Chapter 3: Infrastructure
What this Chapter Covers
This chapter describes the Department's infrastructure portfolio Outcome 1, and reports on performance for individual programs and administered items. The report includes:
- an overview of the program's functions and how it is delivered
- a summary of the program's results against key performance indicators and deliverables and targets in the 2012–13 Portfolio Budget Statements (PB Statements)
- a summary of results for administered items delivered in 2012–13, and
- a detailed report on performance of the program in 2012–13 against applicable components from the 2012–13 PB Statements.
Outcome and Program
Figure 3.1 shows the relationship between Outcome 1 and its program, and identifies the business divisions of the Department responsible for delivering the program.
Figure 3.1 Outcome 1 and programs
Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in and coordination of transport and other infrastructure
1.1 Infrastructure Investment
Division or Office
Program 1.1—Infrastructure Investment
The Department administers programs under Outcome 1 that provided approximately $3.8 billion in direct and indirect grants for construction and maintenance of land transport infrastructure.
The Department worked closely with Australian Government agencies, state and territory governments and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to administer this funding, and to implement infrastructure initiatives announced as part of the 2012–13 Budget.
The 2012–13 Budget provided an additional $3.6 billion for the duplication of the Pacific Highway bringing the total available Australian Government contribution to $7.9 billion since 2008–09. The Budget also committed to building safer roads and fixing dangerous black spots by extending the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot programs for a further five years with annual funding of $350.0 million and $60.0 million respectively.
During 2012–13, 44 road and rail projects were completed and work began on another 40. The Department continued to manage its other key infrastructure programs, including Roads to Recovery, Black Spot and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity, with more than 2,000 projects completed during the financial year.
In December 2012, the Australian Government established the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited to oversee construction of an Intermodal Terminal at Moorebank in south west Sydney. The import-export terminal is scheduled to begin operation in 2017 with capacity to handle 1.2 million containers a year. There is provision for an interstate container terminal with capacity of a further 500,000 containers a year. The project is using an innovative financing arrangement through which the project is de-risked by the Australian Government to make it more attractive for private finance. Later, the company will be privatised to enable the Australian Government's investment to be recycled.
Following completion of the $21.9 million Hexham Freight Loop project in June 2012, under the $1.1 billion Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program, construction began on the North Strathfield Rail Underpass ($400.4 million) and Gosford Passing Loops ($146.4 million) projects during the first half of 2013.
By the end of June 2013, more than $429.6 million in rail upgrade works were delivered as part of the Rail Productivity Improvement Package.
At the end of June 2013, 56 per cent of the Pacific Highway was fully duplicated after completion of the Kempsey bypass in March 2013 and the opening of Bulahdelah bypass in June 2013. During 2012–13 construction started on Devils Pulpit and Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrades and work continued at Sapphire to Woolgoolga and Herons Creek to Stills Road.
On 24 February 2013, the 30 kilometre Geelong Ring Road was completed when the final 5 kilometre section, Section 4B between Anglesea Road and the Princes Highway, Waurn Ponds was opened to traffic. The Geelong Ring Road was delivered in stages with construction beginning in early 2006. Now complete, drivers can travel between Melbourne and the Surf Coast and between Melbourne and Winchelsea without encountering traffic lights.
On 7 November 2012, the 9.5 kilometre dual carriageway bypass of Brighton, north of Hobart, was opened to traffic. This bypass is a long-term solution to rapid population growth in Brighton and surrounding areas. It will remove congestion through Brighton and improve safety on this section of the Midland Highway.
In February 2013, construction began on the $288.0 million Majura Parkway project. This project will be a four-lane dual carriageway between the Federal Highway in the north of Canberra and the Monaro Highway in the south. It will improve freight and traffic efficiencies and relieve congestion. It will also support expansion of the Canberra Airport as a major international freight and commuter hub.
In Perth, the $280.0 million widening and upgrade of the Great Eastern Highway between Kooyong Road and the Tonkin Highway was completed in March 2013, nine months ahead of schedule. It involved upgrading 4.1 kilometres from a four-lane undivided road to a six-lane dual carriageway.
Significant progress was made on the $80.0 million Dukes Highway safety upgrade in South Australia, including completion of pavement rehabilitation works west of Bordertown, three new overtaking lanes, and 52 kilometres of road widening and audible strips.
The first stage of the Bruce Highway upgrade between Cooroy and Curra was completed in 2012–13. The newly duplicated Section B, between Sankeys Road and Traveston Road, was opened to traffic in September 2012, and completed in December 2012. The project involved constructing a 12 kilometre, four-lane divided carriageway on a more flood-immune alignment between two new interchange connections. The upgrade includes an overpass at Coles Creek Road, service roads and the new Mary Valley Connection Road to link with the local road network.
Construction on the next stage, duplication of Section A between the Cooroy southern interchange and Sankeys Road, started in June 2013. When completed in 2016, the Bruce Highway will be a divided road from Brisbane to Traveston Road near Kybong.
Program 1.1 was delivered by the Nation Building—Infrastructure Investment Division and Infrastructure Australia, with input from the Policy and Research Division. This program contributes to Outcome 1 by increasing the efficiency and safety of Australia's land transport infrastructure while strengthening the Australian economy. This was accomplished through policy advice to the Australian Government, delivery of a suite of administered items, and work undertaken by Infrastructure Australia, supported by the Office of the Infrastructure Coordinator. The reports on Infrastructure Australia's performance towards Program 1.1 are in Chapter 5.
Summary of Performance
Tables 3.1 and 3.2 summarise the Department's results in delivering Program 1.1 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets published in the 2012–13 PB Statements.
Table 3.1 Summary of performance—Program 1.1 key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Target||Result|
|Australian land transport networks are safer.||Projects that improve road and rail safety are delivered.||12–13 Achieved||11–12 Achieved||10–11 Achieved||09–10 Achieved|
Projects funded by the Australian Government are designed to the highest safety standards and improve overall safety of the nation's road and rail network. Projects completed during 2012–13 are shown in Tables 3.4 and 3.5.
The Black Spot projects and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programs were established to address dangerous locations on the nation's road network.
During 2012–13, 123 Black Spot projects and 21 Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program projects were completed.
|Australian land transport networks are more efficient.||Projects that improve road and rail efficiency are delivered.||12–13 Achieved||11–12 Achieved||10–11 Achieved||09–10 Achieved|
|Rail projects completed during 2012–13 will help improve interstate freight rail efficiency by allowing heavier, faster trains to operate, reducing freight costs and making rail more competitive with road transport. For example, the recently completed $397.6 million re-railing works from Whyalla to Broken Hill, Parkes to Cootamundra, and Albury to Melbourne to Geelong, replaced existing rail with heavier and stronger 60 kilogram per metre rail. This means heavier and faster trains can be used, boosting network productivity.|
|States, territories and local governments are appropriately funded for network and off-network projects.||Payments are within 5% of forecast.||12–13 Achieved||11–12 Achieved||10–11 Achieved||09–10 Achieved|
|The Department achieved payments of 100 per cent of funding allocated for 2012–13.|
|Achieved||All targets for 2011–12 were met or exceeded.|
|Substantially achieved||Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed.|
|Partially achieved||Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed.|
|Not achieved||None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2011–12.|
Table 3.2 Summary of performance—Program 1.1 deliverables
|Collaboration with state, territory and local governments to plan and evaluate land transport investments consistent with Government priorities.||States report monthly on progress of investments and quarterly on program implementation.||State and territory governments submitted reports for evaluation of their proposed projects, and monthly project progress reports.|
|Deliver the Nation Building administered items in cooperation with state, territory and local governments.||Payout of 100 per cent funding for project progress.||The Department paid 100 per cent of funding for project progress for Nation Building administered items.|
|Number of funding recipients receiving Roads to Recovery funding.||570 recipients receive funding.||560 councils were eligible for Roads to Recovery funding in 2012–13. Five state and territory authorities responsible for roads in unincorporated areas, the Indian Ocean Territories, the Lord Howe Island Board, the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory and the South Australian Local Government Grants Commission were also eligible funding recipients. Of these eligible bodies, 501 received funding and about 2,550 new projects were listed for funding. Of the remaining eligible funding recipients, 24 had been paid their full allocation in previous years, 25 did not seek funds in 2012–13, 11 did not submit the required annual report and nine had not met the expenditure maintenance requirement before the final payment of the financial year.|
|Efficient and effective oversight of the Australian Government's interest in the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).||Timely advice to Government on ARTC performance.||The Department provided effective oversight of the ARTC, advising the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport on ARTC's quarterly reports against ARTC's Corporate Plan and the performance of ARTC as a company throughout the year. The majority of ARTC's capital programs were delivered on schedule; and ARTC's debt program was fully implemented to support delivery of its capital programs. The Department worked with ARTC on a funding strategy for its long-term capital investment programs. Once this is finalised, the Department will provide advice to the Australian Government in 2013–14. In addition, ARTC concluded a wholesale agreement with Brookfield Rail which secured ARTC access pricing and access arrangements for the line between Kalgoorlie and Perth for the next 15 years.|
|National Urban Policy.||Implement agreed actions.||Agreed actions implemented, with the status reported in State of Australian Cities 2012 publication.|
|Regional Infrastructure Fund.||Implement agreed projects.||Seven regional infrastructure planning projects and five Regional Infrastructure Fund construction projects were provided with funding of $104.2 million in 2012–13. Projects are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.|
|High Speed Rail Study.||Findings considered by Australian governments.||The Minister released the report from the phase 2 high speed rail study on 11 April 2013. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Department's website.
Relevant state, territory and local governments have been consulted on the report's findings.
|Efficient and effective management of administered items.||Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) guidance.||Administered items were delivered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance.|
Table 3.3 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 1.1.
Table 3.3 Summary of performance—Program 1.1 administered items
|Nation Building Program|
|Nation Building Program Investment||$1,718.7 million was provided in 2012–13 for planning and construction of 390 road and rail projects on the National Land Transport Network.|
|Nation Building Black Spot Projects||The Department administered $63.8 million supporting projects to improve road safety at identified crash sites. The program has reduced the risk of crashes through measures such as traffic lights, roundabouts, signage and edge sealing at dangerous sites on roads around Australia.
In 2012–13, 123 Black Spot projects were completed and 213 were underway.
|Nation Building Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity||$2.3 million was provided to improve safety and productivity for the Australian heavy vehicle transport industry.
In 2012–13, 21 projects were completed and four were underway.
|Nation Building Roads to Recovery||$350.0 million was provided to 501 out of 570 councils for purposes including road work, bridge work and installing traffic lights. Councils lodged audited financial statements showing how
they had spent the funds.
In 2012–13, 1,867 projects were completed and about 1,100 were underway.
|Nation Building Off-Network Projects||$219.8 million was provided to state, territory and local governments in 2012–13 to plan and construct 64 off-network projects.|
|Nation Building Off-Network—supplementary||The Department provided $250.3 million to state governments and local councils in 2006–07 to plan and construct 102 projects. Total expenses to 30 June 2013 were $242.7 million.|
|Nation Building improving local roads||The Department provided $307.5 million to local councils, three state governments, the Northern Territory Government and the Indian Ocean Territories in June 2006. All funding has now been expensed.|
|Nation Building improving the National Network||The Department provided $1,820.0 million as prepayments to New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to accelerate works on 10 National Network highways in 2006. The jurisdictions report each month on progress. Total expenses to 30 June 2013 were $1,819.2 million.|
|Nation Building Plan for the Future||$981.6 million was provided for 16 Nation Building Plan for the Future projects.|
|Abt Railway||A project agreement between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments on 17 April 2013 enabled provision of $6.0 million in 2012–13 for track works on the Abt Railway. Funding is conditional on Tasmania contracting a new operator and funding ongoing maintenance works for four years.|
|Jobs Fund—Infrastructure Employment Projects||$2.7 million was provided for 13 Infrastructure Employment Projects.|
|Regional Infrastructure Fund||$104.2 million was provided for 15 Regional Infrastructure Fund projects.|
|Sustainable Australia—Liveable Cities||$7.0 million was provided for 22 Liveable Cities projects.|
|Sustainable Australia—National Smart Managed Motorways||$2.7 million was provided for four National Smart Managed Motorways projects.|
Note: The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.
High Speed Rail Study: Phase Two Report
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport released the report of the second and final phase of the High Speed Rail (HSR) study on 11 April 2013.
The report built on the work in the phase one report (released in 2011), but was much broader in objectives and scope. It refined many of the estimates from phase one, particularly those relating to demand and construction and operation costs.
Key findings of the report are listed below.
- A HSR network on Australia's east coast on the preferred alignment, linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne would cost an estimated $114.0 billion to construct (in 2012 dollars).
- The preferred alignment would comprise 1,748 kilometres of dedicated route, to meet market needs (in terms of journey times and service reliability) and be environmentally and economically sustainable.
- A recommendation for 20 stations, comprising four capital city stations, four city-peripheral stations, and stations at the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.
- Once fully operational (by 2065), HSR could carry about 84 million passengers a year, with express CBD-to-CBD journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne–Sydney and Sydney–Brisbane.
- HSR would have a positive economic benefit, returning $2.30 to the economy for every dollar invested.
- Government would need to fund the majority of upfront capital costs, but once operational, HSR could generate sufficient revenue to meet operating, maintenance and asset renewal costs.
- HSR would significantly improve accessibility between regional centres and capital cities. However, consistent with international experience, regional development as a result of HSR would depend on a range of other factors including complementary regional policies.
In releasing the report, the Minister announced a comprehensive program of public consultation and debate on the role HSR could play in Australia's transport future. The Minister invited views on the report by 30 June 2013, and convened an HSR Advisory Group to advise the Australian Government on key industry and community issues arising from the report. The Minister established a ministerial group to coordinate the next steps for HSR across jurisdictions. The Minister also tasked the Department with detailed consultations with industry, local governments and community groups.
The phase two report, together with the results of consultation, will inform the Australian Government's consideration of the next steps for high speed rail in Australia.
Detailed Report on Performance
The following report is against the components of Program 1.1 in the 2012–13 PB Statements.
(a) Raising the Standard of Land Transport Infrastructure
In 2012–13, work began on 40 land transport infrastructure projects, including projects managed under the Investment and Off-Network programs. Work was completed on 44 land transport infrastructure projects, 33 road and 11 rail, as shown in Tables 3.4 and 3.5.
Table 3.4 Details of road infrastructure projects completed in 2012–13
|New South Wales||Pacific Highway—Kempsey Bypass|
|Pacific Highway—Bulahdelah Bypass|
|Pacific Highway—Banora Point Upgrade|
|Great Western Highway—Wentworth Falls East Upgrade|
|Great Western Highway—Mt Victoria to Lithgow—Safety Improvements (top and bottom passes)|
|Barton Highway—Gounyan Curves Realignment|
|Bells Line of Road Long Term Strategic Corridor Plan|
|North Orange Bypass|
|Queensland||Bruce Highway—Cooroy to Curra—Section B|
|Bruce Highway—Southern Approach to Sarina|
|Pacific Motorway—Springwood South to Daisy Hill|
|Pacific Motorway—Robina to Varsity Lakes|
|Sealing of Peninsula Developmental Road|
|Remote Community Road Upgrades in Cape York—Northern Peninsula Road Access|
|Remote Community Road Upgrades in Cape York—Kowanyama Access Road|
|Victoria||Geelong Ring Road Stage 4B (Anglesea Road to Princes Highway)|
|Nagambie Bypass (Goulburn Valley Highway)|
|Western Australia||Great Eastern Highway Upgrade—Kooyong to Tonkin Highway|
|Bunbury Port Access Road Stage 2 and Outer Ring Road Stage 1|
|Dampier Highway Duplication—Broadhurst Road to Dampier|
|Kwinana Freeway Widening and Upgrade, Leach Highway to Roe Highway|
|Great Northern Highway, Big McPhee Creek Bridge and Approaches|
|South Australia||Sturt Highway—Renmark Intersection Upgrades|
|Dukes Highway Pavement Rehabilitation|
|South Road Upgrade (Darlington) Planning|
|Tasmania||Midland Highway—Brighton Bypass|
|Illawarra Main Road Upgrade|
|Northern Territory||Improving Flood Immunity on Port Keats Road—Daly River Bridge|
|Stuart Highway—Flood Immunity Works 2 km North of King River|
|Stuart Highway—Flood Immunity Works at Gilbert Swamp|
|Stuart Highway—Howard Springs Intersection Upgrade|
|Australian Capital Territory||Monaro Highway Duplication—Canberra Avenue to Newcastle Street|
Table 3.5 Details of rail infrastructure projects completed in 2012–13
|New South Wales||Minimbah to Maitland Third Rail Line|
|Liverpool Range Capacity Enhancements (Stage One)|
|Victoria||Albury to Melbourne to Geelong Re-railing|
|Gheringhap to Maroona Passing Loops|
|South Australia||Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension|
|Melbourne to Adelaide Extended Loops|
|Advanced Train Managements System (Phase 2)|
|Tasmania||Upgrade of the Fingal Line|
|Cross-jurisdiction||Whyalla to Broken Hill and Parkes to Cootamundra Rerailing|
|Intermodal Facility||Port of Townsville—Berth 10|
|Wimmera Intermodal Terminal at Dooen|
Regional Rail Link
The Regional Rail Link is a landmark rail infrastructure project to remove major bottlenecks in Victoria's rail network. The project will help to untangle metropolitan and regional tracks as they travel through Melbourne's west into the heart of the city. The project will increase Victoria's rail network by up to 90 kilometres of new track from West Werribee Junction to Deer Park and from Sunshine to Southern Cross Station.
The Regional Rail Link project is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments with the Australian Government committing up to $3.2 billion through its Nation Building Program. The project is one of the 15 projects announced by the Australian Government as part of its Nation Building Plan for the Future initiative.
The Regional Rail Link project will provide economic and other benefits to Melbourne and Victoria including:
- about 5,600 jobs directly and indirectly during the construction of the project
- capacity for an extra 23 metropolitan and 10 regional services each morning and evening allowing for an extra 54,000 passenger trips a day
- adding $1.0 billion to the Victorian economy annually during peak construction
- saving up to 14,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions a year through the extra passenger capacity, and
- separating metropolitan and regional rail services onto dedicated tracks for the first time.
The project started in 2009 and will be the first new rail line constructed in Melbourne since the Glen Waverley line which opened in 1930, over 80 years ago. Since that time Melbourne's population has grown from about 1 million people to over 4 million. The Regional Rail Link project is an important investment in Victoria's future, giving much needed modern transport infrastructure for Melbourne as well as for commuters travelling from major regional centres in Victoria.
The Regional Rail Link is being delivered in six ‘packages’ (Southern Cross, City to Maribyrnong River, Footscray to Deer Park, Deer Park to West Werribee Junction, West Werribee Junction and the Rail Systems). The project has continued to progress well. The Southern Cross package is finished while major works continue on the other five. Trains are expected to be running on the new tracks by early 2016.
(b) Infrastructure Policy Initiatives
A key achievement in 2012–13 was development of the next phase of the Nation Building Program, announced in the 2013–14 Australian Government Budget. The program will span a five-year period from 2014–15 to 2018–19. Its main objective is to continue to lift Australia's productivity through nationally significant land transport infrastructure. The Department will administer it from its start on 1 July 2014.
The Department continued to provide policy advice on infrastructure financing issues and possible future financing measures. This included innovative funding options for transformative large projects, including examining the use of:
- phased payments, or availability payments, where Australian Government funding can be injected into a project over a longer period (for example over 30 years)
- Australian Government guarantees over the private sector debt component of a project, and
- concessional loans that are offered on more favourable terms than may be available commercially.
Further consideration will be given to implementing these and other financing options over the next 12 months.
The Department continued to support micro-economic reform through the work of the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) Infrastructure Working Group (IWG). The IWG progressed important project initiatives designed to identify and remove blockages to productive investment in infrastructure, while improving the coordination of infrastructure planning and investment across the nation. Outcomes of the IWG are covered in more detail in this chapter.
On 22 August 2012, the Department entered into a five-year agency partnership agreement with Austrade to promote, attract, facilitate and retain foreign direct investment in Australia's infrastructure construction industry. This work will drive future growth and productivity in the Australian economy by providing for innovation and capability transfer, improving access to international supply chains for Australian firms and increasing competition in the construction sector.
The Department continued to participate in the Australia-Japan Public-Private Infrastructure Policy Dialogue, a joint sub-group under the auspices of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee. This aims to increase understanding of each country's infrastructure delivery methodologies, market opportunities and to promote collaboration on infrastructure projects in Australia, Japan or third Asian countries such as Indonesia. The Department hosted the third dialogue in Canberra on 10 October 2012.
Recognising the opportunities from growth in the Asia-Pacific region, the Department contributed to the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century. Future activities identified in the white paper implementation plan to attract investment include developing, with Infrastructure Australia, a long-term strategic framework for planning, prioritising and investing in Australia's infrastructure.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics is participating in a study as part of the National Food Plan to assess future food needs of Asia and its implications for Australian infrastructure.
(c) Infrastructure Funding
The National Infrastructure Construction Schedule website has been well supported and used since its launch in May 2012. The website outlines the national ‘pipeline’ of major infrastructure projects procured by the government sector in Australia, giving greater certainty around investment opportunities.
- has over 100 projects listed with a value in excess of $65.0 billion, and
- received over two million hits, 40 per cent of them international.
The Department continued to improve functionality and data. Phase two, launched in August 2012, included improved image uploading and display capability. Phase three, announced in March 2013, included a subscription service and improved search and reporting functionality.
(d) 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. The program has reduced the risk of crashes through measures such as traffic lights, roundabouts, signage, and edge sealing at dangerous sites on roads around Australia. Most funding goes to treat sites with at least three accidents involving casualties over a five-year period and that can demonstrate a robust benefit-to-cost ratio of at least 2:1.
In 2012–13, the Department continued to work with state and territory agencies to ensure that the program was administered efficiently and cost-effectively.
The number of Black Spot projects approved varies each year depending on the cost of the individual projects. In 2012–13, 123 Black Spot projects were completed and a further 213 were underway at the end of the financial year. The total payment to Black Spot projects in 2012–13 was $63.8 million.
Funding is provided to the state and territory governments for the maintenance of roads on the National Land Transport Network. Funding allocations are determined annually by formula. Maintenance funds must be spent on the network but each state and territory government is able to choose the location and type of asset preservation work undertaken. The total payment for network maintenance in 2012–13 was $413.7 million.
Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity
Through the Nation Building Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program, the safety of the drivers of heavy vehicles is targeted through fatigue management and road enhancement projects, such as rest areas and bridge upgrades.
In 2012–13, the range of project categories eligible under round three of the program was expanded to include demonstration projects and livestock transport projects. Under round three of the expanded program, 92 projects were approved for delivery over 2012–13 to 2013–14.
A further 21 projects previously approved under rounds one and two of the program were completed in 2012–13. A total of 230 out of the 238 round one and two projects have been completed. The total payment made to Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity projects in 2012–13 was $2.3 million.
(e) Increasing the Ability of Local Councils to Improve Land Transport Infrastructure
The Nation Building Roads to Recovery program funds projects at a local level. Each local authority across Australia is guaranteed a share of the program funding. The Australian Government directly funds each council. Decisions on projects to be funded are made locally and reported to the Australian Government. In 2012–13, 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.
Since the current program started in 2009–10, councils and other funding recipients have reported that 30 per cent of funding has been used on projects which helped achieve their asset maintenance strategies and 26 per cent on projects which improved road safety. The next highest categories were: improved access for heavy vehicles (9 per cent); amenity of nearby residents (7 per cent); regional economic development (5 per cent); improvements to school bus routes (5 per cent) and traffic management (5 per cent).
Councils are required to maintain their own source expenditure on roads (amounts they spend which are from council revenues excluding grants from state or territory governments and project specific developer contributions) at or above a specified level. This expenditure is audited as part of each council's annual report to acquit the program funds received. The requirement aims to ensure that Roads to Recovery funded projects are additional to road works which local governments would normally deliver.
The most recent data available to the Department shows that local government was required to spend $1.94 billion on own-source funded road works in 2011–12. Reported total own source roads expenditure in 2011–12 was $2.81 billion, around $870.0 million more than the minimum total requirement.
Own-source expenditure is monitored at the council level. Councils which do not meet the requirement in a given year can apply for a waiver for the relevant financial year. At 30 June 2013, 36 of the 570 eligible funding recipients received a waiver during 2012–13 for an expenditure maintenance breach in either 2009–10, 2010–11 or 2011–12 and nine expenditure maintenance breaches had not been finalised.
Funding recipients without a satisfactory annual report for the previous financial year do not receive further program funds. Throughout 2012–13, the Department worked with those councils which had not submitted an annual report for 2011–12 and, as at 30 June 2013, a total of 554 out of 570 eligible funding recipients (97 per cent) had acquitted their Roads to Recovery funding.
(f) Major Projects Facilitation
A total of 17 projects had Major Project Facilitation status during 2012–13, in the sectors of infrastructure, mining and petroleum development. The projects potentially represent about $140.0 billion in total investment and have been estimated to generate around 30,000 jobs during construction stages and 10,000 permanent jobs.
The Department facilitated all approved Major Project Facilitation proponents, helping to coordinate Australian Government approvals and tying in with state and territory government processes so they occur simultaneously, with minimal duplication. The program also ensures that other government agencies respond promptly to issues proponents raise so projects can proceed as quickly as possible.
(g) Setting a National Strategy to Guide Policy and Investments in Urban Australia
Coordination of the National Urban Policy occurs through several mechanisms.
- Commonwealth Group on Cities: This group is chaired by the Secretary and coordinates a common approach across Australian Government portfolios on future engagement with and investment in cities. Meetings in 2012–13 included presentations on key urban issues from state government agencies and peak industry bodies.
- Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials' Committee Cities Group: This group is chaired by the Department. Members are drawn from planning and transport agencies from the Australian Government and state and territory governments. It progresses the Council of Australian Government's Cities agenda. It met three times in 2012–13 working on issues such as improving national information on cities, developing a national framework for core city indicators and sharing best practice in strategic planning systems.
- Urban Policy Forum: Membership is drawn from peak bodies, local government, and academics, with expertise in urban policy. It met twice in 2012–13.
The Department sponsored and helped shape two conferences:
- a conference on the future of the western Sydney economy, on 19 April 2013, and
- the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute's National Urban Policy conference on 16–17 May 2013.
Production of the annual state of Australian cities reports is a commitment of the National Urban Policy. The 2012 report included, for the first time, a table on the Australian Government's progress against the National Urban Policy Implementation Plan. The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport launched the report on 4 December 2012 in Melbourne. It received extensive press coverage and at 30 June 2013 had been downloaded more than 875,000 times.
The Department's work on active travel is helping progress the Australian Government's commitment under the National Urban Policy to improve accessibility, reduce dependence on cars and support community wellbeing and public health outcomes through the built environment.
The Minister launched the Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport draft report for public comment on 29 October 2012. Almost 200 submissions were received from organisations and individuals. One submission, from the Go! Alliance, included a petition with almost 2,000 signatures.
Walking, cycling and public transport are important everyday modes of travel, and key parts of our transport system. Many people walk to local destinations such as shops, cafes, parks or the post office. Others walk on a daily basis to their school or workplace. Most public transport journeys start and end with a walk from the bus stop or train station to the final destination. Cycling is increasingly popular.
The Australian Government recognises that getting more people walking, cycling, and using public transport, results in:
- increased capacity and reduced congestion
- reduced environmental impacts
- improved public health and reduced healthcare costs, and
- improved community wellbeing and social cohesion.
Even a small shift in mode share can lead to positive outcomes for the transport system, the environment, health and liveability.
All state and territory governments, and many local governments, have policies to increase walking, cycling and use of public transport.
In October 2012 the Australian Government released Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: draft report for discussion, which explored how a national approach might help to increase the role of active urban travel. Almost 200 submissions were received from a wide range of individuals, community groups, businesses, professional associations, and all levels of government.
The feedback received has informed the Australian Government's policy on active travel, including a commitment to work with other levels of government to increase the proportion of people walking and cycling for short trips and accessing public transport.
(h) Investment in Community Infrastructure
The Australian Government developed the $20.0 million Liveable Cities program to help state, territory and local governments meet the challenges of improving quality of life in our capitals and major regional cities. Twenty two of the 23 projects have started and are progressing well. One project was completed, and one was withdrawn by the proponent.
The Infrastructure Employment Projects program builds community infrastructure, including sports and cultural facilities. During the year, a further two of the 13 approved Infrastructure Employment Projects were completed and two projects were ongoing.
(i) Regional Infrastructure Fund
The Regional Infrastructure Fund (RIF) continued to invest proceeds of the resources boom to address urgent infrastructure needs, while supporting the mining industry, boosting export capacity and growing regional economies.
The RIF comprises of three funding streams.
- Stream 1 includes implementation of commitments made in 2010 for funding from the RIF worth $916.0 million.
- Stream 2 includes economic Infrastructure projects and Regional Infrastructure Planning projects worth about $2.5 billion.
- Stream 3 is part of the Regional Development Australia Fund administered by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport worth about $1.0 billion, with $573.0 million from the RIF.
The Department's guidelines for the RIF were released in July 2012. In 2012–13, total payments of $104.2 million were for five RIF construction projects and seven Regional Infrastructure Planning projects. Of the 12 projects, six were in Queensland, two in Western Australia, and one each in New South Wales, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and South Australia.
Successful projects for the Stream 2 economic infrastructure projects were announced as part of the next phase of the Nation Building program in the May 2013 Budget. These projects will be funded from 1 July 2014.
(j) COAG Infrastructure Working Group and COAG Business Regulation and Competition Working Group
Infrastructure Working Group (IWG)
The Department continued to provide secretariat services to the COAG IWG in 2012–13 with meetings on 23 November 2012 and 9 May 2013. Key IWG achievements in 2012–13 included the following.
- Agreement was obtained to expand the National Pre-qualification System for the non-residential building sector by developing a practical, low-cost and harmonised system of pre-qualification, including mutual recognition where sought, for businesses delivering projects below $50.0 million.
- A Good Practice Guide and Commercial Principles for Traditional Contracting was developed and published. The publication completed the set of good practice guides for procurement, which included the National Alliance Contracting and Policy Guidelines and the National Public-Private Partnership Policy and Guidelines.
- The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics was engaged to refine measures to improve data and models underpinning traffic forecasting. This was in consultation with state and territory government transport agencies and the Australian Transport Data Action Network.
- Agreement was finalised to adopt procurement benchmarks identified in Infrastructure Australia's report, Efficiencies in Major Project Procurement, as a best practice guide in planning and conducting major project procurements. An evaluation of the impact of the benchmarks will be undertaken in 2015.
- Gaps in skills and capabilities were identified across jurisdictions in assessing complex procurement, establishing a contract management forum as a pilot for future practitioner forums and developing a business case to establish a national leadership academy for the purpose of facilitating an exchange of knowledge and increased learning in infrastructure procurement within the public sector.
(k) COAG Road Reform Plan
Progress on COAG Road Reform Plan (now renamed Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment) is reported separately under Program 2.2.
Hume Highway Completion
The Australian Government's objective of providing a four-lane dual carriageway for the entire length of the 808 kilometre Hume Highway has been realised with the completion of the final stage, the bypass of Holbrook. The Hume Highway is an essential freight and passenger link servicing Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as regional centres such as Albury-Wodonga, and interstate through traffic to and from South Australia and Queensland. The duplication involved 59 projects bypassing 26 towns in New South Wales and 23 in Victoria. The upgrade began in 1974 although some earlier works occurred in the 1960s. Over the past 40 years, travel times between Sydney and Melbourne have been reduced by about three hours.
Around 40,000 vehicles travel on the Hume Highway every day, including more than 6,000 heavy vehicles, with traffic levels highest closer to Sydney and Melbourne. Since the mid-70s, the number of crashes in New South Wales has declined dramatically from 2,499 to 237 in 2013.
Under the Nation Building Program, the Australian Government provided almost $1.0 billion to finish the duplication. A fully duplicated Hume Highway benefits communities along the highway by taking heavy vehicles away from residential and shopping areas, improving pedestrian safety and quality of life. It will also mean shorter travel times and improved transport efficiency and competitiveness, ensuring that this essential road can service freight and passenger demand into the future.