Major upgrades in road, rail and airport infrastructure on the eastern seaboard have been identified as the most significant developments in a listing of Australia’s priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.

Releasing its Infrastructure Priority List for 2019, Infrastructure Australia has identified eighteen projects and 103 initiatives as being important for the nation’s development.

Of these, eight projects and 29 initiatives have been listed as ‘high priority’.

Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by large projects in eastern seaboard capitals.

All up, seven of eight high priority projects are located in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

These include:

  • The M4 Motorway upgrade between Mays Hill near Parramatta and Lapstone at the base of the Blue Mountains.
  • Sydney Metro: City to Southwest, involving high-frequency rail connection between Chatswood and Bankstown via the Sydney CBD.
  • Bankstown Airport, located in Sydney’s west, which will serve as a second Sydney airport.
  • Upgrades to Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road between Plenty Road and the Greensborough Highway, Princes Freeway and the Western Highway and Sydney Road to Edgars Road.
  • The North East Link Road linking the M80 to the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne’s north-east.
  • Upgrades to Melbourne’s Monash Freeway.
  • The Brisbane Metro Project in Brisbane.

Outside the eastern seaboard, Perth’s Yanchep Rail Extension also made the high priority list.

In its report, IA said all projects and initiatives listed will help to address important challenges.

In the case of Sydney’s M4 upgrade, for instance, IA says capacity along the road during peak periods has already been reached.

With the population in the road’s catchment area expected to expand by 44.5 percent (490,000 people) between 2011 and 2031, IA says overcrowding and congestion will result in absence of the proposed works.

In Melbourne, meanwhile, IA describes a ‘missing link’ between the end of the M80 in the north-eastern suburb of Greensborough and M3 Eastern Freeway/EastLink in the city’s east.

This creates congestion along the current route which connects these roads along Greensborough Highway, Rosanna Road, Banksia Road and Bulleen Road.

Property industry lobby groups welcomed the new list, saying it provides robust assessments upon which sound decisions can be made.

Property Council of Australia chief executive officer Ken Morrison encouraged political parties to play heed to this when deciding upon election infrastructure promises.

“The strength of IA’s Priority List is its evidence-based, no-nonsense assessment of the projects that really matter in boosting productivity and the liveability of our cities and regions,” Morrison said.

“These are the projects that must be the priority for an incoming federal government after the next election – and the ones on which their infrastructure pledges are assessed by the electorate.”

“The IA Priority List is Australia’s best insurance against white elephants, boondoggles and pork barrel projects that might deliver a few votes but which don’t do anything for efficiency, productivity or liveability.”