National

Infrastructure push to help virus recovery

By AAP Newswire

Rail and road projects in NSW and Western Australia have been added to a priority list to help the nation recover from consecutive crises.

Infrastructure Australia has released its updated priority list, which includes 155 proposals worth more than $64 million.

It includes the M4 Motorway upgrade in Sydney, the M80 Ring Road upgrade in Melbourne and the Brisbane Metro.

Also among the new projects and initiatives are various road safety improvements throughout Queensland and an upgrade to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Infrastructure Australia chief Romilly Madew says the list is critical during recovery as it can help steer investments towards projects that will help the economy.

"Australia is planning its recovery from a rolling series of crises: drought, flood, the bushfires and now COVID-19," she said.

"We want to highlight the most recent priority proposals at a time when our infrastructure investment needs to progress quickly, without jeopardising the quality of those investments."

The list is usually published in February each year but Infrastructure Australia has released it mid-year for the first time to help decision makers amid the pandemic.

National initiatives deemed high priority include water security, regional road safety, waste and recycling management, as well as preserving a corridor for the east coast high speed rail.

Infrastructure Australia says there should be a focus on staged infrastructure to help with the economic and health crises.

Existing projects should be maintained, then new work should be mobilised, it says.

The independent body believes industry reform should also be considered for the long-term recovery.