Focus on outer growth areas in new national plan

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Released late last week, Infrastructure Australia’s first 15-year Infrastructure Plan highlights the particular needs in outer growth areas.

Infrastructure Australia (IA) quoted the National Growth Areas Alliance submission calling for a "dedicated approach to population hotspots".

"The reality is that while Metropolitan Strategies have tried to shift the balance of growth to established areas with some success, the outer growth has continued. It is time for a dedicated approach to population hotspots," the submission reads.

Penrith is a member of the NGAA and has joined the Fund our Future campaign to push for a policy shift and a dedicated fund to fix infrastructure problems in the fast-growing outer suburbs now and into the future. In line with the NGAA's advocacy, the 15-year Plan called for governments to increase funding to address gaps in access to passenger transport on the outskirts of Australian cities.

In Western Sydney this would include a rail link between the new airport and the Western line that would also connect the North and South West growth centres and is being lobbied for by Penrith, Blacktown and Campbelltown councils.

"Investments should prioritise high-population areas and focus on the delivery of connecting transport infrastructure and services…," the Plan reads.

IA also released a separate document, the Infrastructure Priority List, with several projects from Fund our Future being earmarked.

"We are pleased with the projects highlighted and recommendations as far as they go," says Ruth Spielman, the Executive Officer of the NGAA. "But a much more strategic long term response is needed. That is why we are calling for a national dedicated infrastructure fund for fast-growing suburbs.

"Such a fund would address the infrastructure backlog in these suburbs and future-proof them, as they continue to grow."

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Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 23 February 2016.