In 2013, the Australian Government initiated an inquiry into ways to encourage private financing and funding for major infrastructure projects, including issues relating to the high cost and the long lead times associated with these projects.
Undertaken by the Productivity Commission, the inquiry considered costs, competitiveness and productivity in the provision of nationally significant economic infrastructure and examined ways to:
- address any barriers to private sector financing, including assessing the role and efficacy of alternative infrastructure funding and financing mechanisms, and to recommend mechanisms and operating principles to overcome such barriers;
- reduce infrastructure construction costs.
A draft report released by the Productivity Commission on the 13th March 2014 has identified an abundance of flaws, mythologies and forgone opportunities in infrastructure financing, funding and procurement.
The Commission draft outlines a proposed process for improving infrastructure investment across all levels of government; and as a consequence attracting increased private investment.
The Commission also proposes to examine further a number of potential improvements to financing mechanisms for infrastructure, including options proposed to address specific concerns related to the role of superannuation funds in greenfields projects.
The report specifically devotes thought to road user pricing, both the scope for institutional reform and the opportunities for future pricing of new and upgraded roads investment.
On infrastructure costs, the draft report finds these could be significantly reduced through the adoption of better practice procurement processes by governments.
The Commission is seeking written feedback on the draft report by 4 April, and will hold public hearings in early April. A final report will be provided to the Australian Government in late May 2014.
Further information can be found on the Productivity Commission’s website http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/infrastructure/draft.
THE Federal and Queensland Government have agreed to investigate incorporating.
On 25th February, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson announced an investigation into expanding the ARTC’s 8,500km national network to incorporate Queensland’s regional rail network.
The ARTC was created as a one-stop shop for Commonwealth and State Governments in 1997 and is responsible for 8500kms of track in Australia. This includes a 94km section between the NSW border and Acacia Ridge, which was transferred to the ARTC in 2010.
Mr Emerson said ARTC officers would begin working with Queensland Rail staff immediately and would report back to the Queensland and Federal governments by mid-year.
The Queensland rail freight network includes about 6600km of track outside south-east Queensland.
The State and Federal Governments have given the green light to the Toowoomba 2nd Range Crossing (TSRC). The Announcement was made on 31 January 2014, and the procurement phase has already begun with “Register of Interest” being open to interested parties, documentation is available on the Projects Queensland website.
Toowoomba is a transport network hub for the Darling Downs and a gateway to the developing energy sector in the Surat Basin. With the Warrego, New England and Gore Highways converging in Toowoomba en route to and from the east it has become a focal point for both interstate and intrastate freight movement. Increasing traffic volumes are putting pressure on the highway network that passes through Toowoomba and over the Toowoomba Range.
The TSRC is 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 via Charlton and is expected to be ready for commencement by 2015.
The project is the largest Commonwealth Government commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland history.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said “Modelling shows over the next 30 years, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will help bring about a $2.4 billion increase in productivity in the Toowoomba region alone, boosting national productivity by $3.1 billion.”
The QTLC will closely follow the development of the specifications for the TSRC and will engage with industry and government to identify and promote tangential infrastructure, planning and policy that will leverage additional efficiency and productivity benefits.
On 10 February 2014 the Heavy Vehicle National Law 2012 (HVNL) commenced, replacing existing laws governing the operation of all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.
The NHVR will provide streamlined and practical operations for heavy vehicle access, accreditation, vehicle standards and fatigue management, and will continue to take measures to evolve into your one-stop-shop for heavy vehicle road transport business with government. The NHVR will continue to manage NHVAS accreditation and PBS design and vehicle approvals
The NHVR will be delivering the following services in those states and territories where the law has commenced:
issuing permits for heavy vehicle access, together with new forms for access applications
PBS vehicle design and vehicle access approvals
consistent compliance and enforcement
a new risk classification system for advanced fatigue management
vehicle inspection standards
For more information, visit www.nhvr.gov.au.