South-east Queensland must find 700,000 homes for an extra 1.4 million people within 15 years, Australia's pre-eminent infrastructure body says.
On Wednesday, Infrastructure Australia said if no key infrastructure projects were built in the south-east, the cost of waiting in traffic for commuters, small, medium and large businesses will escalate from $1.9 billion in 2011 to $9.2 billion by 2031.
Queensland's population will grow to 6.4 million and south-east Queensland's population will grow by 1.4 million in 15 years.
That is the blunt warning to Australian governments and industry organisations from Infrastructure Australia as it begins a major campaign to persuade governments they must commit to big infrastructure projects.
In addition, Engineers Australia Queensland infrastructure spokesman Chris Warnock, who in 1993 warned a second rail crossing of Brisbane River was needed by 2015, said successive Queensland state governments had been "missing in action" over infrastructure for the past "10 to 15 years".
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More on this issue from Infrastructure Australia's statement
Infrastructure Australia has recommended fundamental changes to the way we plan, fund, deliver and use our infrastructure, which will result in the average Australian household being almost $3000 better off each year by 2040.
Releasing the first 15 year Australian Infrastructure Plan today, Chairman Mark Birrell said Australia can get the infrastructure it needs and improve living standards and productivity, if it acts now to introduce nation-shaping reforms.
"Our Plan sets out 78 recommendations for reform and provides a vision and roadmap to address today's infrastructure gaps, and set us up to meet the challenges of tomorrow," Mr Birrell said.
In developing the Plan, we have prioritised the user-the commuter waiting for a train, the family paying their electricity bill and the business looking to capitalise on overseas markets.
Mr Birrell said if the Plan is delivered, Australians can expect more affordable, innovative and competitive energy, telecommunications, water and transport services.
The Plan recommends reforming the funding and operation of transport infrastructure, completing the national electricity market, improving the quality and competitiveness of the water sector and delivering a telecommunications market that responds to user demand.
"By completing the major reforms to infrastructure markets the average Australian household will be almost $3000 better off every year." Mr Birrell said.
Alongside the Plan is IA's reinvigorated Infrastructure Priority List which identifies 93 projects and initiatives.
Key investments recommended in the List include:
- New metro rail systems in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane;
- Road and rail initiatives to bust urban congestion in Perth;
- Public transport improvements in Adelaide and Canberra;
- Urban renewal in Hobart; and
- Metropolitan water supply upgrades to support Darwin's growing population.
Alongside these projects are inititatives for the future, like protection of the corridors for High Speed Rail and new ring roads around Melbourne and Sydney.
The Plan was developed following consultation on the Australian Infrastructure Audit report. IA will update the Plan at least every five years, and the Priority List regularly throughout each year. For more information and to download the Plan and the Priority List go to www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au
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