Rail corridor recognised as national priority project
THE Ipswich to Springfield rail corridor has been recognised by the Federal Government’s independent infrastructure advisor as one of Australia’s top priority projects.
The public transport corridor has been added to Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Infrastructure Priority List as the council seeks federal funding to progress the next stage of planning.
It is one of 44 new proposals added to the list, which makes up a $59 billion pipeline of investments ready for delivery.
Chair Julieanne Alroe said the projects included were “nationally significant priorities” for governments to progress to support the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
“The Infrastructure Priority List provides a credible pipeline of nationally significant proposals for governments at all levels to choose from,” the report notes.
“It provides evidence-based advice to help decision makers identify Australia’s spending priorities and deliver the infrastructure most needed by Australian communities.”
The Ipswich to Springfield rail corridor is recognised as one of 26 new ‘priority initiatives’.
“Initiatives are proposals assessed and endorsed by the Infrastructure Australia board that address a nationally significant problem, but need further development into a full business case,” the report notes.
“Infrastructure Australia includes initiatives on the priority list to indicate that further development and rigorous assessment of these proposals is a national priority.”
Ipswich City Council and the State Government have committed $500,000 and $1 million respectively to the next stage of planning, the detailed options analysis, subject to the Federal Government also coming to the table with $1 million.
LNP Senator Paul Scarr, who is based in Springfield, told the QT last week he was hopeful of a “positive result” on the Federal Government delivering the funding after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack’s visit to the region this month.
Progressing the rail corridor is a priority for the council with the city’s population set to double to more than 500,000 by 2041.
Its projected growth rate of four per cent a year far outstrips the average rates for Queensland (1.6 per cent) and Australia (one per cent).
The corridor would include up to nine new rail stations between Ipswich Central and Springfield Central.
“Our fastest growing communities between Ipswich, Ripley, Redbank Plains and Springfield will rapidly transform over the coming years and residents need to be connected to jobs, education and other public services,” Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said.
“If we do nothing, the local road network will fail by 2031 and it will cost the national economy more than $1 billion in productivity losses by 2036.
“With approximately 70 per cent of the population growth in Ipswich occurring between Ipswich and Springfield, this public transport corridor is vital to easing the burden on our road network and keeping our community moving.
“This is nation building infrastructure.
“Locally, it will ensure the people of Ipswich keep our great lifestyle as the region grows and deliver jobs and vital services.
“There will be improved travel times, economic and employment opportunity along the corridor, diversified housing supply and reduced congestion.”
The Cunningham Highway upgrade from Yamanto Interchange to Ebenezer Creek has sat on the list since 2016.
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.