Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2011 Contents Public and private sector leaders call for bold, sustained, national reform
Volume 2 Number 2
‘If Australia’s governments are serious about
applying competitive pressure to prices, then
their focus must be on the achievement of true
competition, from generator to household...and
not on the regulation of electricity prices simply to
maintain political popularity,’ he said.
According to McCann, freeing the Government’s
balance sheet from this investment would allow the
state to invest in long overdue infrastructure, such as
the North West Rail Link, the M5 East duplication,
the F3 to M2 or a new Northern Beaches hospital
in New South Wales, or the Kingsford Smith Drive
upgrades or completion of the Bruce Highway in
In concluding his address, McCann had a clear
message for governments, stating that it was now
time to ‘finish the job’.
Delegates then heard from Federal Transport and
Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, who
used his address at Partnerships 2011 to launch
phase one of the Government’s $20 million
feasibility study into high speed rail.
The $20 million feasibility study into high
speed rail – prepared in consultation with AECOM,
SKM and KPMG amongst others – identifies broad
corridors, patronage forecasts and potential costings
for the project.
Minister Albanese said HSR in Australia could
run along the coastal corridor from Brisbane to
Melbourne, and cost between $61 billion and $108
Minister Albanese described phase one of the
report as ‘the most detailed piece of work ever
done on high speed rail’, adding that talks have
already been held with the private sector – including
companies in China, Japan and Italy – on ways
to help deliver the HSR network in the most cost-
Land acquisition – one of the most important
and expensive factors in delivering the network –
is estimated at around $6 billion in today’s dollars,
with Minister Albanese stating that ‘it is not going to
get any cheaper or any easier the longer we wait’.
Minister Albanese likened the potential economic
benefits from high speed rail to those delivered by
the Snowy Mountains Scheme 25 years ago.
The second and final stage of the study – which
is currently out to tender – will refine the route
corridors and station options, assess the commercial
viability of the network, and examine potential
funding sources, including partnering with the
The next speaker, then-Leighton Holdings General
Manager, Stephen Sasse, spoke of the unique
opportunity facing Australia’s construction sector
to reduce its fatality rate through the adoption of
UK-style ‘chain of responsibility’ laws for workplace
health and safety.
Sasse stated that newly harmonised national
occupational health and safety (OH&S) laws in
Australia had failed to give practical guidance on duty
of care, meaning that it will take 10 to 15 years of
case law before adequate guidance is established.
With a projected doubling of the construction
workforce as a result of the resources boom, coupled
with a likely increase in skilled migrants with a
cultural reluctance to challenge poor practices, the
construction fatality rate in Australia is set to rise at
around two per cent per year.
Sasse said a number of these fatalities could be
avoided if construction risks were considered at
the point where the project was initially conceived
and designed. He cited the United Kingdom as
an example of best practice, with clear chains of
responsibility from the procurement stage through to
the construction phase.
He warned that without reform, Australia’s
construction sector fatality rate is set to increase at
around twice the rate of the United Kingdom’s.
likened the economic
benefits gained from
high speed rail
to those delivered
by the Snowy
25 years ago.
ABOvE: Federal Infrastructure
and Transport Minister,
Anthony Albanese, with
IPA Chief Executive
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