2011 VECCI State Budget Submission – Converting Opportunity to Prosperity
Substandard infrastructure cannot support a growing economy and recent audits have shown the State’s infrastructure stock is in need of attention.
Effective infrastructure planning and delivery has never been more important in supporting economic activity, increasing capital and labour productivity, helping export growth and raising competitiveness, incomes and living standards.
Hence VECCI urges the new State Government to use its first State Budget to develop an Infrastructure Plan, prioritising projects that will help drive economic development and improve liveability.
Key projects VECCI believes should be included in a long-term Infrastructure Plan (out to 2030) are:
- The extension of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre
- East-West road/public transport link
- Completion of the metropolitan ring road-North East interconnector
- Building of both eastern and western arms of Melbourne Metro
- Maximisation and possible extension of Webb Dock
- A Major Projects Facilitation Bill to help progress important projects
- New and improved nature-based tourism facilities, particularly on public land
- Acceleration of the Tourism Investment Fund to kick-start important projects
- A regional superhighway between Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and the Hume Highway
- Enhancement of Docklands infrastructure to improve liveability, including canals.
It is clear Victoria’s infrastructure is in need of a targeted approach to its maintenance and improvement: the 2010 Victorian Infrastructure Report Card by the Institution of Engineers rated the State’s energy, telecommunication, transport and water infrastructure as ‘barely adequate’.
Therefore, the new State Government should use its first State Budget to ensure Victoria will have the right infrastructure, in the right places and at the right time.
A well-drafted and integrated Infrastructure Plan will help ensure funding is directed towards projects that prioritise the most urgent infrastructure problems, and the Baillieu Government has an opportunity with its first State Budget to articulate its short and long-term plans for infrastructure projects.