Expert comment on Infrastructure Australia priority list

RMIT University infrastructure expert Dr Ian Woodcock says the Victorian projects in Infrastructure Australia’s 2018 priority list will “lock Melburnians into increasingly toll-paying car dependence”.

The authority says more than $55 billion of priority projects are needed to shape Australia’s cities and regions in the next 15 years. Its priority list recommends almost 100 projects already under way, in the planning stages or on the agenda.

“Infrastructure Australia’s list of projects reflects the state of planning across Australia, and in some states this is worse than others,” Woodcock says.

“NSW is far ahead of Victoria in transport planning – even if not ideal, with many unwarranted megaroad projects – with a vision for a dramatically enhanced urban railway network.

“The focus on projects rather than plans is indicative of the parlous state of transport planning in Victoria, which doesn’t have a transport plan to meet Victoria and Melbourne’s needs for the mobility of future generations.

“The projects listed are the tip of a massive road-building iceberg that will lock Melburnians into increasingly toll-paying car dependence.

“Roads will generate more traffic, needing ever more roads.

“More and better public transport and getting freight on to rail, aligned with planning for employment outside the CBD is the only way to solve Melbourne’s future transport needs.

“The omission of the West Gate Tunnel from IA’s priority list indicates that insufficient information has been provided by Victoria for it to be assessed, yet more evidence that this project needs to be stopped and reviewed before it is too late.

“Other projects that are under way, like the level crossing removals and railway upgrades in Melbourne have been included in the priority list.”

Dr Ian Woodcock convenes the Planning and Transport in City Regions Program in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT and is a lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

He has researched land use and transport integration since 2007 with funding from the Australian Research Council, and various state and local government partners.

Recent infrastructure research includes reports on the West Gate Tunnel and level crossing removals.

For interviews: Dr Ian Woodcock, 0413 044 080 or ian.woodcock@rmit.edu.au.

For general media enquiries: Gosia Kaszubska, +61 3 9925 3176+61 417 510 735 or gosia.kaszubska@rmit.edu.au.