The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) welcomes today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it will commit $1.6 billion in the upcoming Budget to major infrastructure projects across Western Australia.
Infrastructure Australia’s 2015 Audit made it clear that without investment in the State’s infrastructure, WA will overtake Sydney as the nation’s most congested city by 2031 at a cost of more than $16 billion a year. Seven out of the 10 most congested roads in the country will be in Perth.
Today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction to ease congestion on WA’s roads, including in regional areas, with the funding targeted at key State Government road and rail projects.
Ensuring that WA’s roads and rail are meeting the State’s increasing traffic demands doesn’t just benefit West Australians travelling to and from work, it is critical to business productivity which supports economic growth.
Today’s announcement is a welcome addition to Federal Labor’s, which has committed $850 million towards the METRONET rail line to Ellenbrook and $50 million for a new Bellevue railcar Manufacturing Facility, if elected.
CCI has been calling for a long-term and consistent pipeline of infrastructure projects to ensure businesses can plan their investments, manage their workforce and retain critical specialised skills within the state.
The WA State Government’s establishment of Infrastructure WA to develop a 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy and yesterday’s commitment to create a Market-led Proposals (MLPs) process will go a long way toward ensuring WA has productive and sustainable infrastructure.
The next step the State Government must take to accelerate infrastructure construction is to continue reviewing all public assets for privatisation or long-term lease. This will unlock funds to enable future infrastructure investment without having to increase the State’s extraordinarily high debt.
Asset recycling has been used across Australia to increase productivity and supercharge state economies – a model that WA should adopt.
CCI looks forward to continuing to work with the State Government, the Federal Government and Opposition to provide certainty to WA industry around the State’s pipeline of infrastructure works.