Bruce Hwy upgrade not among top infrastructure projects
VITAL funds needed to complete Queensland upgrades to the Bruce Hwy failed to make the cut in a crucial Infrastructure Australia report, released on Tuesday.
The annual update of the most important national infrastructure projects did, however, list the Brisbane Cross River Rail project as a top priority.
Among the top four projects to make the "ready to proceed" list were the cross river rail, the Pacific Highway in New South Wales and two projects on the Monash Freeway in Victoria.
Numerous other projects around Queensland were seen as having "real potential" or were on the "threshold" of being ready to go, but did not make the cut.
Those included safety works and a major upgrade to the Bruce Hwy, Ipswich Mwy, Abbot Point Multi Purpose Harbour, Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the Warrego Hwy.
While the Bruce Hwy did not make the final cut, there was still more than $630 million allocated for the hwy in 2013-14 in the Federal Budget.
However, the Infrastructure Australia report shows the priority needs for investment seem to be to ease congestion in the major cities.
While the report made mention of the need for investment through the Regional Investment Fund, the $2 billion previously allocated to the fund was stripped in the May budget.
IA chairman Sir Rod Eddington made several key recommendations, including establishing a "single national infrastructure fund" and moving away from grants to encourage private investment.
But one of the four recommendations was to privatise a range of Commonwealth assets, in a bid to raise more than $100 billion in funding for government coffers.
Assets now put on the table for privatisation included metropolitan and rural water assets, numerous major ports, the National Electricity Market and "various regional airports".
Sir Rod said there were challenges in pursuing such changes, as "the community is wary of change" and governments had been reluctant to make the case for such change.
But he said failure to make the changes would "leave a poor legacy for our children and grandchildren".