NFF disappointed by regional infrastructure's low priority

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The National Farmers' Federation has criticised a list of priority infrastructure projects from a major government body, though it has been welcomed by road and freight bodies.

NFF disappointed by regional infrastructure's low priority
NFF president Fiona Simson is disappointed that regional projects were overlooked by Infrastructure Australia.

 

The 2021 Priority List released by independent government advisory body Infrastructure Australia has been praised by transport groups but condemned by regional groups decrying its lack of focus on regional projects.  

 

The list, which is used to shape government thinking and spending on future projects, is divided into four sections – high priority projects, priority projects, high priority initiatives and priority initiatives.

The high priority projects identified are a new motorway and airport in Western Sydney, the next stage of Sydney’s Metro; in Melbourne the North East Link and an upgrade to the M80 Ring Road and the development of Brisbane’s Metro network.

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson says she is disappointed that no regional projects were identified as ‘high priority’ in the list.

"Regional Australia needs transformational infrastructure, just like the Western Sydney Airport development, to finally capture all the benefits and economic potential of our regional communities and economies," she says.

"The NFF also acknowledges Infrastructure Australia’s efforts in identifying regional initiatives; however they need to be fully-costed and shovel-ready."

Simson identified several sectors she believes deserve regional infrastructure investment.

"Australia is lacking processing facilities for produce such as wool, cotton and forestry products, despite being world leaders in growing the raw fibre," she says.

"Regional Australia should be the host of a world leading export industry in food and fibre manufacturing and to achieve that we need equitable investment in transformative infrastructure."

Infrastructure Australia’s list received support from other bodies, with Civil Contractors Federation South Australia chief executive Rebecca Pickering saying projects on the list would provide an economic boost to that state.

"Earthmovers, road constructors, pipelayers, road maintenance, traffic control, mobile plant operators and other civil business are digging deep for South Australia to deliver these projects, and the industry’s uptake of new civil apprenticeships is evidence of this," she says.

Five new projects and 39 initiatives have been added to this year’s list, while another 10 projects from last year’s list have already started construction.

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