A string of major infrastructure projects in Queensland are at risk of stalling over the next two years, due to reluctant investment from the private sector.
A new report compiled by BIS-Oxford Economics has warned of a reversal in fortunes for the Palaszczuk Government’s Market-Led Proposals program with a lack of funding and viable projects coming through.
The Queensland Major Projects Pipeline Report has revealed that 48 per cent of 190 potential projects, worth a combined $39.9 billion, are without funding, with $7 billion worth marked as unlikely to proceed.
The report is critical of the Palaszczuk Government, which has so far only had two projects approved – the Logan Motorway enhancement and the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.
Brisbane Airport parallel runway phase 2 $830m
Ipswich Motorway (Rocklea-Darra stage 1) $400m
Toowoomba Second Range Crossing $1.6bn
Bruce Highway (Caloundra Road – Sunshine Motorway) $929m
Sunshine Coast Airport new runway $297m
Cross River Rail (tunnel/underground stations) $4.5bn
Brisbane International Cruise Terminal $150m
Singapore military training (Townsville/Rockhampton) $1.6bn
Brisbane Metro $944m
Bruce Highway (Cooroy-Curra section D) $1bn
Inland Rail (3 Queensland sections) $5.25bn
Burdekin Falls Dam $330m
Gold Coast Light Rail stage 3 $500m
Cairns Cruise Terminal expansion 120m
Rockwood Weir $352m
Sunshine Coast rail line duplication $780m
Centenary Highway bus lanes (Ipswich Motorway – Toowong) $400m
Eagle Downs coal mine (Moranbah) $1.25bn
Ipswich Motorway (Rocklea-Darra further stages) $1.4bn
Sunshine Coast Light Rail $500m
Gold Coast Cruise Terminal $120m
Adani mine (stage 1) rail/port expansion $8.7bn
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said major project work had risen by 58 per cent in 2017–18, with activity in 2018–19 forecast at a similar level.
“While the report says maintaining this momentum may be a challenge, I’m confident our upcoming Budget’s $45 billion of infrastructure over the next four years, plus our other job-supporting initiatives, will be the stimulus needed to keep the economy on the up,” said Dick.
“I note the report highlights lower levels of private sector investment than in previous years, and that’s why the Queensland Government remains committed to infrastructure investment. ”
The report goes on to highlight that the value of public sector projects with committed funds or currently under procurement outweighs the private sector by six to one in Queensland.
“Queensland needs to keep focused on finding good, investable projects so the pipeline doesn’t dry up. When projects already in development are accounted for, Queensland has only 12 out of 96 projects identified for investment on the current National Infrastructure Priority List,” Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive Steve Abson said.
“This level of projects coming through is two to three times lower than we’d prefer to see.”
While Queensland’s projects continue to stall, New South Wales and Victoria continue to deliver large-scale infrastructure through innovative private sector funding.
“The challenge is to understand the barriers that are preventing greater private investment in existing or new private infrastructure – be that regulations, approvals, risk on financial return, perception of sovereign risk or confidence in the long-term outlook for the region,” said Abson.
Brisbane Set to Receive Australia’s Largest Performing Arts Venue
A new $150 million theatre to be built on the heritage-listed cultural precinct at South Bank will be funded in part by the Queensland government.
The Labor government will allocate $125 million in the Queensland budget and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre will contribute the remaining $25 million for the 1500-1700-seat theatre, which will be built on the Playhouse Green site.
The addition of the proposed venue would make QPAC the largest performing arts space in Australia.
The Queensland Premier said the new venue would support the state’s four home companies – Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre – by providing access across five QPAC venues.
“Building a new theatre is a must to ensure we can keep attracting even more big shows and more visitors to our capital city,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“A national design competition would be undertaken to deliver an outstanding architectural solution for the new theatre.”
The new theatre has been scheduled for completion in 2022 and would represent the largest investment in the arts since the Gallery of Modern Art was completed in 2006.
The state opposition has criticised the announcement, instead getting behind a market-led proposal by Sydney-based Foundation Theatres.
The proposed $100 million theatre on the old State Library site adjacent to Queen’s Wharf which would have required $25 million in taxpayer funds.
“The LNP has been calling for a new theatre for the last three years,” Dr Rowan said.
“It’s staggering that taxpayers are going to fork out for this theatre when a privately-funded proposal has already been lodged.”
On the weekend the Premier insisted that proposal was “still in play”.
“If they still want to pursue that they can,” Palaszczuk said.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the new theatre would be a wonderful addition to the Queensland Cultural Centre that last year saw 6.5 million visitors.
“The new theatre will further enhance visitor attraction to the Centre, and with the growth of our local companies, we want as many visitors and tourists to experience our local artists and performing arts product as possible,” Trad said.
“QPAC schedules over 1000 performances annually and saw 1.3 million people through its doors in 2017.
“Its current theatres are nearing capacity, however with the addition of this new theatre QPAC would become Australia’s largest performing arts centre with the potential to welcome an additional 300,000 visitors each year when fully operational from 2022.”
Council resumes houses to deliver $40 million road upgrade
Artist’s impression of the Murphy and Ellison roads upgrade.
Photo: Brisbane City Council
More than 25 property resumptions are required to widen a road that carries 37,000 motorists a day in Brisbane’s north.
The $40 million upgrade to Murphy and Ellison roads at Geebung would require Brisbane City Council to resume nine homes as well as parts of 17 other properties.
The council’s infrastructure chairwoman Amanda Cooper said the council had already started the resumptions.
“We obviously have to widen the corridor and to widen the corridor we have to acquire some land,” she said.
“Council is already in discussion with all of those nine property owners and they have been working very productively with council, three of those are already complete.”
Vision Released of Brisbane’s Underground Metro Station
Fly-through vision of the station has been released by Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk who was joined by federal Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher.
The new station will be built on a parcel of land owned by the state government near the intersection of Grey and Melbourne Streets, and link Brisbane Metro passengers with the cultural precinct.
Metro vehicles will be linked to Victoria Bridge via an underground tunnel which will reduce congestion at the Melbourne and Grey Streets intersection.
Brisbane City Council released the fly-through vision of the station even though it is still in discussions with the state government about buying parcels of the land for completion of the station.
The lord mayor has said council has money put aside for the land parcels if they are not gifted by the government, which could cost up to $30 million.
The council has committed to funding two-thirds of the $944 million Brisbane Metro project with the federal government announcing it was committing $300 million as a funding boost in the 2018-19 federal budget.
The budget granted Queensland $5.2 billion for infrastructure projects but the Cross River Rail project failed to receive any funding which topped the Palaszczuk government’s funding wish list.
State treasurer Jackie Trad criticised the federal coalition for failing to pay Queensland the attention it deserves on the back of jobs growth that has accounted for one third of that across the country.
The Metro will include two lines – one that runs from Eight Mile Plains to Roma Street and another that will stretch from the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital to UQ Lakes.
The design of the Metro vehicles has yet to be determined with several proposals being considered, though specially licenced drivers will be required.
“You can’t drive it with a bus licence, you can’t drive it with a train licence – it’s a stand-alone vehicle which will require special licensing in terms of the driver,” Cr Quirk said.
Construction of the Brisbane Metro is expected to start in 2019 and be completed by 2022.
Council has invited residents and stakeholders to have their say on the Brisbane Metro draft Design Report until Friday 25 May 2018.
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