From meeting customer demand, to offering better freight solutions and attracting new operators and investors, transport infrastructure plays a key role in generating increased benefits for Western Australia.
The scale of WA’s transport task quickly comes into focus when you consider the figures that emerged at the Western Australia Transport Infrastructure 2012 Conference. We learnt that:
• $280bn in infrastructure development is planned and WA exports 46% of Australia’s national exports, up from 26% in 2000
• WA ports already shipped more than the combined sea exports of Queensland, NSW and Victoria, and predicted iron ore shipments out of Port Hedland would soon more than triple
• Port Hedland – has 360 trucks arriving each day equating to one every 4 minutes
• Perth Airport is the fastest growing capital city airport in Australia with 11.5 million passengers recorded in the last financial year
From light rail to road projects and new freight routes, the March State election highlighted the importance of transport infrastructure in meeting projected freight and population demands for Western Australia. The cost benefit analysis of proposed projects also highlighted the market forces that are essential to discussions on how vital transport infrastructure is to attracting new investment and unlocking billions of dollars’ worth of additional revenue.
As Australia’s power-house, Gross State Product (GSP) for WA grew by a record 6.7% in 2011-12 and is expected to grow by 6.0% in 2012-13, given the 38.2% increase in business investment and above-average population growth. (Source: 2012-13 Government mid-year financial projections statement – released Dec 2012).
Of course, the State’s strong economic and population growth is leading to increased demands for government services and infrastructure, including:
• $410 million over the four years to 2015-16 for high priority transport infrastructure projects including an extension of the Mitchell Freeway from Burns Beach Road to Hester Avenue and works on local government roads and
• $80 million over the forward estimates period to build a train station with 2,000 parking bays at Aubin Grove in Perth’s southern suburbs.
Add to this the running costs of the State’s port, rail and road infrastructure upgrades and it’s an exciting time with work now commencing on the biggest road project in Perth’s history – the Airport Road project. This $1 billion network of freeways and interchanges around Perth Airport is just one piece of a growing puzzle that includes the $750 million Perth Airport is investing to improve and expand its facilities and the upgrades at regional airports to accommodate the growth in to fly-in, fly-out markets. Given massive energy projects such as Gorgon, Wheatstone and Browse, the pressure to remove transport bottlenecks will continue and the State Government has revealed its vision for a comprehensive freight network to open regions to new development opportunities.
And what PortLink and the Regional Freight Transport Network Plan propose for WA’s resource-rich regions, the Government’s plans for expanded public transport in Perth are expected address congestion and accessibility issues as Perth grows to an expected population of 2.7 million by 2031.
(PS – Add to this, figures released in March reveal that more jobs are being created in the State’s transport, postal and warehousing sector than in mining (Source: The West Australian March 25, 2013) with the number of people working in the sector growing almost 14% in the past year across WA to 69,100.)
Although the transport story in Western Australia is truly unique for historical, geographical and economic reasons, there were a number of common themes that emerged during the 2012 conference. You can read the detailed summary of these themes here.
If you’re interested in delivering a case study at this year’s event, please contact Tina Karas.