Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : July 2011 Contents 60 futurebuilding
Volume 2 Number 1
Mulder mulls infrastructure
Victoria’s new Minister for Public Transport
and roads, Terry Mulder, knows that he
has a big job ahead of him. The need for
new infrastructure investment is acute, the
budget’s capacity is limited – and even once
the decision is made, new projects will take
time to come onstream.
Expectations from industry were running high;
with a number of major projects announced by the
former government – like the Melbourne Metro Rail
Tunnel – supposed to come to market in the near
future. But a challenging budget has seen the Baillieu
Government pause to take stock of where it is at, what
it can afford – and where the state needs to go.
‘The previous government included projects in
its transport plan that were unfunded,’ Mulder says.
‘A number of these unfunded projects are now under
review, such as WestLink, or in early planning stages,
such as the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.
‘I am keen to see projects get moving, but
competing priorities for project funding from the
Commonwealth and a much tougher fiscal climate
for Victoria means that some of these projects have a
difficult funding future or will take a little longer.
‘The unfunded projects that were priorities for
the former government also have to be reassessed in
the development of our new Metropolitan Planning
Study. We’ve got to take account of the projects that
we committed to, like the Avalon Airport, Doncaster,
Rowville and Melbourne Airport rail links.
‘Clearly, Victoria, like other states facing huge
infrastructure demands, must look seriously at the
role of the private sector and how it can assist in
delivering much-needed projects. Victoria has a great
record in partnering with the private sector in building
city-changing infrastructure, and I am confident that
we can continue to do this in the future. Given budget
realities, I think the State Government has little
choice,’ Mulder noted.
A welcome development was Mulder’s recent
recommitment to the massive Regional Rail Link.
When the Coalition assumed office it found that
the project was going to cost nearly $1 billion more
because of escalations in costs for signalling and
land acquisition. Just as challenging was Canberra’s
decision to defer the payment of $500 million in
federal funding as the Commonwealth reshuffled its
own priorities in light of the Queensland and Victorian
Continued on page 62
There is no doubt
that the project will
benefits for the
suburban and regional
By Leon Gettler
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