Inland rail tracks second phase of market testing

THE second phase of the market testing process for private sector involvement in the Inland Rail project will begin early next year.

Federal Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann said the second phase would seek views on the preferred delivery model of the four shortlisted options – or alternatives put forward by the participants in the first phase of market testing. 

The process would also consider the willingness and capacity of nominees to participate in the shortlisted options and it would also develop a further understanding of the various risks associated with the delivery of Inland Rail;

Nominees would also be assessed on their “capacity to enhance the performance and value of Inland Rail”, Senator Cormann said, “including design and operation”.

The market testing second phase would also look at potential project level procurement models for the design and construction of Inland Rail.

“Market testing meetings will be held in late January and early February 2017,” Senator Cormann said. “This is the next step in ensuring Inland Rail is construction ready

“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that our national freight network is as efficient and effective as possible, this includes delivering the largest transport project in Australia – Inland Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane.”



Western Sydney Airport to lift economy – Infrastructure Australia

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia (IA) has predicted a substantial economic boost from the development of the Western Sydney Airport – and the effect may have already begun.

According to Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, the Western Sydney Airport Business Case report showed the facility would clearly deliver “net benefits to the Australian economy”.

“Infrastructure Australia’s independent analysis demonstrates that the Western Sydney Airport Business Case is robust and confirms that the project provides net positive long-term benefits for Western Sydney, NSW and the nation,” Mr Fletcher said. “The Business Case finding is that the project would deliver in excess of $11 billion to the national economy.”

IA pointed out that the airport would have an expected benefit:cost ratio of 1.9.

Mr Fletcher said this showed a Western Sydney Airport could deliver real benefits to the Western Sydney community and its economy. 

“It will create jobs, encourage investment and be a source of economic growth for decades to come,” he said.

“Infrastructure Australia's assessment of the Business Case is yet another important step towards making a Western Sydney Airport a reality. Airport business cases are rare globally and this represents a major project milestone.”

Construction is expected to commence in 2018, with operations beginning in the mid-2020s. The business case estimates the cost of the Stage 1 development at around $5 billion.

Mr Fletcher said, “Before earthworks begin, work will continue to be undertaken to prepare the site and ensure meticulous implementation of the strict environmental conditions ahead of any development, including heritage management activities, biodiversity offsets and the $10 million seed collection program.”



You want innovation? It's made in regional Australia says SEGRA

REGIONAL AUSTRALIA is a vibrant font of innovation that is more important to tap into than ever before. That is the challenge issued by Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia, (SEGRA) founder Kate Charters in her most recent Speaking up for Regional Australia annual communique – the 20th.

Regional Australia has unique attributes in terms of innovation that put it at a distinct advantage in the 21st Century according to Ms Charters. 

“Regional areas are places where trust, leadership, liveability, resilience and networking strength are powerful enablers,” she said.

Key issues facing regional Australia discussed in the communique include: The role of government to deliver against prudent public expectation; how to best facilitate innovation and encourage business growth, the right governance structures to  enable communities to be in charge of their own futures  and  the mechanisms to unlock investment capital are all key issues in growing a sustainable communities in regional Australia.   

“Regional Australia is enjoying its moment in the spotlight at present this is in part a reflection of the depth of Australian connection to its bush folklore and pioneering spirit,” Ms Charters said. “However, the place of regional Australia is more than just nostalgia and the bush iconography, sunburnt country and flooding plains. 

“Regional Australia is innovative. It has an exceptionally well-developed capacity to respond to challenges, with great resourcefulness; and regularly the people living in regional Australia deal head on with uncertainty and changeability of the natural and business environment. 

“In an age of rampant social individualism it is also true that our lives as individuals are only possible through increasingly complex relationships of collective effort and regional Australia is well versed in collective effort,” Ms Charters said. 

“New place-based growth models to attract collaborative investment are essential to drive connected economic growth that delivers 21st century jobs, encourages start-ups and entrepreneurs, and multi-age community engagement all need to be considered.

“We need greater understanding of how things work in rural and remote areas. What works in a large city may only work in a large city; there needs to be much more research and evidence gathered to understand what supports and encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and business creation in rural and remote settings.

“Regional universities are well placed to examine the unique attributes of regional Australia’s economic opportunities for example what makes successful start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses cases  in regional Australia,” Ms Charters said.

SEGRA’s view is that regional Australia is not just a special part of Australia, it is a critical voice on the national agenda.

A full copy of the communique is available at




New portal links Aust and NZ infrastructure

THE Australian and New Zealand Governments have launched the Australia and New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline (ANZIP),an online portal reinforcing Trans-Tasman collaboration, open markets, innovation and investment in infrastructure.

The online portal, developed and hosted by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), provides a forward view of public infrastructure activity across Australia and New Zealand. 

"The infrastructure pipeline will sustain the current global focus on Australian and New Zealand infrastructure, right at the time that both countries need more investment and more projects," IPA CEO Brendan Lyon said.

He said the Pipeline would improve the visibility of the Australian and New Zealand infrastructure markets, attracting further private sector investment needed to fund both countries’ infrastructure needs.

“The comprehensive view of the Australian and New Zealand infrastructure markets offered by ANZIP will increase certainty around the forward work program for investors, constructors and governments alike,” Mr Lyon said.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said, “This initiative reflects the importance of trade and open markets in delivering continued economic growth, more jobs, security and prosperity for our people.

“Both nations have ambitious infrastructure building programs,” said Treasurer Morrison.

“As part of our national economic plan, the Australian Government is investing a record $50 billion in infrastructure to support economic growth. There are over 1,000 projects currently underway across Australia, including roads, airports, bridges and passenger and freight rail.”

New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English said, “The launch of ANZIP signals a joint commitment to building a more integrated infrastructure market between the two countries. 

“ANZIP will help grow foreign direct investment in both countries, as well as giving greater visibility of future investment opportunities.”

The website expands on information currently available through the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS), which provides information on major infrastructure projects committed to by local, state, territory and Commonwealth governments.