Infrastructure body underwrites WA’s prosperity, creating certainty

Infrastructure decisions must respond to local needs, with different approaches for different regions, Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew told a Property Council WA lunch at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday July 9.

"All Australians share a common need for high-quality infrastructure that is accessible and affordable," Ms Madew said. "But needs differ greatly between people, places and industries."

Ms Madew said it was critical to select the right infrastructure projects to drive better outcomes, with an emphasis on enhancing opportunities and increasing efficiency, capacity and capability in the infrastructure sector. Congestion on Perth roads hurt productivity, she said.

"The establishment of Infrastructure WA presents an unparalleled opportunity to improve infrastructure planning and decision-making across the state and ensure the west continued to reap the benefits of strategic investment in quality infrastructure," Ms Madew told a property industry audience including Infrastructure WA Chairman John Langoulant.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said setting up Infrastructure WA gave the State an opportunity to collaborate with Infrastructure Australia to ensure WA deliberately considers the most productive infrastructure solutions.

“This is about the  future prosperity of WA,” Ms Brewer said. “It takes the politics out of decision making and provides more certainty to industry, benefiting the community over the longer term.”

Infrastructure WA starts officially on July 24, with chairman John Langoulant to appoint a board, a chief executive and a team to develop a 20-year plan for WA.

“That makes contributing to the planning so important for anyone involved in the property industry,” Ms Brewer said. “If ever there was a time to put energy into having a say about WA’s future, now is the time.”

Westport Project Director Tim Collins said the taskforce had already reduced 300  port options to 25, to be whittled down to a shortlist of five by the end of the month.

"At the moment, we have a long list of 25 and we are working that list  … down to a shortlist of five that we will be announcing at the end of July," Mr Collins said, adding that the final recommendation -- and a spare -- would be presented to the  State Government by the end of November.

METRONET Project Director Anthony Kannis, speaking on panel chaired by Lavan Partner Peter Beekink with Ms Madew and Mr Collins, said automatic train control, a project submitted to Infrastructure Australia, could allow the State Government to extract another  20 to 30  years out of existing infrastructure that was about to reach capacity.