A plan to keep Victoria moving for the next 30 years

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Infrastructure Victoria has released its options paper, ‘All things considered‘ and is inviting all Victorians to help shape our State’s first 30-year infrastructure strategy.

What’s different about this strategy is that it seeks to map out a pipeline of projects that will guide planning and investment in Victoria, not just over the term of this government, but of future governments of all persuasions.

For too long, Victoria’s transport agenda has been guided by the politics of the day, being written and rewritten every time there has been a changing of the guard.  While it is unlikely that something as essential as transport will ever be completely removed from politics, Victorians have the right to a longer term commitment towards the projects their communities need most.

RACV has strongly advocated for a long term infrastructure strategy and is very pleased that Victorians will now have that assurance as well as an opportunity to influence the State’s long term agenda.

Infrastructure Victoria is clear that this strategy will not be just about building new infrastructure, it will look at ways to better manage demand and make best use of the assets we already have.   Central to this objective is ensuring that infrastructure needs are considered in the planning phase of new developments, and are not an afterthought; an approach that RACV is very supportive of.  New residential developments, for example, should include public transport connections, walking and cycling paths and local jobs, services and amenities so that residents do not need to travel as far to meet their daily needs.

What options are being considered?

The ‘All things considered’ document puts forward over 200 ideas to address Victoria’s infrastructure needs of the next 30 years.  These options cover the entire State and are grouped into nine sectors including Transport, Technology, Education and the Environment.

The options presented seek to address the challenges facing Victoria now and into the future including population growth, our ageing population and the need for affordable, accessible and efficient mobility options.

From a transport perspective, the paper outlines a range of options from major projects such as the north east link, to the provision of better public transport options for Melbourne’s rapidly growing outer suburbs and the need to provide accessible transport options for older Victorians.

Michelle Masson, CEO of infrastructure Victoria emphasises that the ideas listed are not recommendations; they are simply options at this stage.  Victorians are invited to comment on what’s on the list or bring new ideas to the table.  From there, Infrastructure Victoria will conduct its own assessment of the options and develop a set of recommendations as part of a strategy document to be tabled in Parliament towards the end of the year.

What does RACV want to see in Victoria’s 30 year infrastructure plan?

RACV has already provided input to earlier stages of Infrastructure Victoria’s consultation process.  We will now prepare a response to the options paper further detailing the road and public transport projects needed to keep Victorians connected to their communities safely, efficiently and affordably.  These include the following major projects:

  • North East Link to complete the Metropolitan Ring Road
  • Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel
  • Western Distributor project
  • Regional highway duplication’s and safety improvements
  • Shepparton Bypass

But it’s not just about major projects. Changing the way we plan our cities, using technology to better manage what we already have and looking at innovative ways to fund and deliver projects should all be part of the mix.  RACV strongly believes that we cannot have a strong and sustainable economy of the future with the transport systems of the past.

These big ticket projects for Victoria must not only be on Infrastructure Victoria’s list, they should be at the top of any future federal government’s priority list.   RACV will speak out in the coming Federal Election as part of the Keep Australia Moving campaign to advocate strongly for a fairer share of federal funding and to see commitments towards the priorities above.

 How to have a say on Victoria’s 30 year strategy

Victorians can help shape Infrastructure Victoria’s 30 year strategy in a number of ways.

Two citizen’s juries have already been established to help identify Victoria’s future infrastructure needs by taking part in a series of workshops during the strategy development period.  Members of the public were randomly selected to ensure a representative, cross section of Victorians across both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.   Similar to a court jury they will be presented with evidence and hear from experts before developing an independent report that will form a key input into the strategy.

For anyone else who would like to share their views on what Victoria needs over the next thirty years, visit yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au to complete a survey or make a submission. The consultation period will be open until Friday 17 June 2016.

Written by Brian Negus, General Manager Public Policy
May 26, 2016