AI’s corridor protection fears
Infrastructure Australia issues call to governments on future transport needs
INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA (IA)
has issued a clarion call to Australian governments to focus on future transport needs and reserve corridor land accordingly. Rather than let future generations be burdened with unwanted and avoidable extra costs, IA’s report, Corridor Protection: Planning
and investing for the long term, urges decision makers to plan properly.
“Improving long-term infrastructure planning is an important means of lowering the cost of new infrastructure,” the report, which highlights seven freight-sensitive road and rail paths, all in eastern Australia, states.
“Done well, corridor protection reduces the future fi nancial costs of delivering infrastructure, while minimising the social costs of acquiring homes and businesses, and disrupting existing communities.”
Strategic corridors IA identifies are: East Coast High Speed Rail, Outer Sydney Orbital, Outer Melbourne Ring, Western Sydney Airport Rail Line, Western Sydney Freight Line, Hunter Valley Freight Line, and Port of Brisbane Freight Line. The report notes successful examples from the second half of last century, such as the M4, M5 and parts of the M7 motorways in Sydney, the M1 and EastLink motorways in Melbourne, the Mandurah rail line and Kwinana Freeway in Perth, and the O-Bahn in Adelaide.
In its fi ndings, the report advises that the Australian Government, in partnership with state and territory governments, “establish effective corridor protection mechanisms to ensure the timely preservation of surface, subterranean and air corridors, and strategic sites, for future infrastructure priorities”.
The mechanism should include: • Long-term strategic planning and project development work to identify corridors and lands • A stable and independent governance
framework • Shared fi nancial responsibility between the Australian Government and its state and territory counterparts. While AI highlights the proposed High Speed Rail project as being in need of greater focus, not to mention tunnels, it advocates future corridor identification, not least in rural areas and for freight.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) urged governments to take advantage of what it describes as a “powerful endorsement of corridor protection”.
“Making the right decisions today not only helps to reduce the cost of infrastructure projects in the future, but also avoids community confl ict and social dislocation by providing certainty as to land use,” the ALC states.