Monday, December 22, 2008

Fed Govt to review priority infrastructure projects

The Federal Government has released a preliminary audit of its infrastructure project priorities.

Infrastructure Australia has listed 94 projects which will be further examined ahead of a final list to be handed to the Government next year.

The audit recommends that investment be directed towards seven key areas including broadband and the national energy grid.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says while the list is a positive start, more work needs to be done to develop projects for the long term.

"We are determined to get it right and with this advice and the process that we have from Infrastructure Australia, we are making sure that we invest taxpayers' money wisely and in the national interest," he said.

The projects listed include the $4 billion northern Sydney rail freight corridor, the $3.5 billion east-west rail tunnel in Melbourne and the $14 billion Brisbane inner-city rail upgrade.

Other key New South Wales projects on the shortlist include $4.8 billion for Sydney's CBD metro, $8 billion for the city's western metro under Parramatta Road and nearly $12 billion for the expansions of the M4 and M5 motorways.

Also shortlisted are $6.7 billion dollars for updrages to the Pacific Highway and $1 billion for the Princes Highway.

But the list will have to be narrowed down considerably to fit into the Government's Budget.

Mr Albanese says the list contains projects needed to improve the nation's productivity.

"Much more work needs to be done to determine the relative merits of these projects and whether they should be included on the final priority list which will be given to the Government as determined in the first quarter of 2009," he said.

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