The Queensland Government has signaled its commitment to prioritising infrastructure projects by boosting the role of the Property and Infrastructure Cabinet Committee (PICC).
The Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the PICC had already proved its worth in overseeing the successful implementation of the planning reform commitments of the Newman Government and would make the infrastructure decisions that will drive the State’s economic growth.
“The Premier has made it plain that we must have a more disciplined approach to infrastructure decisions, get better value from the state’s infrastructure assets and get the private sector more involved in infrastructure provision," Seeney said.
“This is about contestability across all areas of Government so the right infrastructure, which will deliver the best outcomes, is progressed.”
The Commission of Audit Report found that long term economic projections show that Queensland’s per capita economic growth rate over the next 40 years is likely to be significantly lower than that of the last 25 years. Infrastructure is a key to lifting the State’s growth path.
The additional responsibilities of the Committee will include:
• developing an agreed portfolio of priority infrastructure projects from a whole-of-government perspective
• overseeing development of a 10-year state infrastructure plan in accordance with the Queensland Government response to the Independent Commission of Audit Final Report
• driving reforms to deliver increased benefits and improved value for money from Queensland Government infrastructure networks, assets and investment.
Seeney said this Committee will be guided by the Government’s blueprint for infrastructure reform - Infrastructure for Economic Development (IfED).
IfED outlines large scale reform to planning, prioritising, funding, delivery and maintenance of economic infrastructure to drive economic growth. Economic infrastructure refers to physical assets such as road, rail, water and power infrastructure that enable economic activity. It provides vital supply chain connections upon which the four pillars of Queensland's economy - tourism, agriculture, resources and construction — is reliant.
It will encourage solutions that better utilise current infrastructure assets, provide greater supply chain integration and ensure consistent and transparent asset management.
It will also provide greater certainty for private sector investors. Realising the strengths of the private sector in financing, delivering and operating economic infrastructure will enable the government to better focus on planning and prioritising for the economic development of the state.
“In developing Infrastructure for Economic Development we worked closely with Infrastructure Queensland, established by us, with public and private sector leaders, to advise government on infrastructure issues,” said Seeney.
Progress is already being made. For example, draft strategies have been released for Ports and Airports; almost $50 million in funding for new and improved community, road and floodplain security infrastructure has been announced and infrastructure frameworks for the Surat Basin and North West Minerals Province advanced.
In the next 12 months key priorities include reviewing regional infrastructure plan and supply chain requirements to best equip regional areas for economic growth, and developing 30 year electricity and water strategies.