Last week Infrastructure Australia made a compelling case for Australian governments to work together to establish a more robust mechanism for identifying and protecting key corridors for future infrastructure development.
The discussion paper, Corridor protection: planning and investing for the long term, uses financial modelling to back up its common sense call for corridor protection, demonstrating billions of dollars in potential savings for taxpayers.
Infrastructure Australia says that protection and early acquisition of just seven corridors identified as national priorities on the Infrastructure Priority List could save Australian taxpayers close to $11 billion in land purchase and construction costs.
Roads Australia president, David Stuart-Watt, said when it came to corridor preservation, there had been examples of both good and bad forward-planning over the past few decades.
"Even in situations where state governments have been proactive in identifying and partitioning corridors, urban encroachment and ensuing public pressure has undermined the initial decision-making process and forced more costly design options on those corridors," Stuart-Watt said.
"Many corridors are of national economic importance - hence the need for the Commonwealth to be involved in these processes.
"The key is to act early, consult widely and stick to the decision. It sounds easy and logical, but past experience suggests we can be better at working collaboratively across governments and government departments, and in engaging the community at the earliest opportunity to get their long-term buy-in."
Stuart-Watt called on governments to respond positively to Infrastructure Australia's discussion paper and develop a more robust, collaborative and forward-focussed process that balances community and economic interests and ensures greater value-for-money in infrastructure delivery.