A key building industry lobby group in Victoria has hit out at the latest 30-year plan for infrastructure delivery in that state, claiming that the plan has worthy aims but lacks detail in critical areas.
Responding to the release of Infrastructure Victoria’s final plan for delivery of critical public assets, the Master Builders Association acknowledges that the priority areas which the plan identifies as greater densification in established areas, a new transport regime and beefed up investment in social housing are worthy but says the plan lacks detail in important areas.
“Master Builders supports the three priority areas of the plan: to increase densification in established areas, introduce a comprehensive and fair transport pricing regime and to invest in social housing,” Master Builders Association of Victoria chief executive officer Radley de Silva says.
“But the devil is in the detail, and those are still missing.”
“As we cautioned before, in terms of planning, it offers a soft‐focus, politically safe reply to a problem that demands specifics.”
In terms of housing densification, de Silva says the plan fails to offer details about the creation of a centralised and strategic planning approach.
The forward project list as well, includes worthy developments but is lacking in regard to detail associated with project delivery, he said.
De Silva’s comments follow the release of the final draft of Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year plan, the focus of which revolves around increasing density in established areas around employment centres, the introduction of a transport network pricing system and greater investment in social housing.
Amongst its central recommendations was a system of road user pricing to fund new infrastructure, although that has already been ruled out by the government.
In terms of forward projects, the report’s recommendations include:
- connecting thee Metropolitan Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway via the North-East Link
- a rail network to Melbourne Airport within the next fifteen to 30 years
- a second Melbourne Metro rail tunnel under the CBD from Clifton Hill to Newport (to provide extra capacity on the Mernda, Werribee and Sunshine lines)
- rebuilding or refurbishing the Alfred, Royal Melbourne and Footscray Hospitals (15-30 years) consideration of a second desalination plant
- buying new land for prisons (next five years)
- a new network of police complexes in growth areas
- legal changes to allow for the testing and deployment of driverless cars, and
- closing coal fired power stations to speed up transition to renewable energy
In a statement, the government said it will consider the report and respond to the recommendations next year.
In the meantime, the government said it would continue to roll out a program of infrastructure upgrades, including by building the Metropolitan Rail Tunnel (which it says will double the capacity of the City Loop), the Western Distributor and by removing dangerous level crossings.