16/03/2015 - 15:23

CCI criticises rail planning

16/03/2015 - 15:23

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The state’s peak business group believes the MAX light rail project and the Perth Airport rail link are prime examples of poor infrastructure planning in Western Australia, as it repeated calls for an independent advisory body to guide decision-making.

CCI chief executive Deidre Willmott.

The state’s peak business group believes the MAX light rail project and the Perth Airport rail link are prime examples of poor infrastructure planning in Western Australia, as it repeated calls for an independent advisory body to guide decision-making.

The CCI’s Future of Infrastructure report released today said the lack of an appropriate assessment process has been a key issue for WA.

“Significant infrastructure projects often do not undergo a rigorous assessment and when they do, it is not made public,” the paper said.

“As a result, it is unclear whether funded projects will deliver the greatest benefits to the WA community.

“For example, there have been concerns regarding election-time announcements by successive governments.

“Most recently, evaluations of the costs, benefits and risk involved with a number of the government’s commitments such as the MAX light rail project and the Perth Airport rail link have not been made public.”

The CCI said there was also concern about the assessment of some Royalties for Regions programs, but did not name any.

To improve transparency and ensure value for money, the CCI said all projects should be subject to an appropriate assessment, such as a cost-benefit analysis.

The state government has postponed the $2.5 billion MAX light rail project because of budget pressure, and is evaluating an express bus service as a cheaper alternative, but is pressing ahead with the $2 billion Perth Airport rail link.

An expression of interest process closed on March 12; it is aiming to award the construction contract in 2016 with project completion due in 2020.

The airport rail link will open up a new rail corridor to Perth’s eastern suburbs, and will feature three new stations - Airport West (Belmont), Consolidated Airport, and Forrestfield.

The new Forrestfield line will spur off the existing Midland line near Bayswater and run underground for eight kilometres in twin-bored tunnels beneath the Swan River and Perth Airport.

Responding to the CCI report, transport minister Dean Nalder said "a detailed Business Case and Project Definition Plan were prepared for the Forrestfield Airport Link and meet both the requirements of the State's Strategic Asset Management Framework and Infrastructure Australia".

"These will not be released publicly as they are subject to  cabinet confidentiality," he said.

Mr Nalder has previously stated that the three new stations on the Forrestfield line will add an extra 20,000 boardings to the Transperth network by 2021.

The CCI paper released today reiterates a number of long-held policy positions by the business lobby.

It calls for increased use of public private partnerships, more privatisation of government assets, and greater adoption of direct user charging, such as toll roads.

CCI chief executive Deidre Willmott said that, with the state’s net debt expected to reach $30 billion in the next three years, the government needed to look at alternatives.

“We need to find alternative ways to meet our infrastructure needs, and engaging the private sector in financing, designing, building, operating and maintaining infrastructure will be an important part of this,” she said.

The CCI paper also calls for improved infrastructure planning by establishing an independent advisory body with public and private sector representatives, to deliver a comprehensive infrastructure strategy.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options