Environmental changes headline the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia.
The latest edition presents 147 infrastructure proposals of national significance, the largest number since the list’s inception.
The list introduces five new High Priority National initiatives covering water, the nations rapidly growing waste problem, coastal inundation and road maintenance.
Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew said the Infrastructure Priority List reflects both the diversity and urgency of the nation’s future infrastructure needs.
“Resilience was a key theme of our 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and this focus continues to be reflected in our latest edition of the Infrastructure Priority List,” Ms. Madew said.
“Compounding issues of unprecedented infrastructure demand, severe drought and other environmental changes, require a focus on our resilience strategies and a consensus on where to invest now for our nation’s future prosperity.”
Infrastructure Australia specifically identified a new High Priority Initiative for a National water strategy and a town and city water security strategy.
The report notes that demand for water systems is increasing and the water cycle is also being altered by changing climate, changes to run-off and evaporation due to land and forest management.
“In response to this call to action, we’re expecting a range of solutions to be considered for capturing, managing and distributing water, along with improvements in reporting and use of data in the water sector,” Ms. Madew said.
Regional Australia also emerged as a focus of this edition of the Infrastructure Priority List with a call to improve mobile telecommunications coverage in remote areas and improve regional road safety.
“Truly staying connected requires not only safe and efficient transport options, but also ensuring our towns and regional communities have the same access to telecommunications as the rest of Australia. This is to also provide people with reliable access to electronic payment systems, emergency alerts and other critical services,” Ms. Madew said.
In total the latest edition of the Priority List identifies a project pipeline worth more than $58 billion.
It is a collaborative document developed using data from the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and submissions from all levels of government, industry and the community.
“The Priority List has a strong record of driving national investment and has become a key reference point for all levels of government,” Ms. Madew said.