19/12/2008 - 11:17

WA projects named in $12bn priority list

19/12/2008 - 11:17

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The federal government's infrastructure advisory council has recommended all five Western Australian projects for the $12.5 billion Building Australia Fund in its preliminary priority list released today.

The federal government's infrastructure advisory council has recommended all five Western Australian projects for the $12.5 billion Building Australia Fund in its preliminary priority list released today.

The Ord River expansion project, the Oakajee deepwater port, the sinking of the Northbridge rail lines, Perth Airport transport links and housing works in the Pilbara have all been recommended by Infrastructure Australia as top priorities.

The projects have a combined worth of over $3.8 billion, with the state government asking the government to fund $2.68 billion.

Nationally, 94 projects worth over $150 billion, made the shortlist in today's report, with the final list due out in March.

Premier Colin Barnett submitted proposals for all five projects in October, and was "thrilled" last week when the federal government committed $195 million towards Ord River as part of the separate $4.7 billion national building plan.

The state government will match the federal investment, which now allows the Ord River expansion project to proceed. Machinery for the project is expected to be on ground early next year.

Mr Barnett had remained quiet on the omission of his other pet project Oakajee in the nation building plan, saying he would wait for Infrastructure Australia's preliminary list.

In its report, Infrastructure Australia said the final list of projects will be determined by whether the project should be financed in whole or in part by the public sector and the level of government funding.

"Projects should be assessed against whether they are best financed by the private or public sectors," the report said.

"Important considerations for private sector provision include whether the project is commercially viable without the government funding assistance and can the private sector deliver value for mine in achieving public objectives.

"Under the draft National PPP (public private partnerships) guidelines, all projects with a capital value of over $50 million will consider a PPP option."

The development of the Oakajee deepwater port has been slightly delayed with finalisation of the state agreement with the project's proponent, Oakajee Port and Rail Pty Ltd, pushed back until the release of today's infrastructure report.

Oakajee Port and Rail, which won a tender process from the former Labor government, is backed by Murchison Metals and Mitsubishi Corp.


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