projects such as Inland Rail, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal in NSW, the Western Sydney Airport and, of course, recommending the development of a comprehensive National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which is being undertaken by the Federal Government.
“Andrew Ethell’s wealth of experience and close involvement in issues affecting the freight logistics sector will add an important perspective to IA’s deliberative processes.”

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IA endorses corridor protection imperative

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has released a policy paper on the importance of land preservation for future infrastructure needs, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the paper, noting that it “powerfully demonstrates the importance of corridor protection in preventing cost blowouts, project delays and community disruption on infrastructure projects.”
“[The] ALC has consistently worked to highlight the necessity of corridor preservation as part of a consistent and coherent approach to developing Australia’s national freight infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Good planning leads to good infrastructure outcomes for the community,” he added. “Preserving corridors to accommodate the infrastructure needed to meet our future freight task lies at the heart of responsible planning policy.
“This new policy paper from IA adds to the weight of evidence demonstrating just how vital corridor preservation is. Making the right decisions today not only helps to reduce the cost of infrastructure projects in the future, but also avoids community conflict and social dislocation by providing certainty as to land use.”
Kilgariff noted that corridor protection was a core theme during a recent ALC workshop held in Brisbane, due to the need to preserve a corridor that will permit an alternative dedicated freight rail connection from the Inland Rail route through to the Port of Brisbane.
“It is pleasing to note IA’s policy paper highlights this very project as one that would substantially benefit from taking immediate action on the matter,” he added. “IA estimates potential savings of $66 million could be achieved if governments act quickly to protect this freight corridor.
“Of course it is equally important to preserve land and corridors in Melbourne, to permit development of an interstate freight terminal that will enable a port-to-port connection for Inland Rail.”

ALC welcomes Budget supply chain boost

The significant infrastructure investments contained in the 2017–18 Federal Budget have the potential to deliver substantial improvements to supply chain efficiency and significantly boost economic growth, according to the Australian Logistics Council (ALC)
“The Government should be commended for making clear commitments to two significant infrastructure projects crucial to the freight and logistics industry,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“The transformative potential of the Inland Rail project has been talked about for decades, with incremental progress being made over the past several years, including a positive assessment of the business case by Infrastructure Australia. The $8.4 billion commitment announced in the Treasurer’s speech tonight will finally allow its construction. At long last, we can stop merely talking about this project’s potential, and instead begin to witness it.”
Kilgariff added that the establishment of a safe, reliable port-to-port rail link for freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is the only way to simultaneously meet Australia’s burgeoning freight task, alleviate congestion on existing freight networks, create regional jobs and boost growth.
“To fully unleash the benefits of this project, the line must run to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, and comprise efficient rail linkages to the ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle in NSW,” he added. “We must also support the development of intermodal freight hubs at appropriate intervals along the route.”
Kilgariff also hailed a $5.3 billion commitment to construct the Western Sydney Airport and $75 million to duplicate the Port Botany freight rail line, noting that the projects would bring to fruition “critical” freight infrastructure projects that would further support economic activity and job creation.
“The Budget’s strong focus on infrastructure is timely, coming less than six months after the Federal Government agreed to ALC’s request to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” he added. “We welcome the measures announced tonight as a positive first step in continuing efforts to deliver a safer, more efficient supply chain.
“It’s also pleasing that Infrastructure Australia has been provided with an additional $11.9 million to deliver its core functions of assessing projects and producing an infrastructure pipeline.”
He noted that the proposed new Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet would need sufficient technical expertise to aid the national leadership in making sound infrastructure funding decisions.
“This includes a willingness to make Commonwealth funding for projects conditional on the implementation of appropriate strategies to protect freight corridors, and minimise urban encroachment on freight infrastructure,” Kilgariff concluded.

ALC, ARA call for Budget support for Inland Rail

Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has spoken out ahead of the release of the 2017/18 Federal Budget, noting that Budget support is the “best chance” the Inland Rail project has of moving into the construction phase.
“It is already clear that infrastructure development will be a central theme in this year’s document,” Kilgariff said.
“This project is a long-held priority for ALC, as it is for many in the freight and logistics industry. That’s why it was a core focus of ALC’s pre-Budget submission.”
Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA), also stressed the need for Inland Rail investment. “The ARA outlined in its pre-budget submission that a significant financial commitment is needed in order to boost rail efficiency and urban liveability,” Broad said.
“The ARA has indicated that a firm commitment by the Commonwealth to vital infrastructure, such as Inland Rail and rail to ports is necessary.
“Inland Rail will increase Australia’s GDP by $16 billion. It is profitable from day one – for every $1 the Commonwealth invests there is a return of $2.60 to our economy. Inland Rail will inject 16,000 jobs at its peak, retaining 700 jobs every year over the life of the project. Inland Rail will reduce congestion on our roads with fewer heavy vehicle movements and improve our nation’s environmental sustainability.”
“An ongoing commitment to increasing urban and regional rail projects is also necessary. The ARA looks to the Commonwealth Government to work with State and Territory Governments as partners in investing into rail. Ongoing financial support needs to be provided to enhance our liveability in our cities and growth corridors.
“We urge the Commonwealth Government to also take action on road pricing. The Commonwealth needs to act on mass-distance-location charging mechanisms for heavy vehicles along major interstate routes which compete with rail. The playing field on this issue has been unequal for far too long. Options for independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges need to be commenced, including trial elements of heavy vehicle road reform.
The Inland Rail project is expected to receive an allocation of $1 billion in the Federal Budget.
Kilgariff also said that funding to equip authorities such as Infrastructure Australia (IA) with the resources necessary to undertake their core functions will help the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
“IA is particularly important in this regard, as its professional and apolitical approach helps to ensure that infrastructure development remains subject to rigorous, evidence-based assessments, and that projects ultimately deliver the best economic and social outcomes for the community,” he said.
“As in previous years, ALC will be closely monitoring what emerges on Budget Night, and will provide commentary regarding its impact on the freight and logistics industry.”
The 2017/18 Federal Budget will be announced on the evening on Tuesday 9 May, 2017.

Infrastructure Australia CEO warns of freight task ahead

Speaking at the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) recent forum ‘Getting the Supply Chain Right’, Philip Davies, CEO of independent advisory body Infrastructure Australia, highlighted the need for Australia to consider the long-term threats to Australia’s supply chain network.
“We need a national freight and supply chain strategy and reforms to identify economic competitiveness linked to goods and services, and linked domestically and overseas,” he said.
One challenges he identified – population growth – would, he explained offer both positive and negative outcomes.
“Growth is good,” he said. “It’s beneficial for the economy, due to the increased size of the labour force, but there could be greater delays, more bottlenecks. The quality of the services we provide will decline without proper organisation.”
Davies shared that the land freight task will increase 80% from 2011 to 2031, but the cost of inaction in that same timeframe to the Government will be $5.3 billion.
“It’s necessary to judge if projects have strategic and economic merit,” he said. “In future, we will need a greater national approach to this – they’re very much national issues but we have no cohesive strategy.
“We need to develop this strategy through a highly consultative and collaborative process, identify network constraints and gaps, create a sustainable source of revenue for maintenance of infrastructure, and provide clear recommendations to the Government and industry.”

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