Queensland infrastructure plan receives cautious welcome as ‘positive first step’

Developers have welcomed a draft infrastructure plan in Queensland, despite the absence of any medium to long-term projects specified in the document.

The draft State Infrastructure Plan, released by Deputy Premier and Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jackie Trad, outlines opportunities across the five-to-15-year horizon to address the state’s challenges.

However it does not lock in specific solutions.

“Rather than being prescriptive, the plan presents the challenges and identifies opportunities without dictating specific solutions, and therefore encouraging innovation and consideration by the private sector,” she said.

In the short term, over the next four years, the draft plan does include specific projects already announced, such as new schools and the second stage of the Gold Coast light rail system.

But after that, Ms Trad said the plan offered pointers to the private sector to invite them to help government solve the changes of the future.

I think through market led proposals there may be innovative ways to fund a project that might not have been available previously.
Urban Development Institute of Australia vice-president Steve Harrison

Urban Development Institute of Australia vice-president Steve Harrison welcomed any private investment opportunities.

“I think through market led proposals there may be innovative ways to fund a project that might not have been available previously,” Mr Harrison said.

“It might well be that the private sector takes more risk and assumes more of the financial burden for a particular project.”

Property Council of Australia Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said the draft plan showed how the private sector would be expected to play a larger role in contributing to large projects.

“It highlights the challenges we face in delivering the types of game-changing infrastructure projects needed in the longer term,” he said.

“The Government’s efforts to balance the books and pay down debt without asset sales means that they can only commit to building the infrastructure the government can afford, rather than the infrastructure Queensland needs.”

Queensland population to double half century

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the plan was overly reliant on coal and gas.

Senator Waters said that was surprising given the Government’s support of renewable energy during the election, promising a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“The draft plan is devoid of any actual measures to support clean energy and instead espouses the Palaszczuk Government’s support for the Galilee Basin coal mines,” Senator Waters said.

“We have job-rich viable renewable alternatives that don’t sacrifice our Great Barrier Reef tourism, agricultural industry or climate.”

From a population of 4.7 million, Queensland is expected to grow to seven million by 2036, and reach 10 million by 2061.

The south-east corner will need another 1,680 rail services, or more than 14,250 extra bus services by 2036, according to the plan.

Across the state, there would be an estimated 820,577 hospital stays and another 6,480 classrooms needed.

The final version of the infrastructure plan will be released early next year.

Source: ABC News