16 Sep 2009
South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program 2009-2026
by David Lester, Christopher Keane
The South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program presents significant opportunities for the private sector as the Queensland Government maintains its focus on infrastructure investment.
The forecast expenditure on infrastructure for the region through to 2026 is set to reach $124 billion and this is a key plank of the Government's job creation strategy to address the current global economic challenges.
The South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program seeks to provide certainty about the nature and timing of infrastructure projects in the South East Queensland region. The SEQ Infrastructure Plan was first released by the Queensland Government in 2005 and is updated annually to reflect and align with the State's latest planning and budget commitments. It is still the largest infrastructure program in Australia and is linked to the annual state budget process as the principal mechanism for identifying, prioritising and delivering infrastructure projects.
Following publication of the SEQ Infrastructure Plan in 2005, both industry and Government have geared up over the past four years, delivering more than triple the infrastructure that had been delivered in the previous ten year period.
Since the program commenced, 87 projects have been completed, $16.4 billion has been invested and 130,000 jobs have been created. To add to that, another 173 projects are currently underway and the Queensland Government expects that another 770,000 jobs will be created by 2026.
The plan highlights a number of significant projects that have been completed or commenced to date, including a number that Clayton Utz have been involved in, such as:
major road projects - Tugun Bypass, Clem7 Tunnel, Gateway Motorway Upgrade, Hale Street Link and Airport Link;
public transport projects - Inner Northern Busway, Northern Busway, Boggo Road Busway and Eastern Busway; and
water projects - Western Corridor Recycled Water Project, Southern Regional Water Pipeline and Traveston Crossing Dam.
SEQ Infrastructure Plan update
In releasing this updated version of the SEQ Infrastructure Plan, the Queensland Government is seeking to achieve a balance between delivering infrastructure to support jobs and growth, and showing fiscal restraint. Despite the recent downgrade in the State's credit rating, it has maintained its commitment to infrastructure investment. The key changes in this update are:
- the inclusion of 32 new projects at an extra cost of $1.9 billion;
- updating project costs to 2009 dollars to allow price consistency over the full timeframe of the program;
- some re-sequencing of the program to make its delivery more efficient and to address emerging priorities, such as dealing with the global financial crisis; and
- the inclusion of updated education infrastructure and community services infrastructure categories.
Significant infrastructure investment
The updated plan identifies an estimated $124 billion of government investment in infrastructure projects until 2026. This includes:
$94.6 billion in road, rail and public transport projects and studies;
$12.6 billion in social and community infrastructure;
$4.6 billion in water infrastructure; and
$3.3 billion on energy.
The total estimate is an increased investment of $17 billion from last year's update which reflects a number of factors, including the inclusion of completed project values, the indexation of costs to 2009 dollars, the inclusion of additional projects, rising construction costs, and refined cost estimates on existing projects.
Funding the SEQ Infrastructure Plan
Contributions for funding projects in the SEQ Infrastructure Plan come from all three levels of government, with various projects having a subregional, regional or national interest. This includes federal government contributions through the Nation Building Program (formerly AusLink 2) and the Building Australia Fund. The Queensland Government funds its contributions using government cash flows, borrowings and alignment of the government's capital portfolio.
In order to ensure high quality project initiation, evaluation and delivery, the Queensland Government has established the Project Assurance Framework (PAF) and Value for Money (VfM) Framework. The PAF is a whole-of-government project assessment tool that establishes a common approach to assessing projects at critical stages. In circumstances where the PAF identifies a potential public private partnership, the VfM Framework provides the assessment guidelines to determine if a public private partnership should be pursued.
Delivering the SEQ Infrastructure Plan
The planning and delivery of the SEQ Infrastructure Plan is co-ordinated by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning. That department receives support from the SEQ Infrastructure Industry Taskforce, which is a joint government, industry and union taskforce that is designed to develop closer working relationships and ensure the smooth delivery of the plan.
To support the successful collaboration of government and industry in delivering the program, procurement and construction pipelines have been developed. These tools detail upcoming projects for the next four years and are updated regularly. They provide industry with a sequenced program of infrastructure work and therefore significant incentive to invest in the region.
The SEQ Infrastructure Plan demonstrates the efforts of the Queensland Government to continue to deliver infrastructure and to support jobs in a challenging economic environment. The updated plan supports the steady and sustained delivery of infrastructure over the life of the plan, with an estimated $124 billion of government investment, which is expected to support about 900,000 jobs through to 2026. The Queensland Government's commitment to the SEQ Infrastructure Plan provides confirmation for the private sector that there will be significant opportunities in the region for the foreseeable future.