The state government has unveiled its Victorian Infrastructure Plan. The plan is required to be released each time Infrastructure Victoria updates its 30-year strategy which was unveiled in December 2016.
On the whole, there aren't many surprises however one aspect of the recently released documents should not be ignored - we get a high-level, albeit brief, feel for what the government is currently thinking on the range of infrastructure recommendations IV put forward last year.
In the final section of the published infrastructure plan, the government outlines its response to each individual recommendation from Infrastructure Victoria.
The state government supports, supports in principle, or partly supports 134 of the 137 recommendations from Infrastructure Victoria. Energy pricing and transport network pricing are the two recommendations the state government does not support and 'brown coal transition' is the last recommendation that is subject to future consideration.
As first outlined in the 30-year strategy devised by Infrastructure Victoria, the Victorian Infrastructure Plan uses the word infrastructure in the broadest sense. From transport to culture, education to the justice system, and many others, the government's position on each aspect is addressed.
Each supported position is categorised as follows:
Supported - the recommendation is supported in full, is fully funded and will be implemented in its entirety
Supported in principle - broad direction of the recommendation is supported, but specific actions are subject to further budget to further budget consideration (either over the forward estimatesor beyond) or external factors (example: Commonwealth funding).
Partly supported - the objective of the recommendation is supported, although for optimal outcome, implementation actions may vary from Infrastructure Victoria's recommendation.
In the transport realm, the Transport Priority 2 - Building for the future section of the infrastructure plan hs 5 recommendations which have been given the top 'supported' position: Employment Centre Arterial Roads, Level Crossing Removals, North East Link, Wollert Transport Links and Melbourne Metro - future stages, or as it's referred to in the IV strategy, Melbourne Metro 2.
Melbourne Metro 2 is the rail line that would divert the South Morang line into a tunnel and send it via Fitzroy, Parkville, Flagstaff, Southern Cross and into Fishermans Bend. This project first appeared in the Napthine-era heavy rail network development plan, although it has been advocated both here and elsewhere that the original proposal to terminate in Fishermans Bend be extended to cross the lower Yarra once more to bring the inner-city even closer to the south-west.
Melbourne Airport rail link, Growth area local buses, Fishermans Bend tram link, Employment centre mass transit, Melton rail electrification, 10-car metropolitan trains, City loop reconfiguration and Clyde rail extension, Smartbus network and Wallan rail electrification all scored a 'supported in principle' position.
For a look at the positions the government has taken, see the Victorian Infrastructure Plan document starting on page 138. To read more detail about IV's recommendations on the various options, click here.
All eyes are now on the release of the draft Fishermans Bend framework as it promises 'a number of studies and expert reports [that] will support the development of the framework', including an Integrated Transport Plan.