The WA Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network has been included in the Infrastructure Priority List 2020
Infrastructure Australia released the Infrastructure Priority List 2020 on 26 February 2020.
The Infrastructure Priority List 2020 is a collaborative document, developed using data from the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and submissions from all levels of governments, industry and the community. The process includes an independent evaluation against a rigorous evaluation framework.
Mandy Walker, Director of Regional Development, RDA Wheatbelt said, ”it is exciting to see the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network (WSFN) program included on the Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List 2020. This indicates that Infrastructure Australia agrees the proposal is a national priority. Inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List opens the door to future investment options.
“The WSFN program as a whole is estimated to be in excess of $500 million. Inclusion in the list is considered to be a vital step for future funding opportunities. The identification of the WSFN as a priority initiative of national significance is recognition of the high level of importance this program has to economic and social outcomes for the region”, she said.
The WSFN comprises local government roads in the WA Wheatbelt region that Restricted Access Vehicles are permitted to use. Most of these roads are narrow, unsealed and unsuited to large volumes of freight vehicles. Of the 80 secondary freight routes, with a combined length of 4,400 kms, the program’s proposed works have prioritised 2,850 kms (65%) for upgrades.
The WSFN program of works is a result of a collaborative approach between RDA Wheatbelt, the Wheatbelt Development Commission, Main Roads WA and WA Local Government Association representatives, and has the full support of all 42 Wheatbelt Shires. The size of the collaboration has seen it recognised as the biggest local government collaboration in Australia.
In 2019, the Australian Government announced a $70 million commitment through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative for the WSFN. The WA Government and the 42 Shires across the Wheatbelt have committed $17.5 million. Inclusion in the Infrastructure Priority List is considered to be a vital step for future funding opportunities for the balance of the WSFN program.
The first roadworks in this program were officially launched on 19 February 2020 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, with the Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry, the WA Minister for Transport, the Hon Rita Saffioti MLA, and invited guests travelling to Mogumber to celebrate the commencement of on ground works.
Information about the Infrastructure Priority List 2020 is at www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/publications/infrastructure-priority-list-2020