Program 1.1-Infrastructure Investment (continued)

Detailed report on performance

The following report is against the components of Program 1 as set out in the 2009–10 PBS.

I. Infrastructure policy initiatives

The Department led the development of a number of key reforms driven by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Infrastructure Working Group and subgroups. It also provided policy input into a range of infrastructure initiatives, including the development of a national prequalification regime; the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government's Inquiry into Smart Infrastructure; and financing options.

The Department also contributed infrastructure policy input to the whole of Australian Government development of climate change adaptation position for COAG consideration.

II. Raising the standard of land transport infrastructure

In 2009–10, works commenced on a total of 57 land transport infrastructure projects, including projects managed under the investment and off-network programs, the Nation Building Plan for the Future and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) equity injection.

Work was completed on 46 land transport infrastructure projects, 33 road and 13 rail, as shown in Tables 3.4 and 3.5.

Table 3.4 Road projects completed in 2009–10
State Project
New South Wales Barton Highway-Capricorn Corner Realignment
  Southern Hume Accelerated Package
  Hume Highway Coolac Bypass
  Pacific Highway-Karuah to Bulahdelah Stages 2 and 3
Victoria Springvale Road
  Upgrade of the Colac-Lavers Hill Road
Queensland Ipswich Motorway-priority interim safety works package
  Ipswich Motorway-Wacol to Darra Stage 1
  Ipswich Motorway-Wacol to Darra Stage 2
  Pacific Motorway Upgrade-Nerang (South) Interchange
  Wills Development Road Upgrade Project
Western Australia Bunbury Port Access Road Stage 1
  Dampier Highway Stage 1B
  Great Northern Highway Kimberley bridges
  Great Northern Highway Muchea to Wubin
  Great Northern Highway Port Hedland improvements
  New Perth Bunbury Highway
South Australia Advanced Traffic Management System (Phase 2: Adelaide to Crafers)
  Advanced Traffic Management System (Phase 3: Crafers to Bridgewater)
  Churchill Road, Prospect
  South Road Upgrade-Planning study for South Road between the Port River Expressway and Regency Road
  Sturt Highway Upgrade-Duplication between Gawler and Argent Road
Tasmania Bass Highway Sister's Hills Upgrade
  Batman Highway Junction, Egg Island Creek, Dalrymple upgrade projects (Accelerated East Tamar Highway Upgrade Package)
  Midland Highway Safety Upgrade (Constitution Hill)
  Tebrakunna Bridge (North East Freight Roads project)
  Westbury Road/Mt Leslie Road Intersection Upgrade
Northern Territory National Network Widening and Rehabilitation
  Victoria Highway-Victoria River Bridge and Lifting Works on
Joe, Lost and Sandy Creek Bridges
Table 3.5 Rail projects completed in 2009–10
State Project
New South Wales Maldon-Dombarton Pre-Feasibility Study
  New South Wales Grain Freight Review
  Four projects undertaken by ARTC as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan
  Hunter Valley: Minimbah Bank Third Rail Line
  Hunter Valley: St Heliers to Muswellbrook Duplication
  Cootamundra to Parkes Track Upgrade
  Sydney to Brisbane New, Extended and Upgraded Loops
Victoria Two projects undertaken by ARTC as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan
  Western Victoria Track Upgrade
  Seymour to Wodonga Track Upgrade
Queensland Queensland Border to Acacia Ridge Upgrade, undertaken by ARTC as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan
South Australia Adelaide Rail Freight Movement Study
  The Adelaide to Kalgoorlie New and Extended Loops, undertaken by ARTC as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan
Western Australia Western Australian Daddow Road Grade Separation
  The Adelaide to Kalgoorlie New and Extended Loops, undertaken by ARTC as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan
ARTC = Australian Rail Track Corporation

Equity injection for rail infrastructure

The Australian Government's investment in ARTC equity under the Nation Building-Economic Stimulus Plan facilitated the implementation of rail infrastructure works. In 2009–10, ARTC completed eight of 17 projects over its interstate and Hunter Valley (New South Wales) networks.

On the interstate freight network, these projects are working to:

  • reduce transit times by nearly half an hour between Melbourne and Sydney and by as much as an hour between Sydney and Perth, and
  • reduce maintenance and train-operating costs by improving the quality of the infrastructure.

In the Hunter Valley, ARTC's works are significantly expanding the capacity of the Hunter Valley coal chain, ensuring that the rail network keeps pace with anticipated improvements to the mine and port capacity for coal exports.

Nation Building Plan for the Future

The Nation Building Plan for the Future measure was introduced in the 2009–10 Budget, providing funding for 15 nationally significant road, rail and port infrastructure projects, with funding commencing from June 2009. During 2009–10, construction work was underway on three projects and pre-construction activities commenced on a further five projects. With the exception of the two port projects, the remaining projects are in various stages of planning. Funding for the Oakajee Port and Darwin Port expansion projects are subject to further advice by Infrastructure Australia.

III. Remedial road projects to improve safety and productivity

Black Spot Projects

Black Spot Projects improve the safety of road sites which have been identified as high-risk areas for serious crashes. Most funding goes to projects to treat sites that have a record of at least three accidents involving casualties over a five-year period and can demonstrate a robust benefit to cost ratio of at least 2:1.

In 2009–10, the Department continued to work with state and territory agencies to ensure that the program was administered efficiently and cost-effectively across all jurisdictions.

The number of Black Spot Projects approved varies each year depending on the cost of approved works. A total of 1,174 black spot projects were approved for treatment over 2008–09 and 2009–10; 607 of these projects were approved as a direct result of the Economic Stimulus Plan. The total payment made to Black Spot Projects in 2009–10 was $113.6 million.

Boom Gates for Rail Crossings

The Australian Government invested $150.0 million over 2008–09 and 2009–10 to install boom gates and other safety measures at 300 high-risk level crossings around Australia. The work has improved safety for road users, train drivers and pedestrians.

Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity

Through the Nation Building Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program, the safety of the drivers of heavy vehicles is addressed through fatigue management and road enhancement projects, such as rest areas and bridge upgrades. In 2009–10, more than $16.0 million was provided for around 180 projects across Australia; more than 90 projects have been completed under the program. An additional 56 projects were approved in 2009–10, with Australian Government funding totalling $31.3 million over the life of the program.

IV. Increasing the ability of local councils to improve land transport infrastructure

Roads to Recovery

The Nation Building Roads to Recovery program provides funding for projects at a local level. Each local authority across Australia is guaranteed a share of the program funding. In 2009–10, a total of $350.0 million was paid under the program to local councils, three state governments, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory governments and the Indian Ocean Territories. Over the period 2009–10 to 2013–14, a total of $1.8 billion will be paid to councils.

Shares are determined by a formula, based on population and road length, set by the local government grants commission in each state and the Northern Territory. Funding is provided directly by the Australian Government to each council. Decisions on projects to be funded are made locally and reported to the Australian Government.

Off-Network projects

The Off-Network Projects program (previously known as the Strategic Regional program) is designed to improve road and rail infrastructure not included on the national land transport network. It improves safety, assists industry development and supports job creation in local communities. A total of $280.2 million was paid under the program to local councils and state and territory governments during 2009–10.

V. Major projects facilitation

Seven projects received Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status in 2009–10, in the sectors of coal, iron ore, fertiliser and liquefied natural gas.

The Department provides facilitation services to all MPF proponents, by helping to coordinate all necessary Australian Government approval processes, and ensuring that those processes are coordinated with relevant state and territory government processes so they occur simultaneously with minimal duplication. The program also ensures that other government agencies respond promptly to any issues that proponents raise during the approval process, so projects can proceed to development as quickly as possible.

VI. COAG Infrastructure Working Group and COAG Business Regulation and Competition Working Group

The Department coordinated and led a number of COAG transport reforms, including the development of National Partnership Agreements to progress COAG's national regulator initiatives for the heavy vehicle, maritime and rail sectors. The Department also helped to develop implementation plans for COAG's transport reform agenda, and reports on relevant reforms to the COAG Business Regulation and Competition Working Group.

The Department continued to work to achieve reform through the COAG Infrastructure Working Group. A report was presented to the Commonwealth Coordinator-General, evidencing the work undertaken to streamline and integrate major infrastructure approval processes by states, territories and the Australian Government. Through a subgroup, the Infrastructure Working Group commenced implementing reform to achieve harmonisation of a national pre-qualification regime, to be in place by 1 January 2011. This means that contractors who are pre-qualified to tender for the construction of roads and bridges, as well as non-residential construction projects, in one jurisdiction will be able to tender for similar projects in other jurisdictions. This will save the contractors the expense of applying for pre-qualification in more than one jurisdiction. It will also improve the level of competition in tendering for such projects.

VII. COAG Road Reform Plan

As well as playing a key oversight role through membership of the COAG Road Reform Plan Project Board, the Department is providing ongoing policy input for the development of the Phase II report on road reform that is due to be presented to COAG by December 2010. This report will include an initial assessment of high-level options for alternative models of road pricing (for example, mass-distance-location charging) and models of funding, against the conceptual framework presented to COAG in mid 2010. The final feasibility study of options for more direct charging of heavy vehicles is due to be presented to COAG by December 2011.

Case study-Mandurah Entrance Road

A major new entrance road to Mandurah, Western Australia, is being constructed with the assistance of funding provided through the Nation Building Off-Network Projects program. Off-Network Projects are aimed at improving regional and local infrastructure networks, improving safety, assisting industry development, and supporting job creation in local communities.

The Mandurah Entrance Road project involves:

  • construction of a 6.5 kilometre four-lane dual carriageway and associated intersections between the Kwinana Freeway Extension and the city of Mandurah
  • construction of a new railway tunnel, and extension of an existing tunnel
  • provision of on-road cycling lanes, and
  • construction of a boardwalk and other improvements to walking trails in the adjacent Marlee Reserve.

The project will provide a shorter, faster and safer link between the city and the freeway, bypassing congested local roads and avoiding several sets of traffic lights. The infrastructure upgrade will cater for the growth of population in the region, which is predicted to reach around 100,000 by 2022.

The Australian Government and the Western Australian Government have each committed $77.5 million to the $155.0 million project. As part of the Economic Stimulus Plan, the Australian Government brought $16.5 million forward into 2008–09 to enable the early commencement of the project, which saw the interchange with the Kwinana Freeway Extension completed in September 2009.

Construction of the new road commenced in September 2009 and is being managed by the Southern Gateway Alliance. At the end of July 2010, sealing is complete and asphalting is well advanced, the rail tunnels are structurally complete and traffic is using the newly constructed roundabout at Mandurah Road. Work on the boardwalk and walking trails within the Marlee Reserve is also nearing completion. The project is expected to be finished in mid-October 2010, ahead of schedule.

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Last Updated: 24 October, 2014