The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) has today strongly welcomed the State Government’s release of a blueprint for the establishment of Infrastructure WA to drive a long-term strategic approach to planning and the prioritisation of infrastructure across WA.
CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said CCI has long called for the establishment of an independent infrastructure body, comprised of both public and private sector representatives, to progress priority projects that will create the greatest economic benefit to our state.
“In the past, business cases for new infrastructure projects in WA have not always been made publicly available or been independently assessed,” Mr Rodwell said.
“The independence of Infrastructure WA will provide transparency and certainty to industry around the state’s pipeline of works and their timing to ensure businesses can plan their investments, manage their workforce, and retain critical specialised skills within the state.
“This will assist in improving community support for projects that are demonstrated to be of value, giving WA businesses and the community the assurance they need that infrastructure planning will transcend short-term politics and that our state has a clear direction for project investment and management.
“Confirmation that the Board of Infrastructure WA will have a majority of non-government members with a casting vote will also boost confidence in this long-term strategy.”
CCI is particularly pleased that the State Government has confirmed that robust independent evaluation of projects will be used to maximise value for money for the state, and is working to increase the number of business cases submitted to Infrastructure Australia.
“We know that high quality economic infrastructure, protecting appropriately-placed suitable land and efficient planning processes are key enablers for industry growth and the attraction of business investment to WA, particularly for industries where the investment location is flexible,” Mr Rodwell said.
“Access to appropriate infrastructure is also fundamental to ensuring that the whole community can contribute to, and share in, the state’s wealth and quality of life.
“Improving the number and quality of business cases that are submitted to Infrastructure Australia is critical for the successful development and implementation of this 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy, as it will increase the likelihood of WA projects featuring on the Infrastructure Australia priority list and access to Federal Government infrastructure funding.
“WA’s economy is on the path to recovery and industry has the capacity to invest in new projects and jobs, but they will only take the leap if they have confidence and certainty in the future of our state.
“CCI looks forward to working with the Government on behalf of our more than 9,000 Members to progress the establishment of Infrastructure WA, and urges all members of the WA Parliament to support the passage of legislation as a matter of urgency.
“WA business cannot afford to wait any longer for a long-term strategic plan.”