New schools in Molonglo and Eastlake, more CIT campuses, dedicated bus lanes, the redevelopment of ageing high-rise public housing developments, a new Supreme Court and a transformed public health system are among the infrastructure priorities contained in the ACT Government’s first ever Infrastructure Plan, released today.
Released by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, the 10-year document will be updated annually and includes not just short- and medium-term infrastructure priorities, but visionary long-term projects such as the VFT, and discusses the potential for new funding models for major infrastructure.
The plan was released in conjunction with the second edition of the Canberra Construction Snapshot, a biannual newsletter on the current and planned construction works, as reported by the ACT and Federal Governments and the private sector. The Snapshot details around $5.2 billion worth of construction activity currently underway in the region, supporting around 13,000 local jobs.
“Since coming to office in 2001, this Government has invested massively in the Territory’s infrastructure,” Mr Stanhope said, “particularly over the past few years.
“Our annual capital works expenditure almost tripled from around $110 million in 2001-02 to $296 million in 2008-09. Works-in-progress for 2009-10 are well on track and will eclipse last year’s record spend. In our latest Budget, $394 million has been allocated to new projects, with a cash allocation of around $2 billion towards capital projects over the next four years.
“The ACT Government knows the importance of high quality infrastructure to the economic prosperity of our community and the effective delivery of services. Investment in infrastructure is an investment in our future.”
The ACT Government Infrastructure Plan has been informed by the views of the community and industry, through the Government’s budget consultation strategy, and also through a series of high-level roundtables. It will provide a vehicle for reporting to the community and business sector on delivering major capital works through the Canberra Construction Snapshot.
It also provides an important link between the infrastructure priorities detailed in the annual budget and the Government’s long term vision for the city, as set out in The Canberra Plan: Towards Our Second Century.
“While this is an ACT Government Infrastructure Plan, it also recognises that infrastructure is a national priority and national responsibility,” Mr Stanhope said.
“Large and very costly projects, such as the Majura Parkway and Light Rail, along with projects of national significance, such as a VFT, warrant Commonwealth co-investment and the ACT will continue to advocate for these investments at a national level.”
The Plan details the key drivers of demand for infrastructure investment over the next ten years, including: the changing demographics of the Territory and region;the need to maintain existing infrastructure as it ages; climate change; and the need to sustain a strong and dynamic economy.The Plan also itemises infrastructure priorities over the next ten years in the following sectors.
Health, Education and Training
Housing and Community Services
Justice and Community Safety
Land Development and Planning
Water and Energy
Culture and the Arts
“It must be stressed that this is a ‘living document’ that will be updated each year, allowing the Government to respond to emerging issues and ensure that its priorities remain relevant,” Mr Stanhope said. “The prioritisation of investments will also allow the Government to ensure that its own infrastructure investments and investments by the private sector are sensibly scheduled, to avoid peaks and troughs of construction activity.
Future revisions of the Plan will be informed by six-monthly industry and community roundtables.
The Infrastructure Plan is available online at www.cmd.act.gov.au.
The Snapshot is available at www.business.act.gov.au.