What this Chapter Covers

This chapter describes the Department's portfolio Outcome 1 and reports on performance for individual programmes and administered items. The report includes:

  • an overview of the programme's functions and how the programme is delivered
  • a summary of the programme's results against key performance indicators, deliverables and targets
  • a summary of results for any administered items delivered by the programme in 2013–14, and
  • a detailed report on the programme's performance in 2013–14.

Outcome and Programme

Figure 3.1 shows the relationships between Outcome 1 and its programme, and identifies the business divisions of the Department responsible for delivering the programme.

Figure 3.1 Outcome 1 and Programme

Outcome 1 Programme Division or Office
Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in and coordination of transport and other infrastructure. 1.1 Infrastructure Investment
  • Infrastructure Investment
  • Policy and Research
  • Infrastructure Australia

Programme 1.1—Infrastructure Investment


The Department administers programmes under Outcome 1 that provided approximately $6.9 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 to administer this funding and to implement infrastructure initiatives announced as part of the 2013–14 Budget.

On 15 April 2014, the Australian Government, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, announced a 10-year road investment programme of $3.5 billion for Western Sydney called the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan. The plan involves major road links which will facilitate the development of an airport at Badgerys Creek whilst boosting the local economy and liveability of Western Sydney. The Australian Government is providing $2.9 billion, or 80 per cent, to the plan while New South Wales is providing $667.0 million.

The Department successfully negotiated the first ever concessional bridging loan for a major transport infrastructure project with the New South Wales Government for the delivery of stage 2 of the WestConnex project in Sydney. The concessional loan was announced by the Australian Government as part of the 2014–15 Budget and represents a major innovation in road funding.

During 2013–14, 53 road and rail projects were completed and work began on another 22. The Department continued to manage its other key infrastructure programmes, including Roads to Recovery, Black Spot and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity with 1,129 projects completed during the financial year.

The Department commenced work to deliver the Inland Rail-a 1,700 kilometre link between Melbourne and Brisbane running through central west New South Wales and Toowoomba. As part of this role, the Department is providing secretariat services to the Inland Rail Implementation Group, chaired by the Hon. John Anderson AO. The Australian Government has committed $300.0 million to date to pre-construction activities. For more information, please see the Inland Railway Project case study.

Progress on the Pacific Highway upgrade continued throughout 2013–14 with the opening of the 3.5 kilometre Herons Creek to Stills Road upgrade on 25 October 2013 and the 7 kilometre Devils Pulpit upgrade on 21 March 2014. At the end of June 2014, 381 kilometres, or 58 per cent, of the final Pacific Highway length was a four-lane divided road with a further 80 kilometres under construction and an additional 57 kilometres being prepared for construction to commence. For more information, please see the Pacific Highway Programme case study.

The 40 kilometre Hunter Expressway between the M1 Pacific Motorway and Branxton opened to traffic on 22 March 2014. The project provided: a dual carriageway four-lane motorway that is more direct than the previous New England Highway route; has reduced congestion and improved the amenity of towns between the Rutherford, Maitland and Thornton regions and Newcastle; reduced travel times; and improved freight efficiency. The Hunter Expressway was funded by the Australian ($1.5 billion) and New South Wales ($200.0 million) governments.

The Bega Bypass was opened to traffic on 19 December 2013. The project involved construction of a new 3.5 kilometre two-lane highway west of Bega, which bypasses the Bega town centre and connects to the Princes Highway. The Bypass now enables the Princes Highway, between the Snowy Mountains Highway and the Victorian border, to be used by B-double vehicles. The Bypass also removes through traffic from the town centre, improving safety and amenities for residents. The $49.6 million Bega Bypass was fully funded by the Australian Government.

Upgrades to the M80 Ring Road in Melbourne continued throughout 2013–14. In October 2013, all newly constructed lanes were opened between the Western Highway and Sunshine Avenue. This was followed in April 2014 when all newly constructed lanes were opened between Edgars Road and Plenty Road. The project will progressively widen the central median to provide a minimum of three lanes in each direction between Sunshine West and Greensborough. To date, 25 of the 38 kilometres have been upgraded. The project will help improve traffic flow and deliver safer, smoother driving conditions for the 142,000 motorists that use the M80 Ring Road each day. The Australian Government has contributed $864.6 million towards the project since 2007–08 and has committed a further $276.2 million from 2014–15.

The $280.0 million fully Australian Government funded upgrade of the intersection of Mains Road and Kessels Road in Brisbane was completed in June 2014. This upgrade has seen a 45 metre four-lane underpass constructed on Kessels Road to separate it from Mains Road, which has been widened to six lanes. The separation of these two roads will reduce the amount of delays and congestion experienced by travellers making it safer for all road users.

Construction on the Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade near Rockhampton commenced in February 2014. When completed in 2016, the Bruce Highway will be duplicated on an elevated carriageway for approximately 2.8 kilometres, including a 1.6 kilometre bridge, from the intersection with the Burnett Highway to the intersection of the Bruce and Capricorn highways. The new crossing, which will be 3.5 metres higher than the existing highway, will help keep this section of the Bruce Highway open during flood events.

Works commenced in July 2013 on the duplication of Tiger Brennan Drive between Berrimah Road and the Darwin Central Business District. The duplication will address current congestion issues on the road, improving travel times between the key centres of Palmerston and Darwin.

The $812.0 million South Road Superway project was completed in March 2014, which involved the upgrade of South Road to a nonstop route between the Port River Expressway and Regency Road; a distance of 4.8 kilometres. The principal feature of the project is a 2.8 kilometre elevated roadway between Wing Street and Taminga Street.

The completion of the Superway project is the first step in the Australian Government's commitment to a complete upgrade of the North South Road Corridor within the next decade. The Australian Government has committed $944.0 million for the next key components of the corridor, the Darlington and Torrens Road to River Torrens projects. The Regency Road to Anzac Highway planning study on South Road was completed in September 2013. This study underpins ongoing work on the Torrens Road to River Torrens project. Planning work for the Darlington Interchange will continue to December 2014.

The $80.0 million Dukes Highway safety upgrade in South Australia was substantially completed in June 2014. The project was a package of works involving installation of 115 kilometres of centreline audio tactile line marking, 90 kilometres of wide dividing median treatment, construction of four new overtaking lanes and extension of one existing overtaking lane.

Construction on the initial component of Gateway WA, an on-ramp from Abernethy Road to the Tonkin Highway southbound, was completed and opened to traffic in November 2013. Construction on the main Gateway WA project started in September 2013. This $675.0 million project continues a major upgrade of the roads around Perth Airport, in particular around the southern access to the airport. The project includes widening of the roads as well as new and upgraded interchanges on the Tonkin and Leach highways project. When completed, Gateway WA is expected to reduce congestion and improve access to Perth Airport and surrounding industrial areas.

The Infrastructure Australia Amendment Act 2013 received Royal Assent in July 2014. The Act will strengthen the role of Infrastructure Australia, as an independent, transparent and expert advisory body through a change in its governance structure and through better clarification of its functions. Infrastructure Australia will be established as a separate entity.


Programme 1.1 was delivered by the Infrastructure Investment Division and Infrastructure Australia, with input from the Policy and Research Division. This programme 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 Programme 1.1 are in chapter 7.

Did you know?

As of August 2014, Australia's rail network consists of 32,784 route-kilometres, with a further 1,913 route-kilometres of rail network planned or under construction. Just over half of the route-kilometres of track was laid to the standard gauge (1,435 mm) width that is used on the interstate corridors.

Source: BITRE database.

Summary of Performance

Tables 3.1 and 3.2 summarise the Department's results in delivering Programme 1.1 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets published in the 2013–14 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Table 3.1 Summary of performance-Programme 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 2013–14
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 2013–14 are shown in Tables 3.4 and 3.5

The Black Spot and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programmes were established to address dangerous locations on the nation's road network.

During 2013–14, 148 Black Spot and 19 Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programme projects were completed
Australian land transport networks are more efficient. Projects that improve road and rail productivity are delivered. 2013–14
The efficiency of the land transport network has been enhanced through the completion of works to upgrade and widen roads including projects such as: the continuation of upgrading and duplicating of the Bruce and Pacific highways; improved access to Esperance Port; and strengthening and widening National Highways in the Northern Territory.

Rail projects completed during 2013–14 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.
States, territories and local governments are appropriately funded for network and off-network projects. Payments are within 5 per cent of forecast. 2013–14
The Department achieved payments of 100 per cent of funding allocated for 2013–14.

Result Key
Achieved All targets for 2013–14 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 2013–14

Table 3.2 Summary of performance-Programme 1.1 deliverables

Deliverable Target Result
Collaboration with state, territory and local governments to plan and evaluate land transport investments consistent with Australian Government priorities. States report monthly on progress of investments and quarterly on programme implementation. State and territory governments submitted reports for evaluation of their proposed projects, and monthly project progress reports.
Deliver the 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 Infrastructure Investment Programme administered items.
Number of funding recipients receiving Roads to Recovery funding. 570 recipients receive funding. 557 of 560 councils were eligible for Roads to Recovery funding in 2013–14. 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, 515 received funding and around 2,050 new projects were listed for funding. Of the remaining eligible funding recipients, 52 had been paid their full allocation in previous years, and three did not seek funds in 2013–14.
Efficient and effective oversight of the Australian Government's interest in the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited (MIC). Timely advice to the Australian Government on performance. The Department provided efficient and effective oversight of the ARTC and MIC, advising the Hon. Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development on their financial and operational performance against targets in the corporate plans for the year.

ARTC's 2013–14, Annual Statement of Corporate Intent was tabled in Parliament. ARTC recommenced paying dividends to the Australian Government, with the first interim dividend of $36.0 million paid. ARTC commenced working with the Inland Rail Implementation Group and interested parties to establish a staged, 10-year approach to the construction of Inland Rail.

During 2013–14, the Australian Government provided a total of $18.0 million in equity payments to MIC to advance the establishment phase activities for the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. These activities include the preparation of a detailed Environmental Impact Statement and the commencement of a competitive procurement process for the development and operation of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.
Identified integrated urban and regional infrastructure priorities. Implement agreed actions. The Department continued to enhance its understanding of infrastructure priorities through the work of the Policy and Research Division, the Regional Development Australia Branch and Infrastructure Investment Division, and maintenance of good links with all levels of government and key infrastructure stakeholders.
Regional Infrastructure Fund. Implement agreed projects. The Regional Infrastructure Fund was abolished by the Australian Government in late 2013.

Former Regional Infrastructure Fund projects that had funding commitments and had started are now included in the wider Infrastructure Investment Programme.
National ports and land freight initiatives. Strategy implementation. The Department continued to work with the states and territories and industry on an integrated national approach to address port and freight challenges. These national initiatives form the key themes of integrated planning, better national freight and ports data, and improved community engagement. In particular, substantial progress was made to map the key freight routes in Australia that connect the nationally significant places for freight. Maps of these routes are expected to be published in the first half of 2014–15.
Efficient and effective management of administered items. Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and the 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 Programme 1.1.

Table 3.3 Summary of performance-Programme 1.1 administered items

Administered Item Result
Infrastructure Investment Programme
-Investment $3.7 billion was provided in 2013–14 for planning and construction of 107 road and rail projects on the National Land Transport Network.
-Black Spot Projects The Department administered $64.5 million supporting projects to improve road safety at identified crash sites. The programme has reduced the risk of crashes through measures such as traffic lights, roundabouts, signage and edge sealing at dangerous sites around Australia.

In 2013–14, 148 Black Spot projects were completed and 169 were underway.
-Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity $33.4 million was provided to improve safety and productivity for the Australian heavy vehicle transport industry.

In 2013–14, 19 projects were completed and 44 were underway.
-Roads to Recovery $372.5 million was provided to 515 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 2013–14, 1,962 projects were completed and about 970 were underway.
-Off-Network Projects $477.3 million was provided to state, territory and local governments in 2013–14 to plan and construct 30 off-network projects.
-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 2014 were $247.3 million.
-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 on progress each month. Total expenses to 30 June 2014 were $1,819.5 million.
Plan for the Future $1.2 billion was provided for three Plan for the Future projects.
Jobs Fund—Infrastructure Employment Projects $2.1 million was provided for the final two Infrastructure Employment Projects. All funding has now been provided.
Sustainable Australia—Liveable Communities $9.2 million was provided for 16 Liveable Communities projects. All funding has now been provided.
Sustainable Australia—National Smart Managed Motorways $20.6 million was provided for three National Smart Managed Motorways projects.

Note: The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.


Pacific Highway Upgrade

a photograph of Pacific Highway

The Australian and New South Wales governments have been jointly upgrading the Pacific Highway since 1996. The Highway is the key road corridor connecting Sydney and Brisbane and is a major contributor to Australia's economic activity. As of June 2014, 381 kilometres, or 58 per cent of the final highway length, had been upgraded to a four-lane divided road. Another 80 kilometres is under construction and a further 57 kilometres is expected to commence construction by the end of 2014.

Motorists now travel on a continuous four-lane divided road between Sydney and Port Macquarie and will be able to travel under similar conditions between Ballina and the Queensland border in 2015. The Pacific Highway is expected to be duplicated from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour by the end of 2017, followed by the completion of the final Woolgoolga to Ballina section by the end of the decade. The completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade will provide a continuous four-lane divided road for the full length of the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane transport corridor.

Since the start of the Pacific Highway upgrade, light vehicles are saving a minimum of 90 minutes and heavy vehicles are saving a minimum of 100 minutes between Newcastle and the Queensland border compared to 1996. Travel time savings will continue to be realised with the completion of projects as the upgrade progresses.

Significant safety improvements have also been realised, with the number of fatal crashes recorded each year halving since the start of the upgrade from figures in the mid-40s to the 20s in recent years. The number of fatal crashes in 2013 was 17.

The Kempsey bypass opened to traffic in March 2013. At 3.2 kilometres in length, the bridge over the Macleay River and its floodplain is the longest in Australia. The project delivered innovative solutions to major engineering challenges as well as a range of improved flooding and environmental outcomes for the community.

Detailed Report on Performance

The following report is against the components of Programme 1.1 in the 2013–14 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

(a) Raising the Standard of Land Transport Infrastructure

In 2013–14, work began on 22 land transport infrastructure projects, including projects managed under the Investment and Off-Network programmes. Work was completed on 53 land transport infrastructure projects, 45 road and eight rail, as shown in Tables 3.4 and 3.5.

Table 3.4 Details of road infrastructure projects completed in 2013–14

State/Territory Project
New South Wales Pacific Highway—Herons Creek to Stills Road
Pacific Highway—Devils Pulpit
Hunter Economic Infrastructure Plan
Higher Mass Limit Bridges Package
Chullora Intermodal Terminal Access Roads Upgrade
Bega Bypass
Bolivia Hill Reconstruction—Planning
Hunter Expressway
Scone Rail Level Crossing Study
Barton Highway Safety Works—Murrumbateman Road Intersection Improvement
Nundle to Quirindi Log Haulage Route
Queensland Bruce Highway—Upgrade to the Southern Approach to Mackay
Bruce Highway—Cardwell Range Realignment
Bruce Highway—Yeppen Lagoon Bridge and Roundabout
Bruce Highway—Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade—Planning and Design
Bruce Highway—Upgrading of the Southern Approach to Gin Gin
Bruce Highway—Burdekin Road Safety Audit Projects
Bruce Highway—Upgrade to the Southern Approach to Cairns
Bruce Highway—Calliope Crossroads
Interchange at Mains and Kessels Roads
Pacific Motorway Upgrade—Daisy Hill to Logan Motorway (Section C)
Eton Range Crossing, Peak Downs Highway—Planning Study
Warrego Highway—Mitchell Township Rehabilitation
North Queensland Supply Chain—Operationalising the 50 Year Infrastructure Plan
Victoria Western Ring Road Upgrade
Metropolitan Ring Road Upgrade—Edgars Road to Plenty Road
Clyde Road Upgrade
National Smart Managed Motorways—West Gate Freeway—Western Ring Road to Williamstown Road
Western Australia Abernethy Road—Tonkin Highway Onramp
Great Northern Highway—Port Hedland Upgrade
Bunbury Port Access and Outer Ring Road—Road Train Assembly Area
South Australia South Road Superway
Dukes Highway Upgrade
Northern Territory Stuart Highway—Overtaking opportunities between Katherine and Darwin
Strengthening and widening works on the Stuart, Victoria and Barkly highways
Tasmania Western Tasmania Export Corridor Plan

Table 3.5 Details of rail infrastructure projects completed in 2013–14

State Project
New South Wales North Coast Curve Easing Project
Completion of Concrete Resleepering Works on the Melbourne to Sydney Rail Line
Victoria Signalling Works for a Passing Lane between Albion and Jacana
Western Australia Perth Light Rail Planning Study
Perth City Link—Rail Component
Trail of Low Profile Concrete Sleepers on WA Grain Rail Lines
South Australia Goodwood and Torrens Junctions Project—Goodwood Underpass and Adelaide Showgrounds Station (formerly known as Wayville Station)
Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension
Tasmania Rail Capacity Improvements at Rhyndaston

(b) Infrastructure Policy Initiatives


A key achievement in 2013–14 was the development of the new Infrastructure Investment Programme announced in the 2014–15 Australian Government Budget. The Australian Government announced $50.0 billion in infrastructure investment which comprises the Infrastructure Investment Programme and the Infrastructure Growth Package, which includes the $5.0 billion Asset Recycling Initiative.

The Programme aims to invest in a modern, safe, sustainable national transport system to enhance the interconnectivity of corridors (networks) of significant economic opportunity across Australia. The Programme will promote sustainable economic growth through increased productivity and safety; encourage and deliver a consistent, innovative and integrated approach to planning; and improve practices and systems between government and industry. The Programme will span a five-year period from 2014–15 to 2018–19.

In delivering the Programme the Department is:

  • finalising a renewed National Partnership Agreement with state and territory governments to provide for payments for eligible, approved infrastructure projects to be made to states and territory governments
  • reviewing and updating the National Land Transport Network in consultation with stakeholders, and
  • through the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill, amending the Nation Building Program (National Land Transport) Act 2009. These amendments will, amongst other things continue the Roads to Recovery programme beyond 30 June 2014, include research related projects in the types of projects which are eligible for funding consideration, as well as make necessary administrative updates.

The $11.6 billion Infrastructure Growth Package is expected to support over $58.0 billion in new investment. This Package includes:

  • new investments in major road upgrades and a new National Highways Upgrade programme, supplements to the Roads to Recovery, Bridges Renewal and Black Spot programme, and funding to support delivery of land transport links in Western Sydney to support the Australian Government's announcement of the airport at Badgery's Creek.
  • a further $5.0 billion Asset Recycling Initiative (administered by the Treasury), which will provide incentives to state and territory governments who sell publicly owned infrastructure assets to generate capital to invest in new, productivity enhancing infrastructure, and
  • a commitment by the Australian Government to consider a range of funding and financing options alternative to traditional grants designed to encourage greater private sector involvement in major infrastructure investment.

The Australian Government commissioned the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into public infrastructure which included investigation into the barriers to private sector investment in public infrastructure and options to encourage additional private sector investment to improve project delivery and reduce project costs. The Productivity Commission's final report was tabled on 14 July 2014.

Infrastructure Australia

On 17 July 2014 the Infrastructure Australia Amendment Act 2013 received Royal Assent, achieving a major milestone towards one of the Australian Government's key election commitments. The Act establishes Infrastructure Australia as an independent statutory authority under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and better defines Infrastructure Australia's responsibilities. This includes undertaking five yearly evidence-based audits, developing top-down priority lists at national and state levels and developing a 15-year infrastructure plan. In addition, Infrastructure Australia will be required to evaluate proposals seeking $100.0 million or more in funding from the Australian Government. The Department has begun work to assist Infrastructure Australia in its transition to the new entity.

Micro-economic Reform

The Department supported the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) micro-economic reform through the Infrastructure Working Group. The Infrastructure Working Group continues to progress initiatives against the four priority areas for reform identified by COAG.

  • Early planning and streamlining of approvals: The Infrastructure Working Group has identified the current approaches used by jurisdictions and the major barriers to securing land corridors and precincts. The work will lead to the development of consistent policies that will strengthen strategic planning processes.
  • Rigorous project selection and prioritisation: Developments of a set of metrics that measure productivity and wider economic benefits. This work will enhance project appraisal by complementing the cost benefit analysis methodology.
  • Facilitating private sector investment: Development and publication of an asset sales page that supports the Asset Recycling Initiative.
  • Improving and accelerating project delivery and value for money: Commenced data collection to enable the benchmarking of infrastructure project development and delivery.
International Engagement

The Department continued to work with Austrade to implement a partnership strategy 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. This will improve access to international supply chains for Australian firms and increasing competition in the construction sector.

The Department also cooperated with several agencies involved in Australia's G20 participation. As G20 president in 2014, Australia led a series of meetings involving senior officials, ministers and leaders to develop strategies to improve the performance of the global economy. The infrastructure agenda for the G20 in 2014 was advanced through the Infrastructure and Investment Working Group, which met in Sydney as well as Mexico, Singapore and Indonesia. Infrastructure was also discussed by several non-governmental engagement groups, including the Business 20, which offered constructive ideas for consideration by the G20.

The Department continued to support and 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 Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hosted the fourth dialogue on 23 October 2013.

On 18 November 2013, the Department hosted the inaugural working group meeting to support the Memorandum of Understanding on Enhancing Cooperation in Infrastructure held between Australia and the People's Republic of China (China). The aim of the Memorandum of Understanding is to build closer economic relations between the two countries in further enhancing bilateral economic and trade cooperation in the infrastructure sector. The meeting was attended by government representatives of Australia and China as well as other private sector organisations from China.


State of Australian Cities Interactive City Maps

a photograph of State of Australian Cities Interactive City Maps

Aside from city states like Singapore and Monaco, Australia is the most urbanised nation on earth. More than three quarters of Australians live in a city of 100,000 people or more, with around 40 per cent of the population living in just two cities-Sydney and Melbourne. The State of Australian Cities publication reports on the progress of Australia's major cities. The purpose of the report is to present a comprehensive picture of how our major cities are evolving, and to strengthen the knowledge base used to develop policy. The fourth report in the series, State of Australian Cities 2013, was launched on 30 July 2013. The report detailed changes in urban population and settlement and examined indicators relating to productivity, sustainability and liveability; with emphasis on migration, industry structure and human capital. It concluded with a discussion of governance in Australia's major cities.

In 2013, for the first time the spatial focus of State of Australian Cities was significantly enhanced through the addition of hundreds of high resolution interactive maps of the major cities. The maps allow readers to explore particular aspects of cities according to their interests. Key findings are set out below.

  • Australia has one of the most mobile populations in the world, but rather than a mass movement of population from one place to another, it is better characterised as rivers of people flowing in well-defined beds.
  • Migration in Australia is changing from a mainly permanent settlement of people from overseas to include a rapid churn (people moving in and out) of temporary visa holders. On any day, there are more than one million temporary visa holders in Australia (excluding NewZealanders).
  • Economic value, and by extension high-paying jobs, are increasingly concentrated in city centres. Reflecting this, education levels are higher in the cities' centres.
  • Industry structure varies widely in the non-capital major cities. This suggests that they perform specialised functions in Australia's economic system.
  • Areas with dense mass transit networks and residents with high income often coincide. This means that those using rail and ferry services in particular have higher incomes than those using other transport modes.

(c) Infrastructure Funding

The Department worked with state and territory transport agencies to develop a number of alternative financing proposals. This work culminated in the announcement of the 2014–15 Budget that included a range of projects expected to be delivered as Public Private Partnerships.

Public Private Partnerships projects announced in the Budget include the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the Perth Freight Link and WestConnex in Sydney. The Australian Government is providing a concessional bridging loan of up to $2.0 billion for the WestConnex project. This is the first ever concessional loan provided by the Australian Government for an infrastructure project.

The Department is undertaking significant due diligence activities on all of the announced financing projects to ensure the Australian Government investment is protected. The Department continues to undertake analysis and provide advice to the Australian Government on potential future financing proposals.

Following on from the 2014–15 Budget, where over $50.0 billion for productivity enhancing infrastructure was announced, around $30.0 billion worth of projects have been added to the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule so far, totalling over $110.0 billion in value. An asset sales page was also added to complement the Asset Recycling Initiative by allowing governments to publish the details of proposed asset sales. The National Infrastructure Construction Schedule has recorded over five million website hits since it was launched in 2012.

(d) Remedial Road Projects to Improve Safety and Productivity

Black Spot Programme

The Black Spot programme improves the safety of road sites which have been identified as high-risk areas for serious crashes. The programme 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 2013–14, the Department continued to work with state and territory agencies to ensure that the programme 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 2013–14, 148 Black Spot projects were completed and a further 169 were underway at the end of the financial year. The total payment to Black Spot projects in 2013–14 was $64.5 million.

Network Maintenance

Funding is provided to the states and territories for the maintenance of roads on the National Land Transport Network. Funding allocations are determined annually by a formula. Maintenance funds must be spent on the network but each state and territory is able to choose the location and type of asset preservation work undertaken. The total payment to network maintenance in 2013–14 was $303.9 million.

Did you know?

Over the last decade, national annual road fatalities decreased by almost 25 per cent, road fatalities per population decreased by 35 per cent and counts of fatal crashes decreased by 23 per cent.

Source: Road Deaths Australia-2013 Statistical Summary.


Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan

a photograph of three groups of people smiling

The Australian Government in partnership with the New South Wales Government, has announced a 10-year, $3.5 billion road investment plan for Western Sydney. This investment in major infrastructure upgrades will transform the region's economy and capitalise on the economic gains from developing an airport at Badgerys Creek.

The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan will provide quality surface transport linkages to the new airport and broader Western Sydney region and ensure the efficient movement of people and freight.

The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan includes:

  • the upgrade of The Northern Road to a minimum of four lanes from Narellan to the M4 Motorway
  • the construction of a new east-west motorway to the airport between the M7 Motorway and The Northern Road
  • the upgrade of Bringelly Road to a minimum of four lanes between The Northern Road and Camden Valley Way, and
  • a $200.0 million, fully Australian Government funded, Local Roads Package.

The Western Sydney region is growing significantly, both in terms of population and its contribution to the national economy. The region is home to more than two million residents-over 40 per cent of the Sydney metropolitan population. This investment will relieve pressure on existing infrastructure and unlock the economic capacity of the region by easing congestion, reducing travel times and increasing employment opportunities.

Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity

Through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programme, the safety of the drivers of heavy vehicles is targeted through fatigue management and road enhancement projects, such as rest areas and bridge upgrades. Eligible project categories under Round Three of the programme over the period 2012–13 to 2013–14 also included demonstration projects and livestock transport industry projects.

In 2013–14, 16 of the 92 projects approved under Round Three of the programme were completed and 44 were underway at the end of the financial year. A further three projects previously approved for delivery under rounds one and two of the programme were completed in 2013–14. The total payment made to Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity projects in 2013–14 was $33.4 million.

(e) Increasing the Ability of Local Councils to Improve Land Transport Infrastructure

Roads to Recovery

The Roads to Recovery programme provides funding for projects at a local level. Each local authority across Australia is guaranteed a share of the programme funding. The Australian Government directly funds each council. Decisions on projects to be funded are made locally and reported to the Australian Government. In 2013–14, a total of $372.5 million was paid under the programme to local councils, three state governments, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory governments and the Indian Ocean Territories.

Since the current programme started in 2009–10 councils and other funding recipients have reported that 31 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 (6 per cent); improvements to school bus routes (5 per cent); traffic management (5 per cent); and regional economic development (4 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 programme 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 governments were required to spend $1.9 billion on own-source funded road works in 2012–13. Reported total own source roads expenditure in 2012–13 was $2.9 billion.

Own-source expenditure is monitored at the council level and individual councils which do not meet the requirement in a given year can apply for a waiver for the relevant financial year. At 30 June 2014, 16 of the 570 eligible funding recipients received a waiver during 2013–14 for an expenditure maintenance breach in 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12 or 2012–13 and nine of the 16 waivers included the application of replacement conditions to ensure that the shortfalls in own source expenditure are made up in future years.

(f) Major Projects Facilitation

A total of 19 projects had access to Major Project Facilitation services during 2013–14, in the sectors of infrastructure, mining and petroleum development. The projects potentially represent approximately $130.0 billion in total investment and have been estimated to generate more than 30,000 jobs during the peak construction stages and 10,000 permanent jobs.

The Department provides facilitation services to all approved Major Project Facilitation proponents, helping to coordinate Australian Government approvals and ensuring they are coordinated with relevant state and territory government processes to occur simultaneously, with minimal duplication. The programme also ensures that other government agencies respond promptly to specific issues that proponents raise so projects can proceed as quickly as possible.

(g) Driving a National Strategy to Guide Policy and Investments in Australia

The Department released the State of Australian Cities 2013 in August 2013. It was the fourth in a series of annual Australian Government publications which monitor and report on facets of population and settlement, productivity, sustainability and liveability in Australian major cities.

State, territory and local government planning, including jurisdictional metropolitan strategic plans, was considered in a number of pieces of departmental work, including consideration of airport master plans, consideration of the needs of northern Australia cities, and evaluation of major infrastructure proposals.

The Department provided input about long term planning issues to a number of inquiries conducted by the Productivity Commission.

(h) Supporting State, Territory and Local Governments to Increase the Productivity, Sustainability and Liveability of Our Communities

All remaining programme funds (approximately $9.2 million) were provided to project proponents in 2013–14. The overall programme provided approximately $16.2 million in Australian Government contributions to 22 projects across Australia.


Inland Railway Project

two honeycomb shaped photos showing railway

The Australian Government has committed to building a new piece of national infrastructure by constructing an inland railway between Melbourne and Brisbane, via central-west New South Wales and Toowoomba. The project is an investment in strategic infrastructure for the future, to provide capacity to service the east coast freight market for the next half century and beyond.

To help construction start as soon as possible the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development created a high-level implementation group, with a priority to settle the detailed alignment and deliver an implementation strategy for the route. The group will also examine financing options and engage with private sector investors, as well as those that will benefit from the line's construction.

The delivery of inland rail is being guided by the 2010 Inland Rail Alignment Study undertaken by the Australian Rail Track Corporation on behalf of the Australian Government. The project will use the existing interstate rail line through Victoria and southern New South Wales, but will require approximately 400 kilometres of track upgrades predominantly in New South Wales and approximately 600 kilometres of new track through northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Inland rail will provide a second link between Queensland and the southern states, ensuring resilience and redundancy for the existing rail network and allowing freight travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne to bypass the busy Sydney network. A dedicated freight line to the Port of Brisbane is being investigated as part of the programme. Inland Rail will help link regional areas of the eastern states to the ports and assist manufacturers, agricultural products and minerals reaching the market.

The complete route will be approximately 1,731 kilometres in length and aims to provide a freight service that is competitive with road. The project will deliver a transit time of around 21 hours for freight between Melbourne and Brisbane, approximately 7–10 hours less than the current congested route through Sydney and the New South Wales North Coast.

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Last Updated: 3 February, 2015