Part 4: Activities

Infrastructure Investment Program

Through the Infrastructure Investment Program (Program 1.1) the department:

  • provided policy advice to support government investment decisions, including on potential projects and infrastructure delivery
  • managed delivery of infrastructure projects and programs, including working with state, territory and local governments
  • worked with state, territory and local governments, and industry to reform land transport investment and charging arrangements

The program contributed to four of our purposes:

  • supporting economic growth through transport
  • making travel safer
  • increasing transport access
  • supporting regional development and local communities
access
safer
economic
development

Our work on road and rail infrastructure was highlighted in the Voluntary National Review of the Implementation of Sustainability Development Goals released by the Australian Government on 15 June 2018. This describes how Australia is addressing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Influencing policy and program development

The government is committed to being an informed infrastructure investor by ensuring the impact of its investment is optimised and that projects support government policy objectives. During 2017–18 the department helped achieve this by:

  • advising our ministers to support informed decision-making on future priorities for investment
  • developing a robust evidence base which draws on our analysis of transport network modelling, Infrastructure Australia's Infrastructure Priority List, state and territory government infrastructure planning strategies, and consultation with state and territory governments
  • undertaking in-depth business case assessments and cost estimate reviews to ensure value for money
  • exploring alternative funding and financing approaches to optimise the impact of public investment in infrastructure, including working with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency to identify major projects for innovative funding and financing mechanisms
  • working with state and territory governments to ensure the Infrastructure Investment Program is delivered efficiently through activities such as assurance and compliance reviews

Management of funds

Funding for land transport infrastructure projects aims to improve Australia's transport network efficiency, safety, capacity, productivity and accessibility. It also supports the economic growth, viability and liveability of regions.

Once a project is formally approved by the responsible Minister, funding is released as agreed project milestones are achieved. The released funding is sufficient to achieve the next milestone, with an element of cash flow to ensure works continue to progress.

Throughout the delivery phase of a project, the funding recipient reports regularly on progress. When a project runs ahead of schedule or is delayed, milestone arrangements are varied accordingly.

If a project is completed under budget, the savings are held as unallocated pending an agreement between the relevant state and the Australian Government on the reallocation of funding to the next priority project.

In addition to overseeing delivery of major land transport projects, the department manages the government's infrastructure investment sub-programs. These support targeted road upgrades and include annual payments to help local governments maintain and upgrade roads, as well as funding for smaller projects to improve road safety and enable safer and more productive heavy vehicle use.

Land transport market reform

The department is focused on building a rigorous and objective evidence base to inform transport reform options. In 2017–18 we:

  • investigated potential future impacts of technological disruption in the transport sector and developed a range of scenarios for road-related revenue and expenditure
  • developed the capability to analyse the impacts of potential road funding reform options

The department is committed to ensuring that any reform in these areas considers the provision of roads as a community and economic service to all parts of Australia. This includes the needs of regional and remote communities.

Heavy vehicle road reform

Heavy vehicle road reform aims to turn the provision of heavy vehicle road infrastructure into an economic service where feasible. This means linking heavy vehicle user needs with the level of service they receive, the charges users pay and the investment of those charges back into heavy vehicle road services. Reforming heavy vehicle charging and investment arrangements will better enable road managers to deliver the level of road services necessary to meet the growing national freight task and improve access for industry.

Did you know?

Australia's road network is valued at $470 billion

S Alchin, Establishing a regulated asset base and applying a corporatised delivery model to the Australian road network—opportunities and challenges, ITF Discussion Paper, 2018.

Throughout 2017–18 work continued with state and territory governments to advise the Council of Australian Government's Transport and Infrastructure Council on accelerating heavy vehicle road reform. This work is being delivered in line with the road map agreed by the council in May 2015.

Over 2017–18 the department worked with stakeholders to:

  • begin the first two stages of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot, which involves working with heavy vehicle operators to test a potential national direct user charge to replace current fuel charges and registration fees
  • initiate the Trials Business Case Program
  • analyse stakeholder comments received following the release of the May 2017 public discussion paper on independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges
  • work with the National Transport Commission to develop a model for a cost base upon which heavy vehicle charges could be based
  • publish a second version of the heavy vehicle asset registers and expenditure plans to improve transparency around road expenditure, investment and service delivery for heavy vehicles on key freight routes

Did you know?

Australia's 589,600 freight vehicles move a combined 214 billion tonne kilometres each year

2017 BITRE Infrastructure Yearbook

Transport and Infrastructure Council asset registers

To foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system, we need underpinning data. Without data on the standard of our roads (including condition and usage) the department can't drive reforms that will foster these outcomes. Data needs to be collected and shared among not only road managers, but among road users. The Council Asset Register helps to improve efficiency of road investment by using nationally consistent data to inform life-cycle asset management. It shares this data with the public.

Project and program delivery

Infrastructure Investment Program

The Australian Government provided $4.6 billion through the Infrastructure Investment Program in 2017–18 toward around 600 major road and rail projects across Australia. During the year, 247 investment projects were completed and 349 were underway to deliver major transport projects to improve efficiency, productivity and connectivity.

Information about some of the key projects funded through the program is included in this chapter.

Road network initiatives

WestConnex

The $16.8 billion WestConnex project will provide 33 kilometres of motorway to link western and south-western Sydney with the city, Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany precincts. It is largely being constructed in the M4 and M5 corridors and will comprise approximately 14 kilometres of road above ground and approximately 19 kilometres of tunnels, including a new tunnel linking the two corridors.

The Australian Government provided payments totalling $1.5 billion towards the estimated $16.8 billion cost of the project, and has also entered into a $2 billion concessional loan arrangement to accelerate delivery of the new M5. Details on the concessional loan are included below.

Economic growth Expected to deliver more than $20 billion dollars in economic benefits for New South Wales
Travel time savings Time savings of 40 minutes are predicted travelling from Parramatta to the airport
Jobs Approximately 10,000 jobs will be supported during delivery of this project
Project timing Start date: March 2015
Anticipated completion: 2023
NorthConnex

The $3 billion NorthConnex project in Sydney includes building dual road tunnels approximately nine kilometres in length. The tunnels, beneath Pennant Hills Road and the Northern Railway Line, will link the M1 and M2 Motorways.

Including the $45 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $412.3 million towards this project.

Economic growth Expected to inject around $4 billion into the Australian economy
Travel time savings Time savings up to 15 minutes in 2019 are predicted, compared to using Pennant Hills Road
Jobs Approximately 8,700 jobs will be supported during delivery of this project
Project timing Start date: February 2015
Anticipated completion: 2019
Pacific Highway

The 790km Pacific Highway connects Sydney and Brisbane, and is a major contributor to Australia's economic activity. Works have been underway since 1996 to upgrade the highway and provide a four-lane divided road from Hexham, near Newcastle, to the Queensland border. At 30 June 2018, 80% of the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border is now a four-lane divided road. All remaining sections of the upgrade are under construction.

Including the $876.8 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $5.64 billion towards the program from 2013–14 to 2020–21. A further $971 million towards the Coffs Harbour Bypass was announced in the 2018–19 Budget.

Economic growth The highway carries more than three-quarters of all freight traffic between Brisbane and Sydney, making the artery vital to improving the economic performance of our nation
Travel time savings Time savings of 2.5 hours are expected over the length of the highway when the entire upgrade is completed
Jobs Approximately 3,600 direct and 10,800 indirect jobs will be supported during peak construction
Project timing Start date: 1996
Anticipated completion: 2020
Toowoomba Second Range Crossing

The $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project involves building a bypass route to the north of Toowoomba—approximately 41km in length—running from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east, to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west.

Including the $247.6 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $1.1 billion towards the project.

Economic growth $2.4 billion over 30 years in economic and productivity gains for business and industry
Travel time savings Time savings of up to 40 minutes are expected across the Toowoomba Range when the upgrade is completed
Jobs Approximately 1,800 jobs will be supported during the design and construction phases
Project timing Start date: December 2015
Anticipated completion: 2019
Bruce Highway

The 1,700km Bruce Highway is Queensland's major north-south road corridor, connecting coastal population centres from Brisbane to Cairns, and supporting around 58% of Queensland's population. The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program includes major upgrades and realignments, strengthening and widening works, plus a range of safety and efficiency measures to target poor crash sites and to provide additional overtaking lanes and rest areas.

Including the $533.6 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $10 billion towards the program from 2013–14 to 2027–28.

Economic growth The project is expected to generate substantial economic benefits through more efficient transport of goods from regional producers to the rest of Australia and the world
Travel time savings Expected travel time savings vary throughout the route
Jobs Approximately 3,600 jobs will be supported during the delivery of this program
Project timing Start date: July 2013
Anticipated completion: 2028
Victorian Infrastructure Package

More than 40 key road projects are receiving funding under the $3 billion Victorian Infrastructure Package, including the $1 billion upgrades of the Monash Freeway and M80 Ring Road, a new crossing of the Murray River between Echuca and Moama, and targeted road upgrades in the Green Triangle.

The $440 million Murray Basin Freight Rail project, also funded under the package, aims to better connect primary producers to the state's major ports, reduce transportation costs by allowing larger trains to move more product with each trip, and boost export opportunities. Upgrades to 1,000km of freight rail infrastructure across the Murray Basin will be delivered through the project.

Economic growth Through a broad focus on road and rail upgrades across both urban and regional Victoria, the package will boost productivity, increase competitiveness for export industries, and improve access for communities to jobs and services
Travel time savings The package is made up of projects that are expected to improve safety, reduce congestion and reduce travel times by improving network capacity, reliability and resilience. The expected improvements vary from project to project
Jobs The overall package is expected to support more than 1,500 jobs, including 600 on the Monash Freeway upgrade
Project timing Start date: May 2017
Anticipated completion: 2022
NorthLink WA

The $1 billion NorthLink WA project is providing a new transport link between Morley (Perth Airport area) and Muchea, north of Perth. Including the $236.7 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $682.1 million towards the project.

Economic growth The project is expected to boost productivity and create strong connections, with economic and social benefits
Travel time savings NorthLink WA is expected to result in a better flow of traffic in the region, saving time and costs for users
Jobs Approximately 5,600 jobs are expected to be supported during the delivery of this project.
Project timing Start date: June 2016
Anticipated completion: 2019
North–South Corridor in South Australia

The North–South Corridor project is creating a free flowing link connecting the Port of Adelaide, Adelaide Airport, the Islington intermodal terminal and other freight terminals. Including the $457.5 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is funding $3.0 billion towards the project.

Economic growth The project will enhance productivity and increase competitiveness for export industries
Travel time savings Travel time will decrease and congestion will be reduced
Jobs Over 1,330 jobs are expected to be supported during the project's delivery
Project timing Start date: August 2015
Anticipated completion: 2027
Midland Highway in Tasmania

The $500 million Midland Highway Upgrade is supported by a 10 year action plan to provide a safer road with more overtaking opportunities. The project will deliver a minimum 3-star rating for the highway's entire length. Including the $81.2 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $400 million towards the Midland Highway.

Economic growth The Midland Highway is the primary north-south corridor in the state. The upgrade is expected to boost freight productivity and improve access for communities to jobs and services
Travel time savings Travel times are expected to reduce as reliability and safety improves across the length of the corridor
Jobs More than 1,050 jobs will be supported during delivery of this project
Project timing Start date: 2015
Anticipated completion: 2024
Cape York Region Package in Queensland

The $260.5 million Cape York Region Package involves a range of transport and community infrastructure projects. This includes upgrading priority sections of the Peninsula Developmental Road, which is the main access road into Cape York from the south. Including the $56.1 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $208.4 million towards the project.

Economic growth The package is expected to support economic growth by improving community access to areas of economic opportunity and essential services. The package will also support growth in the tourism, hospitality and mining industries and reduce freight costs
Travel time savings Reduced travel times will be achieved by improving the reliability of the Peninsula Development Road and other key roads across the Cape York region
Jobs Over 160 jobs are expected to be supported over the life of the package
Project timing Start date: Mid 2014
Anticipated completion: 2019
Echuca Moama Bridge in Victoria

The $280 million Echuca–Moama Bridge project will construct a new road crossing over the Campaspe River and Murray River at Echuca–Moama. Including the $97 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $97 million towards the project.

Economic growth The project will support economic growth by improving transport network efficiency, facilitating greater commercial and industrial activity, and improving connections to employment and services
Travel time savings Travel time savings will be achieved by reducing congestion and enabling heavier and larger vehicles to make shorter, more direct river crossings at this location
Jobs Approximately 400 jobs are expected to be supported during the delivery of this project
Project timing Anticipated start date: October 2017
Anticipated completion: 2020
Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan

The $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is providing better road linkages within the Western Sydney region. This includes upgrades to The Northern Road, Bringelly Road, Werrington Arterial Road, and the Great Western Highway and Ross Street intersection at Glenbrook. The project includes construction of the M12 Motorway and a $200 million competitive rounds-based Local Roads Package.

Including the $310.0 million provided in 2017–18, the Australian Government is providing $2.9 billion towards the project.

Economic growth The plan will relieve pressure on existing infrastructure and unlock the economic capacity of the region by easing congestion and reducing travel times. It will deliver a quality surface transport network, ensuring efficient movement of passengers, employees and freight when Western Sydney Airport opens in 2026
Travel time savings The plan is expected to reduce travel time through improved road transport capacity ahead of future traffic demand. This is especially the case as planned residential and employment development comes online in western Sydney growth areas and the Western Sydney Employment Area
Jobs Approximately 4,000 jobs will be supported during the delivery of this project
Plan timing Start date: Mid 2014
Anticipated completion: 2025

Rail network initiatives

Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited and Moorebank Intermodal Company project oversight

The department oversees government projects funded through the Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited (ARTC) and the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited—a multi modal interstate and import/export freight hub being constructed in Sydney's South West.

The department also provides shareholder oversight of the ARTC and Moorebank Intermodal Company. This includes advising the shareholder minister on financial and operational performance, as well as governance of the businesses.

Melbourne–Brisbane Inland Rail project

Inland Rail will provide a high-capacity freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane through regional Australia, to better connect our cities, farms and mines via ports to domestic and international markets. The 1,700km rail line is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia.

The Australian Government has committed $9.3 billion in equity and grant funding to develop and build Inland Rail through the ARTC.

In 2017–18 the department finalised governance arrangements, which included reporting, monitoring and financial arrangements for the project. The department also finalised bilateral agreements with NSW and Victoria to facilitate delivery of Inland Rail, including property acquisition and corridor protection arrangements.

Inland Rail is divided into 13 projects, one project in Victoria, seven in NSW and five in Queensland. Of the 13 projects, all have completed the concept assessment stage (the first of six stages in the project delivery plan) and two have advanced to the third stage, project assessment. Construction on the Parkes to Narromine section is scheduled to commence in 2018.

Economic growth Improved travel times for produce to markets, decreased costs for producers and freight operators, less heavy vehicles on the road network, potential for intermodal hubs
Travel time savings Inland Rail will allow double-stacked trains 1,800 metres long to transit between Melbourne and Brisbane within 24 hours and with 98 per cent reliability. This is a significant saving on the current rail transit time of at least 48 hours
Jobs Up to 16,000 direct and indirect jobs, and 700 jobs once operational
Project timing Construction start date: 2018
Anticipated completion: 2025
Urban rail plans

In 2017–18 the department continued work with state governments to develop urban rail plans for Australia's five largest cities—Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide—and their surrounding regions.

This work addresses several of the recommendations made by Infrastructure Australia in its 2016–17 Australian Infrastructure Plan.

Work to date has included examining each city's urban rail network, investigating global trends and drivers of urban rail (including technology developments and changing demographic patterns) and reviewing state rail and land use plans. A review has also been undertaken of the relationships between rail infrastructure and housing access and affordability.

The detailed urban rail plans, which will be launched successively for each city from late 2018, will position the Australian Government to better engage in rail planning and investment decisions as an informed investor.

National Rail Program

In the 2017–18 Budget, the Australian Government announced a major, long-term commitment to invest in passenger rail networks in our big cities, and between our cities and their surrounding regional centres.

The $10 billion National Rail Program is designed to make our cities more liveable and efficient as they grow, reduce the burden on our roads, provide more reliable transport networks, and support efforts to decentralise our economy and grow regional Australia.

Following the announcement, the department developed program criteria to ensure projects considered for funding meet key objectives and desired outcomes, governance, eligibility and funding and financing arrangements. The Australian Government announced $4.9 billion of National Rail Program funding commitments in the 2018–19 Budget in May 2018.

Regional rail network upgrades in Victoria

The $1.75 billion Victorian Regional Rail Revival program will upgrade every regional passenger train line in Victoria. The $1.6 billion Australian Government contribution to the program includes upgrades to the Ballarat, Gippsland (including the Avon River Bridge), North East, Geelong, Warrnambool and Bendigo/Echuca rail lines as well as Shepparton Freight Network Planning. During the year, the department worked with Victorian Government officials to progress implementation arrangements for the upgrades and construction commenced on the Ballarat Rail Line upgrade.

METRONET

The METRONET in Perth is an integrated transport and land use project that is expected to support growth of the city's metropolitan region over the next 50 to 100 years. METRONET Stage One includes approximately 72km of new heavy passenger rail and up to 18 new rail stations.

Including the $513.3 million provided in 2017–18, $1.8 billion is being provided under the Infrastructure Investment Program and the National Rail Program with a total Australian Government commitment towards the project of $2.3 billion.

Economic growth The project is the cornerstone of a Perth City Deal, a long-term partnership between Australian, state and local governments that will align planning, investment and reforms to manage growth and secure Perth's future prosperity and liveability
Travel time savings METRONET is expected to deliver travel time savings across metropolitan Perth. It will improve connectivity and accessibility by reducing congestion on the existing road network and providing public transport options
Jobs Approximately 17,000 jobs are expected to be supported during the delivery of this project
Project timing Construction is expected to commence from 2019 (Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail  Extension)
Faster rail proposals

In the 2017–18 Budget, the Australian Government committed $20 million through the Infrastructure Investment Program to support up to three faster rail business cases for faster passenger rail services between cities and major regional centres.

In September 2017 the government released the Faster Rail Prospectus, which outlined a three-stage process for proponents to submit proposals for consideration. The department received 26 project proposals, which were assessed against the assessment criteria published in the prospectus.

In March 2018 the government announced that three proposals had been selected to receive matching funding for business case development. These were:

  • Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA): Melbourne to Greater Shepparton CLARA has indicated that travel times over the full length of the line could be reduced from approximately three hours to 32 minutes
  • NSW Government (Transport for NSW): Sydney to Newcastle
    The NSW Government has indicated time savings of approximately one hour could be achieved through both minor and major service improvements on the existing rail corridor
  • North Coast Connect Consortium: Brisbane and the regions of Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast
    The consortium has indicated that travel times could be reduced from approximately two hours to 45 minutes between Nambour and Brisbane

Business cases are expected to be completed during 2019–20. Financial support to develop a business case does not indicate Australian Government support for a construction project

Road programs

Black Spot Program

144 Black Spot projects completed 158 underway

The Australian Government provided $100 million for Black Spot projects in 2017–18 to improve road safety at identified crash sites around Australia. The Black Spot Program reduces the risk of crashes at these locations through measures such as traffic lights, roundabouts, signage and edge sealing. During the year, 144 Black Spot projects were completed and 158 were underway.

Estimated expenditure for the Black Spot Program in 2017–18 was $85 million. A variance of $15 million was due to funding being brought forward to meet higher than expected claims as a result of better than anticipated delivery of works by project proponents.

Bridges Renewal Program

The Australian Government provided $46.5 million through the Bridges Renewal Program in 2017–18 to upgrade and repair bridges for enhanced access and safety. During the year 44 Bridges Renewal projects were completed and 36 were underway.

Estimated expenditure for the Bridges Renewal Program in 2017–18 was $90 million. A variance of $43.5 million was determined in consultation with funding recipients to better match the project construction delivery schedules and milestone completion dates.

Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program

The Australian Government provided $46.4 million through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program in 2017–18 to projects that improve productivity and reduce the number of road accidents involving heavy vehicles. During the year, 33 projects were completed and 42 were underway.

Estimated expenditure for the program in 2017–18 was $60 million. A variance of $13.6 million was determined in consultation with funding recipients to better match the project construction delivery schedules and milestone completion dates.

Roads to Recovery Program

The Australian Government provided $700 million through the Roads to Recovery Program in 2017–18 for road construction and maintenance projects at a local level. On 7 November 2017, a statement of expectations for the program was issued asking councils to give greater priority to road safety projects. It also asked councils to provide additional information on the benefits and outcomes of each project to help us assess the effectiveness of the program.

During the year 2,707 Roads to Recovery projects were completed and 2,472 were underway.

Initiatives from the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia
Northern Australia Roads Program

The Australian Government provided $86.5 million through the Northern Australia Roads Program in 2017–18 to enable upgrades to high priority roads in the region and to support local economic development. During the year, six projects were underway and one completed.

Estimated expenditure for the Northern Australia Roads Program in 2017–18 was $188.5 million. A variance of $102 million was determined in consultation with funding recipients to reflect revised project construction delivery schedules and milestone completion dates.

Northern Australia Beef Roads Program

The government provided $5.6 million through the Beef Roads Program in 2017–18 for targeted upgrades to key cattle transport roads. This will improve the reliability, productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains in northern Australia. During the year, five projects were underway.

Estimated expenditure for the Beef Roads Program in 2017–18 was $45.4 million. A variance of $39.8 million was determined in consultation with funding recipients to reflect revised project construction delivery schedules and milestone completion dates.

Concessional loans

WestConnex Stage 2—concessional loan

The government entered into a $2 billion concessional loan arrangement for the WestConnex project in 2015–16.

The concessional loan is facilitating both stages one and two of the project to be delivered together, bringing forward the delivery of Stage 2 by around 18 months.

Up to $2 billion dollars will be available to be drawn down to fund construction costs for the new M5, with the loan expected to be repaid in full by 2029. 

Further details about the WestConnex project are within this chapter.

University of the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay Campus—concessional loan

The government's low-interest loan to the University of the Sunshine Coast will enable the university to begin foundation work for the Moreton Bay Campus. The campus is expected to open in time for the start of the first semester in 2020. The loan amount of up to $121 million will be provided over a 12-year term. These terms provide particular assistance to the university during construction and the early years of operation, as student numbers ramp up.

Sunshine Coast Airport—concessional loan

The upgrade to the Sunshine Coast Airport will transform it into an international air passenger and freight hub. The loan will help build a new runway and associated extensions of the aircraft aprons. The loan amount of $181 million will be provided over six-years.

Summary of expenses

For a summary of expenses please refer to Infrastructure Investment Program (Program 1.1) at Appendix A.

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Last Updated: 12 November, 2018