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Page 1

Issue 1 Nov 2016

ROAD - RAIL - AIRPORT - PORT - URBAN - UTILITY

MAKING

SYDNEY’S SECOND

AIRPORT WORK NO-ONE AT THE WHEEL:

TRANSPORT’S

AUTOMATED FUTURE HIGH SPEED RAIL:

THE CASE FOR AND AGAINST

THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE FUNDING TUNNEL


AS AUSTRALIAN INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRESSES, WE’RE PROUD TO PARTNER WITH THE CONTRACTORS THAT ARE LEADING THE WAY.

ROAD RAIL AIRPORT UTILITY VERMEER

CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT SOLUTIONS FOR AUSTRALIA’S INFRASTRUCTURE INDUSTRY

VERMEER.COM.AU | 1300 VERMEER / VermeerAustralia Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the United States and / or other countries. © 2015 Vermeer Australia. All Rights Reserved.


INFRASTRUCTURE

EDITOR’S WELCOME Issue 1 Nov 2016

ROAD - RAIL - AIRPORT - PORT - URBAN - UTILITY

INFRASTRUCTURE

MAKING

SYDNEY’S SECOND

AIRPORT WORK NO-ONE AT THE WHEEL:

TRANSPORT’S

AUTOMATED FUTURE HIGH SPEED RAIL: NOVEMBER 2016

THE CASE FOR AND AGAINST

THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE FUNDING TUNNEL

Published by

Monkey Media Enterprises ABN: 36 426 734 954 PO Box 1763 Preston South VIC 3072 P: (03) 9988 4950 F: (03) 8456 6720 monkeymedia.com.au info@monkeymedia.com.au infrastructuremagazine.com.au info@infrastructuremagazine.com.au Editor Laura Harvey Associate Editor Jessica Dickers Journalists Jesse Tyler Lauren Cella Marketing Director Amanda Kennedy Marketing Associate Mathew Walker Marketing Consultants Aaron White Steven Golding Production and Customer Service Titian Bartlau Senior Designer Alejandro Molano Designer Jacqueline Buckmaster Contributing Designer Sandy Noke Publisher Chris Bland ISSN: 2206-7906

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November 2016 // ISSUE 1

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elcome to the first issue of Infrastructure, Australia’s first magazine dedicated to the entire infrastructure supply chain across road, rail, airport, port, utilities and urban development. 2016 is an incredible time to be involved in infrastructure in Australia. We are delivering projects that are improving the ways our cities and towns work, we have innovative new funding models that are helping to bring these projects to life, and recent sales and leases of assets such as Transgrid, Ausgrid and the Port of Melbourne are generating the funds required to continue delivering nation building projects. Importantly, we’re becoming increasingly focused on the role our existing services and assets play in keeping our country running smoothly. There’s an awareness that good infrastructure policy isn’t just about building new assets – it’s about ensuring that what we already have is performing at its peak, and enhancing it with increasingly digital technologies where appropriate. For the first issue of Infrastructure, we’ve gathered together some of Australia’s best minds when it comes to infrastructure planning, finance and delivery, and asked them to share their thoughts on what they consider to be the most critical topics when it comes to infrastructure. What follows in the pages of this magazine is a diverse range of opinions on where we’re headed, what we need to do, what we’ve done well and where we need to focus our attention. Our contributors don’t always agree, and that’s the point. Our aim with Infrastructure from day 1 is to present a variety of opinions to you, our audience, and help contribute to the public debate when it comes to infrastructure. For me, it’s a thrill to be able to step into the editor’s chair for a publication centred around the work the people

of this industry do. Infrastructure employees embrace the business of making all of our lives better, by delivering the assets and services that play a critical role across the country. It always surprises me how little the general public seem the know about, or consider, the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring the services we rely so heavily on to life. Bucking this trend, Infrastructure will be a place where the achievements of the industry are applauded and celebrated. Infrastructure is fully integrated across print and online – this quarterly magazine is supported by a website which is updated with breaking infrastructure news daily, and a weekly enewsletter which delivers all of the news of the week directly to your inbox. Head to infrastructuremagazine. com.au to explore the online home of the magazine, and subscribe to the enewsletter or magazine if you haven’t done so already. Monkey Media is a trade publisher with a proud history of connecting audiences with content that enhances their professional lives; and we look forward to continuing this tradition of sharing thought-leading content with the infrastructure industry. I hope you enjoy Issue 1. Laura Harvey Editor

I’m keen to hear your thoughts and feedback on our first issue. Drop me a line at laura.harvey@monkeymedia.com.au or feel free to call me on 03 9988 4950 to let me know what you think.

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


CONTENTS

TRANSPORT

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EMBRACING AUTOMATION: GETTING BEHIND THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORT

RAIL

40

Victoria's state government is undertaking one of the country’s most ambitious upgrades to an inner city rail network, removing 50 of Victoria’s worst level crossings.

Intelligent transport systems have come of age in recent years, and technology such as driverless cars is having an increasingly important role to play.

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22

TAKING A CITY’S PULSE: TOUCH-ONS, TRANSACTIONS AND TWEETS

44

Delivering future transport projects calls for new models of funding – governments need to attract private investment.

FIXING TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE MEANS MEASURED IMPROVEMENT

AIRPORT

48

NEW INVESTMENT, NEW MODELS OF FUNDING THE WAY FORWARD

QUEENSLAND IS DROPPING THE BALL ON INFRASTRUCTURE

The current state of inertia on funding reforms and asset recycling is placing Queensland at risk of a return to backlogs in project delivery.

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November 2016 // ISSUE 1

BALANCING DEVELOPMENT AND SAFETY RISK AT AIRPORTS

Aviation expert Bruce Byron highlights the constant evolution of airport safety standards, and argues that risk assessment must be a continuous process.

54

WE NEED BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE DECISIONS AND PLANNING

Leaders must think strategically about how to plan, fund and implement projects, says David Singleton.

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52

Australians are lucky to have access to worldclass infrastructure –but we are undergoing a period of change, and we will soon live in a very different nation to the one we see today. OPINION

WILL SYDNEY BE A SUCCESSFUL MULTI-AIRPORT CITY?

With the development of a second airport at Badgerys Creek, Sydney will be joining the ranks of global cities that have adopted a successful multiple airport strategy.

ROAD

32

EFFECTIVELY INTEGRATING LAND DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORT

Researchers are exploring how data from social media can identify accident black spots, improve transport and inform decisions.

Infrastructure is the new black – but behind that highest level of agreement, the infrastructure debate is increasingly discordant and deeply Balkanised.

28

REMOVING CROSSINGS REMOVES BARRIERS TO GROWTH

BUILDING THE MOST EFFICIENT RUNWAY SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY

Brisbane Airport’s New Parallel Runway is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently under construction in Australia.

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UPGRADING AUSTRALIA’S REGIONAL AIRPORTS

Following the appointment of a new CEO, the Port Hedland International Airport in Western Australia’s north is aiming to become the country’s best regional airport.

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


CONTENTS

PORT

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64

REGULARS

UNLEASHING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Victoria recently sealed the deal on one of the most important transactions in the state’s history – the 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne.

02 EDITOR’S WELCOME

FUELING SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S PORT INFRASTRUCTURE

80 ADVERTISERS’ INDEX

Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour has received an infrastructure boost with Flinders Ports' new $8 million bunkering facility. PLANNING

66

70

80 EDITORIAL SCHEDULE

NEWS

PLANNING FOR POPULATION GROWTH: WE CANNOT BUILD OUR WAY AROUND IT

08 ACCC PUSH FOR EFFECTIVE PORT

Infrastructure Victoria has released its thirtyyear plan for the state.

REGULATION

FINANCING

10 SYDNEY METRO PROJECT REACHES

The private sector is championing the value capture story.

12 NEW 50-YEAR PLAN FOR SOUTH EAST

VALUE CAPTURE – IS THAT A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

09 AUSGRID STAYS IN AUSTRALIAN HANDS MILESTONE

QUEENSLAND

13 NEW TECHNOLOGY PUTS TRAMS FIRST

POLICY

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06 CONTRIBUTORS

USING TRANSPORT TO DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH

The NT Government has new plans for its roads, the aviation sector and regional transport.

AT INTERSECTIONS

PARTNER SOLUTIONS

27 BRIDGING THE GAPS WITH PMMA

Big ideas forum

78

Australia has long had a love affair with high speed rail - or at least we’ve loved the idea of high speed rail. Many a politician has spoken about the benefits of connecting East Coast capital cities with high speed rail, but to date the idea remains just that. Here, we’ve asked two experts to consider the question: is high speed rail a good idea?

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

38 HOW CAN AUSTRALIAN CITIES BE MORE SUSTAINABLE?

39 NSW STATE BUDGET INVESTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE

November 2016 // ISSUE 1

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Contri Darren Chester Darren Chester is the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. He was elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Gippsland in June 2008, and in 2013 he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence. Mr Chester continued as the Assistant Minister for Defence under the new Turnbull Government and in February 2016 was appointed to his current position. Prior to entering Federal Parliament, Mr Chester worked as a newspaper and television journalist throughout Gippsland.

Steve Abson Steve Abson is Chief Executive Officer of the Infrastructure Association of Queensland, the peak industry organisation representing more than 60 major companies across asset owners, construction, financing, design and advisory sectors. Mr Abson is a qualified civil engineer and experienced executive with almost 30 years’ experience in delivery of major infrastructure and building projects. Steve’s infrastructure experience spans the breadth of project delivery models in both the private and public sector and he has a passion for unlocking value through relationship contracting.

David Singleton David Singleton is the Chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia. He is also a member of the Swinburne University of Technology Board, a director of Standards Australia and a non-executive director of The Future Business Council. Mr Singleton worked with the global consulting group Arup for 41 years, holding a series of global and regional leadership roles. He also chairs the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering’s Infrastructure Forum.

Philip Davies Philip Davies is the Chief Executive Officer of Infrastructure Australia. He is an experienced infrastructure executive who has over 25 years' experience shaping policy, delivering nationally significant infrastructure projects and leading reform within the infrastructure sector. Before joining Infrastructure Australia, Mr Davies led AECOM's Infrastructure Advisory business in Asia Pacific, providing government and private sector clients with infrastructure policy, strategy, business, program, planning and operations advice.

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butors Brendan Lyon Brendan Lyon is the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the peak infrastructure policy partnership between Australia’s Commonwealth and state governments and the business sector. Joining IPA on its formation a decade ago, Mr Lyon initially led the policy and research team, before being appointed CEO in 2008. With a strong interest in infrastructure and in economic policy, Mr Lyon has authored and contributed to a large number of research and policy papers, considering different aspects of infrastructure market regulation.

Tim Pallas Tim Pallas is the Treasurer of Victoria. Mr Pallas studied a combined Arts/Law Degree at the Australian National University in Canberra, graduating in 1983. His career before politics saw him work as a labourer in a steel works and an abattoir, the National Industrial Officer of the Federal Firefighters Union and at the National Union of Workers, before he was elected to the position of Assistant Secretary of the ACTU in 1995. Mr Pallas then worked as the Chief of Staff to former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks before he entered parliament in 2006. During his time in government Mr Pallas has served as the Minister for Roads and Ports, Minister for Major Projects, and as a Shadow Minister for portfolios including ports, freight and logistics, major projects and infrastructure. He has been Victoria’s Treasurer since December 2014.

Theo Psychogios Theo is a partner with Deloitte Access Economics and leads the Western Sydney advisory practice. He specialises in providing economic, policy and commercial advice to public sector organisations and the private sector entities they engage with. Theo is a leading advocate for the economic development of the Western Sydney region; working with businesses, industry and community groups and local and state government to assess and prosecute the investments required to realise the region’s growth potential. Most recently Theo co-authored Shaping Future Cities; a blueprint for the economic transformation of Western Sydney. The report aims to create 200,000 great new jobs by 2020 and includes 25 strategies and 133 separate recommendations to build platforms for employment growth, to create jobs and to connect people to those jobs – and was officially launched by NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Peter Newman Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He has written 16 books and over 300 papers on sustainable cities. His books include The End of Automobile Dependence (2015), Green Urbanism in Asia (2013) and Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence, which was launched in the White House in 1999. Peter was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and was on the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological and Engineering Sciences Australia. Peter has worked in local government as an elected councillor, in state government as an advisor to three premiers and in the Australian Government on the board of Infrastructure Australia. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, recently referred to Peter as his ‘tutor’ on cities.

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NEWS

ACCC PUSH FOR EFFECTIVE PORT REGULATION

T

he Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman (ACCC), Rod Sims, has said there is a need for more effective regulatory regimes for privatised port assets around the country. Mr Sims spoke at the Ports Australia Conference in Melbourne about the current preference of governments to implement price monitoring regimes, but failing to ensure there is an effective constraint on monopoly pricing at Australian ports. “Take for example the Port of Newcastle. This is the world’s largest coal export port, and it was privatised in 2014 with a sale price of $1.75 billion. Less than a year later, the new owner revalued its port assets to $2.4 billion and increased navigation charges by over 40 per cent,” Mr Sims said. “There is no effective regulatory regime to constrain monopoly pricing at this port. Instead, there is simply a price monitoring regime. As you may expect, this regime has had no visible impact in dealing with this price increase.” Mr Sims said a negotiate-arbitrate framework is the minimum for effective regulation of monopoly infrastructure. “This approach doesn’t impose upfront requirements on the infrastructure owner, so the regulatory burden is minimal. It allows robust commercial negotiations to take place.” Mr Sims also questioned moves by governments to sweeten deals for port buyers by putting in place arrangements that ensure little to no prospect of future competition. “To date we have expressed concern about the initial proposal by the WA Government to offer the new owner of the Port of Fremantle the first right to develop a new port south of Fremantle in the future,” Mr Sims said. “Allowing the owner of the existing facility the right to develop a new port forecloses the potential for future competition between two Fremantle ports. This limits the competitive constraint on the privatised port operator, to the detriment of users.”

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November 2016 // ISSUE 1

Mr Sims said a core objective in privatising assets has often been to maximise proceeds. “This is fine if there is a competitive market, or there are sound regulatory arrangements in place to curb monopoly pricing and protect the long term interests of consumers. “But as I’ve noted, the ACCC has been concerned that this has not been the case with many privatised port assets.” In his speech Mr Sims explored examples where governments have shifted the dial towards a more robust regulatory regime to apply post-privatisation. “We saw some positive results from our engagement with the Victorian Government last year, with important improvements to the regulatory regime applying to the Port of Melbourne,” Mr Sims said. “An even more pleasing result has been our recent engagement with the WA Government on the proposed privatisation of the Utah Point Bulk Handling Facility [Port Hedland]. “After the ACCC pointed out the limits of price monitoring to constrain pricing, the WA Government now proposes to replace the monitoring regime with a negotiate-arbitrate framework. “We consider that this will provide a credible constraint on monopoly pricing, while still allowing users to commercially negotiate terms of access.”

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


NEWS

AUSGRID STAYS IN AUSTRALIAN HANDS

T

he New South Wales Government has agreed to sell part of Ausgrid, the state’s electricity distributor, to an Australian consortium. The government reached an agreement with Australian companies IFM Investors and AustralianSuper in a deal worth $16.2 billion. New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, said proceeds from the sale will help fund critical infrastructure projects as part of the state government’s $20 billion Rebuilding NSW plan. “This is another excellent result for the people of NSW after our successful $10.3 billion lease of TransGrid,” Mr Baird said. “Our poles and wires transactions are unlocking billions of dollars to fund new schools, hospitals, public transport and roads that will make a real difference to people's lives.”

New South Wales Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian, said the successful unsolicited proposal by IFM Investors and AustralianSuper was thoroughly assessed by government agencies and financial advisers, within the strictest probity requirements, and found to be delivering value for money. “This is an outstanding result and it is great to see a completely Australian consortium investing in this asset,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The NSW Government is delighted to be entering into a partnership with IFM and AustralianSuper, given their demonstrated track record in the management and long term investment in infrastructure assets.” As this is an all-Australian consortium, there is no need to seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

The Price Commissioner, Professor Allan Fels AO, has also signed off on the Ausgrid transaction. The consortium has also signed the Electricity Prices Guarantee, which confirms total Ausgrid network charges will be lower in 2019 than they were in 2014. The NSW Government will retain 49.6 per cent of Ausgrid and will have an ongoing role as the lessor of the business and an investor. In addition, the state will continue its roles as licensor and safety and reliability regulator of Ausgrid. Ausgrid will also continue to be regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator, which determines network prices.

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www.taylorsds.com.au November 2016 // ISSUE 1

9


NEWS

SYDNEY METRO PROJECT REACHES

MILESTONE

S

everal milestones have been reached in the delivery of Sydney's world-class metro railway, with almost 5km of railway tracks now laid. Since construction began on the Sydney Metro at Rouse Hill, more than 5,000 sleepers have been put in place, 13,000 tonnes of rock ballast have been laid and more than 2.5km of overhead wiring has been installed. Work is also progressing on maintenance building at the Sydney Metro Train Facility at Rouse Hill, which will be the new headquarters for Sydney Metro operations when services start in the first half of 2019. New South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, said, “Sydney Metro is taking shape before our eyes, with 5km of steel laying the foundation for our newest railway that will grow with our city.

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November 2016 // ISSUE 1

“By the end of the project 19km of steel will be laid at the site, and 108km of railway steel will be used across the entire Sydney Metro Northwest project. “Millions of trains will run down these tracks over 100 years, changing the face of Sydney and making trips easier and faster for commuters across the city.” The Sydney Metro trains facility will house the operations centre for the new fully-automated standalone metro railway and is also where the new train fleet will be stabled and maintained. Services are expected to begin in 2019 with 22 metro trains located on-site. When Stage 2 of Sydney Metro is operational in 2024, including under Sydney Harbour and through the CBD, the Rouse Hill facility will also maintain the extra trains needed to service the entire 66km line to Bankstown.

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


2016

Adelaide

22-23 November RAIL – MOVING THE ECONOMY FORWARD The recent release of Infrastructure Australia’s ‘Australian Infrastructure Plan and the Infrastructure Priority List’ highlights the crucial role rail will continue to play into our future. Across the industry, from freight and passenger rail operations to manufacturing, construction, research, and technological innovation, the efficiency of rail directly impacts our social and economic prosperity. Both passenger and freight rail contributes over $4.2 billion to the national economy each year. In this light, the agenda for AusRAIL 2016 will address rail’s role in effectively enhancing Australia’s productivity, liveability and international competiveness, while exploring the policy, planning, funding, reform and collaboration required to ensure a better rail future for all.

ARA MEMBER DISCOUNT New to 2016, we’re delighted to offer all ARA members a 20% discount to attend the two day conference and Gala Dinner. For more details, visit www.ausrail.com/registration

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PLANNING AHEAD FOR 2017

Adelaide

22-23 November

AusRAIL 2016 also features Australasia’s largest rail exhibition running alongside the conference with up to 160 exhibiting organisations. With the exhibition sales approaching 65% sold, space is limited. Sponsorship and Official Event Guide Advertising sales are also well advanced. For more information visit www.ausrail.com or contact: Deborah Bocock, Sponsorship & Exhibition Sales Manager, AusRAIL +61 2 9080 4348 or deborah.bocock@informa.com.au

This MAJOR 3-day Rail Sector event that holds the title of the ‘largest combined rail conference and exhibition in the southern hemisphere’ has already launched exhibition sales two years in advance. With in excess of 65% of the space already sold, now is the time to book. Contact Deborah Bocock at deborah.bocock@informa.com.au

www.ausrail.com


NEWS

NEW 50-YEAR PLAN FOR SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND

A

50-year plan for South East Queensland has been released, with a focus on community, affordable living, future jobs and maximising existing infrastructure to cater for future growth. The draft South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan was developed through consultation with the region’s twelve councils, industry and the community. Some new areas of focus for the draft SEQ Regional Plan are: ♦♦ Employment benchmarks to ensure areas of future urban growth are identified ♦♦ Greater housing choice – ensures housing diversity meets the changing makeup of the population ♦♦ Smart infrastructure investment – public and active transport will be prioritised as a means of accessing ♦♦ Local services and employment – the SEQ Regional Plan will inform future state infrastructure plan updates

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♦♦ ♦♦

Identifying areas of regional significance where SEQ can attract investment and high-value economic activities Identifying and protecting regional biodiversity corridors

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad, said, “It’s vital that the SEQ Regional Plan reflects the values, needs and great ideas of the community, which is why we worked in close partnership with the region’s twelve Mayors and consulted with South East Queenslanders to develop this draft plan. “The population of South East Queensland is expected to grow to over 5.3 million people in the next 25 years and the draft SEQ Regional Plan is all about catering for this growth sustainably.” Ms Trad said the government is looking, for the first time, beyond the boundary of a 25-year plan and has developed a 50-year vision that looks ahead to the region’s longer-term future and how SEQ responds to global changes. “Throughout the state we are seeing innovative new industries emerge, the delivery of exciting urban renewal precincts and more and more people choosing to call Queensland home,” Ms Trad said. “Through smart planning we can ensure that we are ready to capitalise on the transition to a services and knowledge driven economy. That means a lift in economic growth and more jobs for Queenslanders.” Ms Trad said one of the important features of the draft SEQ Regional Plan was a focus on unlocking land that has been identified for urban development but has so far been underutilised. “The draft plan focuses on affordable living – not just affordable housing – and looks at the way that people interact with their community and the services around them. “We have identified areas of regional economic significance throughout the southeast to facilitate economic growth outside the major employment hubs and enable people to work and live closer to home. “Unlocking land already within the urban footprint is critical, ensuring that there is less demand for expanding into our natural environment. “We want the SEQ Regional Plan to be shaped by South East Queenslanders and I encourage the community to have their say during upcoming consultation sessions across the region or online.”

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


NEWS

NEW TECHNOLOGY PUTS TRAMS

FIRST AT INTERSECTIONS

A

world-first trial has begun in Victoria that uses technology to alert traffic lights when trams are approaching, giving them a higher priority at intersections. Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, said two signalling systems would be trialled to improve network efficiency, traffic management, and reduce congestion on the state’s roads. The first technology, a Cooperative Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS), uses devices that are installed in trams and traffic lights, which alert traffic lights as trams approach. The second system uses real-time GPS to determine traffic light activity based on live road conditions, with a link back to Yarra Trams and VicRoads’ control rooms. Both systems will integrate with VicRoads’ existing road management system. Mr Donnellan said, “Improving the flow of trams at intersections will make services more reliable and reduce congestion on our roads – helping to get passengers where they need to go, on time.

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

“We’re working closely with transport technology and industry partners to find new ways to make our roads and public transport services safer and more efficient for all Victorians.” The Victorian Government recently awarded a grant of $669,000 to the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), which will work with Public Transport Victoria, VicRoads and Yarra Trams to undertake the trial. Yarra Trams CEO, Nicolas Gindt, said, “Traffic light priority helps us move more people more efficiently. “We are very pleased to collaborate with partners across the transport system to reduce the journey times of our 200 million trips a year and help get the most out of Melbourne’s tram network.” The trial is funded through the government’s Smarter Journeys program, which supports initiatives that reduce congestion across Victoria’s road network. Early research for the trial has commenced, and is expected to get underway on the network in 2017.

November 2016 // ISSUE 1

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TRANSPORT

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November 2016 // ISSUE 1


TRANSPORT

EMBRACING

AUTOMATION:

GETTING BEHIND THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORT

by Darren Chester, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

November 2016 // ISSUE 1

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TRANSPORT

Intelligent transport systems have come of age in recent years, and technology such as driverless cars – once the stuff of science fiction or fantasy – is having an increasingly important role to play in improving road safety, enhancing the liveability of cities and the increasing productivity of society.

A

Cabinet Minister is rarely happy to take his hands off the wheel and not be in full control of the direction he’s heading – but the recent 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems challenged that stereotype. Amongst the myriad of cutting-edge transport technologies on show was the driverless car, and it was a unique experience to be able to buckle up and head off – safely and securely – without holding the steering wheel. Road safety is a well-known passion of mine. The idea of driverless or highly automated vehicles where drivers don’t control every aspect of operation may sound like the complete opposite of our idea of safer driving and safer road systems – but it’s not. The new wave of intelligent transport systems, including highly automated cars and vehicles that communicate with each other, and with roadside infrastructure, have the potential to reduce road trauma. More than 1,200 people have died on our roads in the past 12 months, with thousands seriously injured. We need to do better, and technology is part of the solution. This year’s ITS World Congress was an opportunity to share information on the past triumphs of intelligent transport systems and map out an informed approach to future challenges, including aspects of road safety. As chair of the policy roundtable, I asked delegates to focus on two themes – identifying the top three ITS challenges facing communities in the coming three to five years, and the top three solutions for using ITS to enhance the liveability of communities over the same timeframe. Now is the ideal time to have these conversations, as the opportunities and challenges in the ITS area have never been greater, and the pace of change has never been faster. By 2031, Australia will grow to just over 30 million people, with most of that future growth expected to occur in and around our capital cities. The government is also committed to investing in regional areas to ensure they

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share in Australia’s growth. Australia, like many nations, will experience challenges associated with a larger population. Innovation and technology must be part of the answer and the Coalition Government’s Smart Cities Plan, released earlier this year, ensures they will be a key part of our approach. Transport is a critical part of supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation, and create jobs, growth and prosperity. While urban growth is seemingly inevitable, I believe that a crucial part of the solution to urban congestion is increased regional development. As a government, we are working to grow regional centres through investment in better transport infrastructure, communication links and projects to improve the liveability of rural and regional Australia. In past years, ITS has delivered important but incremental changes to our transport systems. In Australia, we’ve seen significant benefits from the deployment of dynamic speed zones and active lane management, ramp metering, traveller information systems, e-tolling and other well-established systems. These kinds of technologies tend to be low cost and high return. They’ve helped us avoid or delay expensive construction works, or take a smarter approach to road operations and maintenance. This is incredibly important, as Australia faces strong growth in demand for infrastructure and at the same time, significant budget constraints. That is why the Australian Government will continue to prioritise investment in proven ITS technologies, with those on the horizon right now having the potential to be truly transformative. Rather than delivering us incremental improvements, there is the potential to change the fundamentals of our transport system. Road safety, for example, is an ongoing problem in large part because of the natural limitations of human drivers. With advances in vehicle automation

and connectivity we have, for the first time, the realistic prospect of making the next great leap in improving road safety and reducing deaths on our roads. Technological change also has the potential to make our infrastructure more efficient on an ever-increasing scale. In addition to automation and improved vehicle connectivity, developments such as big data and the internet of things, more real-time travel information and new digitally based business models will deliver significant efficiency benefits. It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact that improved mobility can have on the lives of everyday people. Using more on-demand transport to deliver better services in regional areas or giving people with a disability more options through automated transport are particularly exciting prospects.

A look inside the car of the future.

www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


TRANSPORT

To realise these benefits, political and community leaders must engage in the debate. The days of ITS being a field only for engineers and technical experts are well behind us. Quite simply, our success in the future will depend on the extent to which we make sound policy and regulatory and investment decisions in response to the emerging challenges. These challenges include safety security and privacy, the need for new digital infrastructure, how we manage and use data, keeping pace with innovation and integrating with existing systems, especially across internal and external borders. Finding the right balance between managing safety and security and allowing innovation to help grow the industry is crucial. We all know that regulations alone will not make the broader ITS environment safe and we must look to other technologies to mitigate the risks. Bearing this in mind, Australia is already undertaking a number of actions to prepare for the future. In August this year I joined my ministerial colleagues from state and

territory governments to sign off on a National Policy Framework for Land Transport Technology, which sets out principles that will foster a national policy approach to emerging transport technologies. The framework will also give industry certainty about the role of government. The policy principles in this document will help us roll out systems that work across our state jurisdictions, while still taking account of important local differences. Understandably, integrating systems across borders is going to be a challenge across the world, be it Europe, Asia or the Americas. The policy framework is underpinned by a three-year action plan, which includes priorities such as establishing a regulatory framework for testing automated vehicles, considering how our infrastructure may need to change for connected and automated vehicles, encouraging innovation by making more transport data available as ‘open data’, and exploring how we can increase the uptake of various ITS technologies. We are also currently reviewing the regulatory barriers to automated

vehicles and expect that process to be finalised later this year. Depending on the results, we will aim to remove any identified barriers and introduce any new safety measures as required. Naturally, a consistent approach to future regulation for automated vehicles will be critical, and as a principle, we will look to follow international leads to reduce industry costs and make Australia an attractive deployment destination. Finally, the Australian Government is partnering with governments at all levels to deliver innovative test and trial deployments. Much more work is planned in this area, and I am looking forward to continuing my collaboration with my state counterparts to progress our plans. Intelligent Transport Systems hold potential to improve the productivity and liveability of communities and industries of all sizes and we must grasp every opportunity to harness the full potential of this exciting sector. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Darren Chester.

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Researchers from the University of Melbourne are exploring how data from social media can identify accident black spots, improve transport and life in the city and inform decisions about future infrastructure spending. 18

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weets, transactions and transport card ‘touch-ons’ could give urban planners the big data they need to make transport systems work better, identify accident black spots and make cities more liveable. University of Melbourne researchers – armed with the right analytical tool – are finding Twitter data surprisingly useful. They’re mining the data and looking for patterns, from identifying real-time traffic jams to measuring community sentiment to even finding the hotspots for bad language. “We have built a way to harvest Twitter data while people are on the roads. It’s a controversial idea, because people shouldn’t be tweeting while they’re driving,” said Professor Richard Sinnott, director of the Melbourne eResearch Group and from the Melbourne School of Engineering’s Department of Computing and Information Systems. Professor Sinnott and his team do their analysis using Australia’s road system data, available through the Australian Research Infrastructure (AURIN) portal. “Just as measuring a person’s vital signs – pulse, temperature, breathing rate and blood pressure – tell you a lot about their health, measuring signs of activity, life and movement in a city can tell you how functional or dysfunctional it is,” said Dr Serryn Eagleson, an urban researcher and Manager Data and Business Applications at AURIN. Collectively, the AURIN community have curated and integrated vast amounts of urban data – over 1,600 datasets from 70 agencies – mapped it, and developed tools to analyse it so that researchers like Professor Sinnott can put it to use. “We’ve written a set of algorithms that identify tweets that originate on the road system. You can write an algorithm that moves along CityLink or the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, or the Southern Expressway south of Adelaide, checking for tweets in each small section of the road,” Professor Sinnott explained. CLUSTERS OF TWEETS In this instance, Professor Sinnott and his algorithms aren’t reading the actual tweets. “We’re not interested in what they’re tweeting about, whether it’s ‘I’m stuck in a traffic jam’ or ‘I had bacon and eggs for

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breakfast’,” he said. “The fact that they’re tweeting and, for example, they’re on CityLink, is meaningful.” The assumption is that people will tweet while on our road network if they’re in a traffic jam, if they’re stopped, or if they’re a passenger. “We write software that can identify clusters of tweets in space and in time. Several tweets over 15 minutes from different people in the same location could indicate that something is going on there – traffic building up or an accident. From this, we can identify accident black spots and traffic jams in real time. “Our results compare well with official data for accident black spots from VicRoads.”

A TWEET-FUL OF USEFUL DATA A typical 140-character tweet has nine kilobytes of data and metadata, such as your profile information, who you follow, who follows you, what language you’re tweeting in, what device you’re tweeting with and, if geolocation services are turned on, where you’re tweeting from. Professor Sinnott says this data has huge potential. “For example, census data will tell you Vietnamese-speaking people lived in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs, like Richmond and Burnley in 2011. Twitter data might show there are a significant number of Vietnamese-speaking people in Point Cook (in Melbourne’s western suburbs) right now! “You can use this data to capture what is really happening, so that policy decisions can be driven by what we know, rather than what we think we know. If you’re going to build a new roadway, buildings, or large scale infrastructure, you want to know which people are there and that they will be well serviced.” AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE World-renowned British urban planner and geographer Professor Michael Batty – winner of the Vautrin Lud Prize – also uses the vast amounts of data generated in modern cities in his research. His work was presented in Melbourne as the inaugural AURIN Lecture, and can be viewed online. He keeps his finger on the pulse of London’s tube system by measuring Oyster card ‘tap-ins’ and ‘tap-outs’, similar to Melbourne’s myki and Sydney’s Opal public transport smartcards.

“We’re embedding computers for the first time into the built environment,” Professor Batty said, describing transport smartcard sensors as fixed computers and smartphones as mobile computers. “The ‘exhaust’ from all this technology use is big data.” The beeps of smartcard ‘touch-ons’, the tweets on social media and credit card and EFTPOS transactions are signs of activity in our modern, technologyassisted lives. Just as loyalty cards give retailers a lot of powerful information about your shopping habits and favourite products, mapped transaction data and social media activity can reveal a lot about city systems. Professor Batty uses Oyster card data from London’s transport system to understand and improve flows through the tube, including during disruptions on the network or major events, such as the London 2012 Olympics.

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TRANSPORT

AURIN researchers have written a set of algorithms that identify tweets written on sections of road, such as CityLink in Melbourne.

Where will AURIN take infrastructure planning? AURIN is delivering access to diverse data from multiple sources, and is facilitating data integration and data interrogation using open source e-research tools.

WHO OWNS THE DATA? In 2015, prospective myki operators were asked to pay $50,000 to Public Transport Victoria for access to past usage data. Should researchers trying to improve transport systems and inform policy debates be asked to pay for data? “Cities are huge data generators, but who owns that data?” Dr Eagleson asked. “As government services are increasingly outsourced to the private sector, it’s important that we consider the ownership and use of data generated by these services, and potentially build access for future research into service provider contracts.”

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This generates meaningful knowledge – urban intelligence – the evidence base for informed decisions for the smart growth and the sustainable development of Australia’s cities and towns. AURIN collates approximately 1,600 datasets from 70 different agencies and makes them available to researchers and policy makers, helping to inform the organisations tasked with developing the infrastructure our future cities require. Urban systems are complex. Understanding how they function and planning for their future development is crucial. That requires access to massive amounts of data and sophisticated analytical and modelling tools to adequately address key issues such as investment in the infrastructures required to enhance productivity, providing access to affordable housing, achieving greater efficiencies in energy and water consumption, and enhancing health and well-being. Currently the information being collected is informing the planning of integrated transport across a number of local and state government agencies. In Victoria, AURIN is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and interface councils on identifying the gap in services within growing municipalities.

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FIXING TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE MEANS MEASURED IMPROVEMENT Brendan Lyon, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

Infrastructure is the new black – every politician wants to promise it, every voter wants to use it, and every economic indicator says we need it. But behind that highest level of agreement, the infrastructure debate is increasingly discordant and deeply Balkanised.

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A recent update found avoidable congestion costs nationwide will be between $27 billion and $37 billion by 2030.

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he heavy political pall over state infrastructure projects and privatisations has been further complicated by the Turnbull Government’s surprise (and very last minute) rejection of both bidders for the NSW electricity grid in August. This state, and now national, political uncertainty reflects the absence of community consensus about the way forward, in part because we do not clearly understand many of the infrastructure problems that need to be fixed – or the fiscal and regulatory reforms needed to enable them. In transport infrastructure, while easy references to “evidence-based decision making” remain strong, beyond unsophisticated discussions about project benefit cost ratios (BCR), we do not actually measure much, instead relying on our historical approach of decision-based evidence making, to a very large degree. WHAT CAN BE MEASURED, CAN BE FIXED Australia invests many tens of billions in transport infrastructure each year – but we don’t routinely measure the effectiveness of either the capital program, or the overall function of the transport system.

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Rather, we focus the debate squarely on whether a BCR on an individual project, rather than a series of projects across the network, is above or below one. While this debate is healthy, only measuring the value of inputs neglects a more meaningful process of measuring whether journey quality, costs and time is improving, or falling.

WE’RE ALL FROGS, AND THE WATER’S GETTING PRETTY WARM The words productivity and competitiveness have been mentioned tens of thousands of times in the press in recent times – but there is no regular measurement of the cost and performance of the transport network underpinning the economy. While our measurement of transport network performance is non-existent, we do know from some external measures that infrastructure performance has been declining in Australia. Across the past two decades, Australia has fallen from the fifth most competitive economy in the world to the 21st, with the decay in enabling economic infrastructure singled out by the World Economic Forum as a key factor in Australia’s decline. The ABS has already shown that

Australia’s productivity spike through the 1990s and early 2000s has slowed, stalled, and now reversed. There was a 0.7 per cent annual decline in productivity between 2005 and 2011, as compared with a 2.4 per cent increase between 1993 and 1999. For transport specifically, the recent Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) update found avoidable congestion costs nationwide will be between $27 billion and $37 billion by 2030. Infrastructure Australia (IA) published an even higher estimate of $53 billion by 2031 in its 2015 Australia Infrastructure Audit. With national economic performance in freefall, congestion stripping up to $53 billion a year and with governments funding circa $55 billion of investment this year, it seems illogical that we don’t measure performance of the transport network – or analyse the value of the new investments we make, ex post. Better informing the debate about budget and regulatory reform could only be helped by routine measures that show the community that we are all frogs, and the water is getting pretty warm. Good information and good evidence are the best way to force public policy back to the fundamentals. If you were being unkind, one could

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Re 15 gis Ear De tra lyb ce tio ird m n be C l r 2 os 01 es 6

10th Austroads Bridge Conference

3-6 April 2017 Pullman Melbourne Albert Park www.abc2017.com.au

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t gives me great pleasure to invite you to the Austroads Bridge Conference 2017 (ABC2017), a national conference that will be hosted by VicRoads in Melbourne in April 2017. This will be the 10th conference held under the auspices of Austroads, the 25th anniversary of the first ABC and the second time hosted by VicRoads.

The organising committee for ABC2017 invites you to participate in this important conference. The ABC is the premier bridge conference in Australia and provides a great opportunity for local and international specialists in the field of bridge engineering to share experiences, innovations, achievements and knowledge. The ABC also provides a great opportunity for sponsors and exhibitors to promote the latest technology, products and services. A number of Pre Conference Technical Tours have been arranged for Monday 3 April 2017. These are a great opportunity for you to see some iconic Melbourne bridges, to see the inner workings of a major construction project and also to network with other delegates. The West Gate Bridge tour will showcase the recent strengthening of the bridge and also how it is maintained and managed. The EJ Whitten Bridge tour will take you through the current project to widen the structure to five lanes in each direction. And finally the Casting Yard tour will give delegates the opportunity to see the precasting of the segmental boxes for the level crossing removal project from Caulfield to Dandenong and learn about the project in general. Earlybird closes 15 December so register now. I look forward to seeing you at ABC2017 and enjoying a successful event for all delegates and participants. On behalf of the organising committee Nigel Powers ABC2017 Chair


TRANSPORT

The Turnbull Government has correctly identified cities as a policy focus this term.

almost suspect we don’t produce this information because the answer is bad and getting worse.

WHAT CAN CANBERRA ADD TO A CITIES AGENDA? For its part, the Turnbull Government has correctly identified cities as a policy focus this term. Capital cities drive 80 per cent of GDP and 70 per cent of employment, so it’s logical that any national economic agenda will necessarily focus on making cities work. But this is a hard issue for a national government to address well. The Federal Government is, both by deliberate constitutional design and by practical effect, far removed from the realities of urban infrastructure. Indeed, it is unlikely that Canberra will have much value to add on areas like land use planning or infrastructure delivery, beyond high level principles. CANBERRA SHOULD FOCUS ON A MEASURED RESPONSE Beyond ‘City Deal’ grants for regional sports stadiums and the wider narrative about Commonwealth leadership on cities, finding a useful and meaningful role for Canberra in urban infrastructure – beyond providing cash to states – remains an elusive outcome.

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Perhaps, given the obvious national impact of struggling cities, Canberra might be well placed to develop a national measurement system that can benchmark the performance of urban infrastructure between Australia’s cities – and between Australian cities and our global competitors. Better information would also allow better assessment of new infrastructure performs – and make states more accountable for network performance, rather than signature projects. It is very hard to treat a disease without a diagnosis – and it’s time we began to develop the metrics that will allow us to track actual performance over time. Federal, state and local governments already harvest a wealth of statistics concerning water, waste, energy, transport and health infrastructure services – but it often remains uncollated data, rather than useful information. With a federal government keen to talk ‘cities’, but without any practical power or experience in urban policy, the Federal Treasurer should task the Productivity Commission to develop a dashboard of measures that tracks the performance of infrastructure networks in Australia’s major cities.

A dashboard that measures city-wide economic and social indicators – as well as sector-specific indicators such as congestion on road networks, or the efficiency of waste and water systems – would allow governments and the public to consistently track the performance of cities, and the success or otherwise of policymakers in addressing these challenges over time. If these independently developed benchmarks were routinely published, it would make visible where infrastructure is performing well, and where it is not. Tracking the efficiency of cities would also allow for a much more reasoned discussion around integration between and across asset types and jurisdictions. And it would make the problems much more obvious to the public – and could well serve to force infrastructure policy back to real discussions about the hard changes needed – like privatisations and structural reform to infrastructure markets. Measuring the decline will allow the community to focus on the reality that things cannot get better, if they stay exactly the same.

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BRIDGES // PARTNER SOLUTIONS

BRIDGING THE GAPS WITH PMMA Surface deterioration is one of the major problems that can affect the service life of a bridge. Bridges are subject to a number of damaging elements, causing them to crack prematurely due to shrinkage, movement, and wear and tear. If not properly protected, moisture and chemicals can penetrate into the structure over time, leading to corrosion and degradation of the structure.

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ccording to Chris Bauer from Hychem, these problems can be avoided by applying an appropriate waterproofing membrane to the bridge deck. “When choosing a waterproofing membrane for bridge decks, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. “Membranes need to be strong enough to protect the bridge deck from the harshest weather conditions at the location. Bridges are also constantly moving, therefore the membrane must also be flexible, in order to withstand traffic loads and accommodate cracks, while maintaining its bond to the bridge surface. “If it’s unable to withstand these pressures it can crack and peel, allowing moisture and chemicals, such as oil and

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petrol, to get through the membrane, which will lead to corrosion if ignored,” Mr Bauer said.

PROTECT YOUR ASSETS According to Mr Bauer, waterproofing membranes such as Hychem’s Polyac PMMA systems are ideal for protecting bridge decks. “Poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA, is the best fast curing concrete waterproofing system available. It’s rapid-curing, easy to apply and extremely durable. “It’s ideal for bridge decks as it’s suitable for harsh and cold climates, impervious to moisture, resistant to chemical attack and is UV stable. It’s also flexible and won’t crack when applied to unstable surfaces such as bridges.” First developed in Europe, PMMA has been used successfully to waterproof and protect bridge decks for many years on a variety of surfaces including concrete, wood, asphalt, old bituminous membranes and steel. “One of the main advantages of PMMA membranes is that they are fast-curing and have high reactivity, allowing for the application process to be completed at low temperatures, and with minimal downtime. With this technology, traffic doesn’t need to be disrupted for extended periods of time. Once applied, regular service can recommence within hours,” Mr Bauer said. BONDING TOGETHER PMMA also has bonding advantages over regular epoxies and polyurethanes when used on bridge decks. Regular epoxies and polyurethanes are unsuitable as waterproofing membranes on steel structures, as the coating is

unable to stay bonded to the steel and begins to delaminate. This process accelerates when there is excess moisture and extreme temperatures. When applied to concrete, bridge surfaces need to be properly prepared in order for the product to bond to the surface, which can be too time consuming and difficult to complete on structures such as bridge decks. “On the other hand, PMMA coatings chemically bond well to steel and concrete, which prevents delamination and gives them a long life expectancy. They can also be applied on unprepared surfaces, eliminating the need for aggressive mechanical preparation, such as diamond grinding, reducing downtime and making re-coating and maintenance quick and easy,” Mr Bauer said. “Once cured, PMMA membranes are seamless, highly durable, and resistant to heavy traffic and extreme temperatures.” PMMA products can also be customised to incorporate different properties such as impact and chemical resistance, and flame retardancy. “Our Polyac PMMA systems are versatile and can protect bridge decks from moisture and chemical attack, extending its life,” Mr Bauer said.

A DURABLE SOLUTION Hychem’s PMMA systems have been proven to provide long-lasting protection against deterioration of bridge decks and other infrastructure assets in the harshest of conditions.

For more information on Hychem, visit www.hychem.com.au, or call 02 4646 1660.

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ROAD

NEW INVESTMENT, NEW MODELS OF FUNDING THE WAY FORWARD by Philip Davies, Chief Executive Infrastructure Australia

As Australians, we are lucky to have access to world-class infrastructure that has supported two decades of uninterrupted economic growth and contributed to our enviable quality of life. But we are undergoing a period of profound change and in 15 years’ time, we will live in a very different nation to the one we see today.

In a user pays network, all revenue collected can be directed back into roads projects.

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he Australian Infrastructure Audit found that our population is expected to grow to over 30 million by 2031. During this period our four largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – will increase in population by 50 per cent. Our growing population represents a significant economic opportunity for Australia. It provides a larger domestic market for businesses, increases the size of the labour force, and facilitates the injection of new ideas. But it also puts additional pressure on infrastructure services that are already subject to high levels of demand. THE AUSTRALIAN INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN As the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor, Infrastructure Australia encourages governments to be more strategic about preparing for changes in infrastructure demand, and invest in the projects that deliver the best outcomes for our growing communities. In February 2016, we delivered the first 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan, which set out a clear pathway of reforms to address today’s infrastructure gaps and set us up to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The plan is a reform document based on substantial research and input from a broad range of stakeholders. It provides a roadmap to address our infrastructure gaps and ensure Australians have access to infrastructure that supports innovation and secures prosperity. Our recommendations include investing in technologies to make better use of existing infrastructure, overhauling the way we plan and select projects, and diversifying the pool of infrastructure funding.

BETTER USE OF EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE As a first step, Australian governments should increase funding for investments in projects and technologies that make better use of existing infrastructure. In practice, this means embracing technologies that drive greater efficiency across our infrastructure networks. Investing in technologies that allow operators to generate, collect and use data will be fundamental to driving real improvements in the efficiency of infrastructure service delivery. For example, intelligent transport systems can triple the utilisation of an asset through better management of the road network and the vehicles using it. On a section of the Monash Freeway in Melbourne, the installation of electronic signs to improve traffic flow and additional CCTV cameras has already helped increase capacity in each lane by close to 20 per cent. Similarly, across suburban and intercity rail networks, investing in automatic train control and signalling systems can improve efficiency and safety. By continuously monitoring the movements of trains on lines and at stations, these systems provide real-time data to central management systems. These technologies reduce the scope for human error, automatically detect faults and allow trains to travel at shorter intervals, enabling the safe scheduling of more frequent train services. Importantly, these relatively modest investments can deliver significant productivity gains and improvements in customer experience. While these initiatives generally do not alleviate the need for large-scale projects, smaller investments can complement or delay the need for larger investments.

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ROAD OVERHAULING THE WAY WE PLAN AND SELECT PROJECTS Beyond making better use of existing infrastructure, considered and well-thought-through infrastructure investment will be vital in managing Australia’s future population growth. Long-term infrastructure planning is needed to help governments better prepare for changes in demand, identify emerging issues and create investment certainty. But it must also go hand in hand with a robust process for selecting projects that deliver the best outcomes for infrastructure users. Our updated Infrastructure Priority List, released alongside the plan in February, provides a prioritised list of nationally significant investments and guidance to decision makers on where they should direct funding. Assessing projects for inclusion on the list involves interrogating the individual costs and benefits of a proposed investment to determine whether it has the potential to meet an identified infrastructure need. We also assess the project’s strategic fit, deliverability and economic, social and environmental impacts. This encourages more strategic consideration of infrastructure problems and the best way to address them. Reflecting a consensus of submissions from Australian governments and key stakeholders, the list advocates for new metro rail systems in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and an efficient in-land rail freight route. Nationally, the list also highlights the importance of protecting new corridors for ring roads around our capital cities and upgrading key freight routes. Urban renewal is another important focus, while integrated projects to support economic hotspots like Western Sydney are identified as priority initiatives. ADDRESSING THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING GAP While the Infrastructure Priority List

works to guide investment decisions on projects that represent the most productive use of our infrastructure funding, it is clear that current levels of expenditure will be insufficient to meet our long-term needs. Increasing budget pressures to fund health and welfare services means that Australia’s states and territories can no longer rely on taxpayer funds alone to meet infrastructure needs. Diversifying the pool of funding available for public infrastructure investment must therefore be a major priority. One of the key opportunities to do this, as identified in the Australian Infrastructure Plan, is changing our approach to how we pay for roads. Australians currently pay to use the road network through a combination of fuel excise (paid per litre of fuel purchased), vehicle registration charges and stamp duty. But this system is unfair, inefficient and increasingly unsustainable. Our current system for funding roads is unfair because the link between usage and charging is weak. Taxpayers currently subsidise all road users, meaning those who use the network less are in effect paying a subsidy to support those who use it most. The system is also inefficient because road users do not receive price signals to minimise their impact on other users and the broader network. The result is a network that is chronically congested for portions of the day, but with excess capacity across most of the 24-hour cycle. But the biggest problem with our current system of paying for roads is that it is simply unsustainable. Since its introduction over 100 years ago, fuel excise has been an effective way of paying for roads. However today, fuel excise raises less than half of what Australian governments, of all levels, spend on roads. This fall in revenue will accelerate over coming decades as we shift towards more fuel efficient vehicles, meaning we

will be collecting less from users while the costs to build and maintain road networks continues to grow.

A NEW APPROACH TO PAYING FOR ROADS Australia needs to introduce a new road user charging framework. Under a fairer user-pays system, all existing taxes would be removed and replaced with direct charging that reflects a driver’s consumption of the network, including the location, time and distance of travel, and the individual impacts of their vehicle. Importantly, under this model all revenue collected could be reinvested back into the road network. This differs from the current approach where taxes and charges are allocated to various government spending priorities – both in transport and other areas. Changing how we pay for roads will not be easy, but it will deliver improvements in network performance, address fairness issues and provide a sustainable source of funding for roads. Some motorists may be concerned about what these changes will mean for them. This is understandable, and it’s why an open discussion about these proposals is as important as the reform itself. Infrastructure Australia has recommended that the Australian Government initiates a public inquiry into the existing funding framework for roads and the development of a fairer road user charging reform pathway. The inquiry should be supported by large-scale voluntary trials of road user charging options. The good news is the pathway to reform is likely to stretch over the next decade, so we have the time to get things right.

You can read more about user pays in the Australian Infrastructure Plan at: www.infrastructureaustralia. gov.au

A user pays system is the fairest way of paying for our roads, says Philip Davies.

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i nt e l l i g e n t C O ns t r uc t i o n


OPINION

WE NEED BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE DECISIONS AND PLANNING by David Singleton, Chairman, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia

Leaders must think strategically about how to plan, fund and implement projects, says David Singleton. 32

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OPINION

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he pace at which urban development is happening across the world in the 21st century is intense. Highly concentrated demographic growth in cities is one of the greatest challenges that leaders face as they look to protect the future of their nations in the face of the global sustainability challenge. There are few easy answers to the question “What does it take to make cities better?” But many of the possible pathways to better cities are intrinsically linked to infrastructure provision. Cities that make wise infrastructure investments have proven success at meeting future economic, environmental and social needs. Improved understanding of the interactions between infrastructure provision, the needs and aspirations of the population served, and technology and sustainability both now and into the future is essential for our nation’s prosperity. In an Australian context, the combined population of Australia’s capital cities will grow by nearly 16 million by 2061, and the proportion of Australians living in a capital city will significantly increase – from 66 per cent in 2011 to 69.3 per cent in 2031, and 73.4 per cent in 2061. These “medium” projections suggest that the population of Melbourne will grow to 8.6 million by 2061, Sydney to 8.5 million, Perth to 5.5 million and Brisbane to 4.8 million. The implications of this population growth for urban infrastructure needs will be significant. As a consequence, Australia faces several difficult decades and must come to grips with a backlog of infrastructure investment that has been – and will continue to be – exacerbated by population growth, by increasing

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demand and by the impacts of climate change. Australia’s lack of transparency in infrastructure decision making has often led to inefficiency and community distrust, and has constrained informed debate about the implied trade-offs: which projects, service outcomes, priorities, funding, and so on. To get the greatest value from future infrastructure investments, leaders must think more strategically about how to plan, fund and implement these projects. This could include: • Creating platforms to engage the public in discussions about investment decisions • Creating greater transparency around spending • Incorporating environmental and social issues into decision-making • Partnering with the private sector to find new sources of funding and design ideas Robust infrastructure planning would allow industry to develop effective delivery plans and better workforce management, particularly in engineering. Economic, social and environmental benefits, such as jobs growth and creation, reduced demand through efficiency, equity of public and economic assets and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, will accrue as a result of the development of sustainable long-term infrastructure. Cooperation with communities and collaboration across sectors will result in speedier delivery of more successful high-quality infrastructure that accounts for the needs of all affected parties. Governments should develop a citizen jury approach for consulting with people, so that sound infrastructure decisions can be made.

When leaders take the time to learn from each other’s successes and failures, infrastructure challenges can be overcome. Achieving this will involve continuing to take advantage of the financial resources and innovation brought to the table by the private sector, as well as integrating community feedback into operations through ongoing engagement and stakeholder management. Together, these strategies will help leaders to transition our nation for the future and will ensure that our cities can attract the investment and global talent that can enable their economies to grow.

WHAT IS A CITIZEN JURY? Citizen juries involve the wider community in the decision-making process. Participants are engaged as citizens, with no formal alignments or allegiances, rather than experts. Citizen juries use a representative sample of citizens who are briefed in detail on the background and current thinking relating to a particular issue, and asked to discuss possible approaches. Citizen juries are intended to complement other forms of consultation rather than replace them. Citizens are asked to become jurors and make a judgement in the form of a report, as they would in legal juries. The issue they are asked to consider will be one that has an effect across the community and where a representative and democratic decision-making process is required. Citizen jurors are seen to bring an intrinsic worth in the good sense and wisdom born of their own knowledge and personal experience.

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OPINION

Queensland

IS DROPPING THE BALL

Steve Abson believes that governments lack a citizen focus when it comes to infrastructure, causing delays to major projects such as Brisbane’s critical Cross River Rail project.

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OPINION

ON INFRASTRUCTURE

by Steve Abson, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Association of Queensland

The current state of inertia on funding reforms and asset recycling is placing Queensland at grave risk of a return to eras past that saw unacceptable and ever-increasing backlogs in major infrastructure delivery.

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OPINION

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eptember saw the release of a BIS Shrapnel report and of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures highlighting the state’s dramatic decline in major project activity: a 52 per cent decrease in 2015/16 over the previous 12-month period. Investment in infrastructure, as a percentage of general government expenditure, has now declined to its lowest levels in more than a decade. And it’s set to remain there for at least the next four years. This serves to argue against the State Treasurer’s claim of the impressive nature of the 2016-2017 $10.7 billion capital program. This is a figure that can’t be taken at face value: the reality is that, with the exception of a handful of transport-related projects and the completion of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital committed to under the previous government, the majority of this year’s program is more accurately classifiable as sustaining capital, upgrades, minor works, maintenance and planning works. The inclusion in this $10.7 billion figure of significant amounts of sustaining capital for energy and water sector government-owned corporations (plus $1.032 billion in finance PPP payments and $1.370 billion in capital grants) further masks the actual portion of funding available for new, private sector-delivered infrastructure. In short, only a modest amount has been earmarked for the capital works needed to satisfy the state populace’s continuing demand for new priority infrastructure. A VOTE-SENSITIVE TOPIC The need for reforms remains central to the generation of greater revenue to invest back into infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s a complex and votesensitive subject that governments and political parties are persistent in shying away from. A visit to the website of the Council of

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Australian Governments (COAG) – the organisation where the three levels of the country’s governmental picture come together – is telling. The council’s “Infrastructure & Transport” page acknowledges the criticality of infrastructure investment in improving national productivity, referencing Productivity Commission estimates (from 2006) of the benefits of funding base reforms. As of 2016, however, words have been slow to find themselves translated into any real and measurable action. Glaringly omitted from the COAG commentary is one particularly important – and very fresh – document: the Australian Infrastructure Plan, released in February this year. This plan is the result of an exhaustive, two-year, national audit of Australian infrastructure. The Infrastructure Plan constitutes a deeply-researched, well thought-out and comprehensive series of recommendations for reforming the funding and operation of transport infrastructure, for completing the national electricity market, for improving the quality and competitiveness of the water sector, and for delivering a telecommunications market that responds to user demand. Indeed, Infrastructure Australia – some eight months after the document’s release – is still waiting for anything other than a bald acknowledgement of receipt by the Federal Government. One would have to ask if COAG and its representative governments: ♦♦ Are committed to the reformation of current infrastructure funding arrangements, adequately evidenced as not only necessary but overdue? ♦♦ Are even on the same page as the infrastructure investment and delivery sector/s? ♦♦ Are capable of having the conversations (including with the public) that are essential to determine the most effective way to approach funding reform?

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OPINION

TIME FOR BIPARTISAN, LONG-RANGE THINKING Underpinning this problem is, in turn, the persistent misalignment between Commonwealth, state and local governments in terms of the recognition for, and willingness to adopt, a productively bipartisan, long-range approach towards infrastructure funding. That is, one less concerned with the loss of votes and consequences upon the next election cycle, and more concerned with addressing a growing problem that will be bequeathed to forthcoming generations of Queenslanders if not addressed very soon. Currently, it appears governments are simply not sufficiently sophisticated and citizen-focused enough to work together in tackling a challenging issue – albeit one which is not insurmountable with the community properly informed and, to the degree that is realistic to expect, on side. Nothing illustrates this better than the agony of continued delay to Queensland’s number one infrastructure priority, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, due to insufficient funding (arguably solvable by the sale of a less critical state asset). Now languishing in its third incarnation in seven years, a materially scaled-down version awaits funding, which the Federal Government stipulates must come at least partially from application of the value capture concept. At the same time, however, this concept has met with accusations, from the Queensland opposition of “secret reports” and underhanded plans to slug developers and the public with additional taxes. It’s little wonder then, with this degree of misalignment within the same political party, that the public wallows in the depths of confusion over the options being debated by the powers that be for the future funding of their assets.

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CLEAR, CONTEXTUAL COMMUNICATION CRITICAL Aside from the necessity for political alignment and consistency, there is a basic need to communicate with the public in a manner it can understand. Reforms of this nature are sensitive matters; they have consequences, one way or another, to people’s everyday lives. At face value, the introduction of a new levy, tax or user charge doesn’t ring with resounding appeal to Joe or Jane Public. Thus, the conversation is one that must be had in terms to which the average citizen can relate. To the public, it’s a conversation about queuing for the bus, getting stuck for an hour in traffic, and the ability to pay utility bills. Not GDP and macroeconomics. If the public’s support is required – and it is – then the public needs to understand the issues, as do the many and varied interest groups that can stand in the way of progress if they’re not on side or at least responsibly informed. Experience from relevant Australian jurisdictions indicates that when the public has the matter explained in terms it can relate to, vast numbers of the citizenry not only support this type of reform, they often demand an explanation as to why sluggish politicians have sat on their hands for so long. The asset recycling, debt reduction and reinvestment program in New South Wales is a case in point. Authorities and political parties can’t, however, initiate this type of productive communication in the absence of leadership alignment and mature, solutions-based communication between the levels of government, supported by a coherent and consistent policy. Without this, the status quo will persist: poor public consultation, a headin-the-sand mentality and/or Mexican stand-offs between the Commonwealth and state governments (based on illthought-out election promises), emotive grandstanding by politicians – and near total inertia on reform.

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SUSTAINABILITY // PARTNER SOLUTIONS

T HOW CAN AUSTRALIAN CITIES BE MORE SUSTAINABLE?

In the recently released Sustainable Cities Index, a ranking of the world’s leading cities, not one Australian city made the top ten. Under the index, cities were ranked on the concepts of people, planet and profit – and it’s clear that Australia has more to learn about becoming a sustainable leader.

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he Sustainable Cities Index, compiled by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for global design and consultancy firm Arcadis, judged cities from around the world on three sustainability categories: people, planet and profit. People rates the city on health, education, income inequality, crime, housing affordability, work-life balance and living costs. Planet is based on energy consumption, use of renewables, emissions, drinking water, air pollution and sanitation. Profit refers to transport infrastructure, tourism, GDP per capita, mobile and broadband access, and employment rates. Out of 100 cities around the world, four Australian cities made the list including Canberra (18th), Sydney (21st), Brisbane (30th) and Melbourne (32nd). Sydney did rank 8th in the world in the planet category, but overall, the title of most sustainable city in the world for 2016 went to Zurich in Switzerland. Seoul was named most sustainable in the people category, Zurich was number one for planet and Singapore came out on the top for profit. Cities all around the globe are currently facing challenges relating to an increasing population and urbanisation, both of which put pressure on infrastructure. Combined with climate change, maintaining asset performance and companies competing for investment, it can be hard for cities to strive for sustainability. Arcadis CEO Australia Pacific, Greg Steele, said that while the Sustainable Cities Index highlights that parts of Australia do operate sustainably, there are still things Australian cities can be doing to plan for a sustainable future. “Australia performed relatively well overall but further examination of our cities rankings across the three pillars shows there is room for improvement,” Mr Steele said. “Cities like Seoul, Zurich and Singapore reveal areas Australia can develop in order to build a sustainable future for its cities. True sustainability is about more than just environmental footprint, issues such as an ageing population and the urban sprawl of geographically large cities require long-range, integrated planning in order to keep pace with international sustainability standards.” Mr Steele said one of the things that sets Zurich apart from other cities is its highly coordinated network of public transport options, which is something that Australia should replicate. “By comparison, Australian cities are characterised by ‘radial’ networks, meaning people need to go to the city centre then go back out to adjacent communities. Combined with fewer, less frequent transport options, it’s no wonder a significant number of the population still choose to drive,” Mr Steele said. The Sustainable Cities Index also highlighted Australia’s preference for low-density living, which has the potential to inhibit housing affordability, access to services and even work-life balance. Mr Steele said Australian cities averaged 67 per cent for work-life balance, 44 per cent for affordability, and 60 per cent for transport infrastructure. “Finding a comfortable ‘liveable density’ makes factors such as transport, waste management and connectivity easier to improve, increasing the overall quality of life in cities. Importantly though, planning for the quality of infrastructure is critical to make this work,” Mr Steele said. “Overall, we know that Australia tends to lag in planning for the longer term. Key to developing more sustainable cities will be working in close consultation with all elements of a community, and future planning to ensure we not only meet current demand, but can readily adapt to future needs.” www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


CONSTRUCTION // PARTNER SOLUTIONS

NSW STATE BUDGET INVESTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE Now debt-free and expecting a significant surplus in the upcoming financial year, the New South Wales Government was in a strong position to invest $16.9 billion in transport and road infrastructure in the 2016-17 state budget, which includes funding for the Sydney Metro rail project and the WestConnex motorway.

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ew South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, said the budget was focused on delivering a large-scale infrastructure program that would transform the state’s transportation. “Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards,” Mr Constance said. RAIL AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT The NSW budget has committed $2.7 billion funding for Sydney Metro, a modern rail network that will be capable of handling a train through the CBD in each direction every two minutes with an additional 100,000 passengers during peak hour. The Sydney Metro funding includes $1.3 billion for the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest, a 23km network extending from Epping to beyond Rouse Hill in Sydney’s North West that is expected to open in 2019. Around $1.4 billion will be spent on the second stage of the project, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, which includes a second harbour rail crossing and extends the rail network to the west. The CBD and South East Light Rail project will be allocated $1.9 billion, while plans for the Parramatta Light Rail and the Newcastle Light Rail project will receive $64 million and $142 million respectively. Vermeer National Construction Equipment Sales Manager, Jeff Lawson, said a recent Infrastructure Australia report listed a high-capacity metro system to combat congestion in Sydney as a national priority. “With Sydney Metro and other key rail projects, this budget has made significant progress towards ensuring current and future public transportation requirements are delivered in NSW.” www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

MOTORWAYS The NSW budget will also fund significant road projects, with WestConnex being the state government’s highest priority. The three-stage road project will widen, extend and join the M4 and M5 together to create a continuous motorway that also connects Sydney’s north and south. The 2016-17 budget sees stage 1 and 2 of the project each receive over $1 billion in funding, with $65 million also allocated for stage 3 preliminary works. $560 million will go towards the part-privately funded $3 billion NorthConnex project, a nine-kilometre tunnel motorway linking the M1 and M2 motorways. In Western Sydney, $1.8 billion will be invested in road infrastructure supporting the development of Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek. $313.4 million will be invested to upgrade the Princes Highway, including the $950 million Woolgoolga to Ballina project.

Mr Lawson said the government’s investment in road infrastructure was a positive step and that WestConnex would help alleviate congestion problems in Sydney. “The construction of the motorway alone should bring around 10,000 jobs, which will have a great impact on local businesses. “This type of construction typically involves a great deal of excavation in areas of intense utility congestion, necessitating the use of non-destructive and trenchless excavation technologies like vacuum excavation and horizontal directional drilling. “Vermeer is looking forward to our involvement in the NSW infrastructure projects over the coming financial year and beyond.”


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RAIL

REMOVING CROSSINGS REMOVES BARRIERS

TO GROWTH

by Jacinta Allan, Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects

In Victoria, the state government is undertaking one of the country’s most ambitious upgrades to an inner city rail network, removing 50 of Victoria’s worst level crossings to reduce congestion, improve public transport and save lives. www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

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here are hundreds of level crossings across Victoria – on major streets, local roads and country tracks across the state. The most congested and dangerous of these crossings are in Melbourne, and every day they cause frustration, disruption and delay for hundreds of thousands of motorists. Boom gates at some locations are down for more than 80 minutes between 7:00am and 9:00am – effectively closing the road for three quarters of the morning peak. Removing them will reduce congestion on local roads and create space to run more trains on our rail network. It will also save lives. There have been two tragic deaths, three accidents and nearly 80 recorded near misses at the level crossings in St Albans in Melbourne’s west in just ten years. They are dangerous, congested and we’re not wasting a moment getting rid of them. Six level crossings are already gone, construction has begun on a further 13 and next year four will get underway. In the past ten years only seven level crossings have been removed in Victoria. By the end of our first term in government, 37 level crossing

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removals will be finished or underway, with 50 gone by 2022. The best way to remove a level crossing varies from site to site, depending on a range of factors including ground conditions, the nature of the land use around the site, and community feedback. In some locations – like Bentleigh, McKinnon and Ormond in Melbourne’s inner south east – the best solution was to lower the rail line under road. In others, like the nine level crossings on the CranbournePakenham line between Caulfield and Dandenong in Melbourne’s east, elevating the rail line is the most practical solution, and delivers the greatest benefits for motorists, passengers and the local community. At Melton Highway in Melbourne’s north, we will build a road bridge over the rail line to separate trains from trucks and cars and get people home safer and sooner. At each site, we’re listening to the experts and the community to determine the best solution. One of the added benefits of this multi-billion project is the new stations it will deliver. Many level crossings are next to train stations. Lowering or raising the train line often means the existing station needs to

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RAIL

be rebuilt – so platforms meet trains. Rebuilding a station is a major project in itself, and makes it safer, easier and quicker to catch the train – beyond the benefits of removing the level crossing. Wherever possible, we are looking for ways to add scope to the project to improve services. As part of the Kororoit Creek Road level crossing removal we will also duplicate part of the Altona loop – improving the reliability of train services from Melbourne’s west. A notorious section of single track on the Hurstbridge line in Heidelberg is also being duplicated while we remove the dangerous crossings at Grange Road and Lower Plenty Road and run more services. And as part of the removal of every level crossing between Dandenong and the city, we will create and maintain 11 MCGs worth of new parks and community open space created by elevating the line. These additional investments will make communities safer, trains more reliable and roads less congested. But it’s not just about transport – it’s also about jobs and opportunities for Victorians. The project has already employed thousands of people

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directly, and supporting thousands more across the supply chain – and construction is yet to start on more than half the crossings. The government’s Victorian Industry Participation Policy sets benchmarks for local content and employment, ensuring major public infrastructure projects like level crossing removals support local industry and local jobs. Our Major Projects Skills Guarantee ensures they also provide opportunities for young workers and those looking to re-skill. It mandates that at least 10 per cent of the work carried out on Victoria’s major projects must be undertaken by apprentices, trainees or engineering cadets. It ensures the next generation get the experience and opportunities they need, while we deliver the infrastructure Victoria needs. The Level Crossing Removal Project is one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Victoria. It’s reducing congestion, improving public transport, increasing safety and creating jobs – and it’s fully funded and happening right now.

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RAIL

EFFECTIVELY

LAND DEVELOPMENT

by Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

Delivering future transport projects, particularly rail, calls for new models of funding – governments need to attract private investment by highlighting the opportunities to create value by developing the land around new developments. 44

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INTEGRATING

AND TRANSPORT

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have spent most of my academic life trying to see how transport infrastructure can be better integrated with urban land development – after all, infrastructure is meant to make our cities better. However, I kept being drawn into major policy fights over freeways ruining www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

urban areas or public transport being built without the kind of dense land use that planners were hoping for. How can we integrate land development and transport more effectively? It has taken me a long while, but I now see that the answer is private sector investment in

transport infrastructure. There are many reasons why private investment has been increasing in infrastructure: governments just don’t have the money is the main one suggested. However, I think that even if governments had the money, private investment would still be a better idea, as the private sector

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RAIL do land development – and that is how we can actually enable integration to happen.

BRINGING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE TOGETHER The way it would work is that the government chooses the corridor they want to upgrade for infrastructure and calls for Expressions of Interest from consortia who can provide the expertise and finance to build, own, operate and fund the infrastructure through land development (and fares or fees). This can be a rail project (heavy rail or light rail), a bus rapid transit (BRT), or a toll-based highway. Transport infrastructure raises the value of land if it can enable residential, commercial or industrial land uses to be unlocked because of their new accessibility benefits. This would need to be assessed by the consortia to work out what it is they would be able to provide as the best way to unlock the value. This model is value creation, not value capture, as government would not need to manage the process. It is in fact how railways, trams and even toll roads were first constructed – they enabled cities to be built beyond the historic old walking city limits of activity. If the corridor is in a central or inner city area, it is much more likely that a rail project and dense transit-oriented development is the preferred solution, as the project would need all the land it could save in order to provide parking, and the rights of way would be quite narrow. Most value creation is done with rail, as in Hong Kong and Japan, as well as the new Brightline railway in Florida. When the space requirements are lower, and where the potential money generated from redevelopment after land value uplift is not as great as in inner city areas, then a BRT makes sense. The land value uplift from BRTs appears to be less than rail, because the system is noisier, less space efficient and carries less people. But it may be appropriate for some corridors. In the outer part of a city, there are commercial and industrial land development opportunities that need trucks rather than just cars, so a freight-based tollway, with cars as supplementary, becomes possible to manage through this value creation model. Again, there are fewer examples, as the land value relationship is more complex, and indeed many cities have

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been providing such infrastructure from government revenue. As that source dries up, this model will be pursued more actively.

CREATING PARTNERSHIPS The main issue in creating this entrepreneurial approach to infrastructure provision is how to generate a partnership-based process between the three tiers of government and the consortia delivering projects. Government is needed to facilitate the process, to enable land assembly at various parts of the corridor to unlock land development potential, to ensure communities are engaged in productive and sensible dialogue to get the common good benefits, and to ensure the infrastructure is fully integrated into the rest of the public system. The Smart Cities Summit, held by the Turnbull Government in April 2016, outlined the start of a process that could enable such projects. They want the three tiers of government to agree on city deals that set out how such projects could be of fundamental benefit to the city – not just providing transport from A to B, but unlocking land development that is fully integrated into the infrastructure. Good city deals are likely to get significant help from government powers and people, as well as potential assistance with the bidding process. This is an historic point in infrastructure planning. Many transport agencies will not like the messy partnerships and land development orientation that is required in this model. However, they may not have much choice as government funds are limited, and the reality is that many transport projects are just not achieving the land development integration so necessary to their original benefit-cost planning. We need to recognise that there is a great benefit in taking transport infrastructure off welfare. Certainly the market is there, but it is only going to be fully grasped and put back into the infrastructure provision if it is a truly public private partnership based around land development.

Peter Newman is a Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and a former Board Member of Infrastructure Australia. He explores the issue of value creation in rail projects further in the paper Entrepreneur Rail Model, which can be viewed online at www.curtin.edu.au/research/cusp/local/docs/Rail_Model_Report.pdf

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AIRPORT

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t’s not just the development of the airport as a singular piece of infrastructure that will catapult Sydney into this successful global city grouping. While the airport does have the potential to be a significant economic enabler, now that it’s going ahead we need to focus on the bigger picture in terms of what supporting infrastructure, transport, amenities and governance are needed to make it a success – and create a coordinated approach to delivering them. The global cities that have been successful in leveraging multiple airports

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WILL

for broad-based economic development – and there are some that have not – have much more in common than just an airport. So what else does Sydney need to consider to ensure that the Western Sydney Airport is not just a working airport but an economic driver for both Western Sydney and NSW as a whole? And what needs to happen to allow Sydney to truly count itself among the successful multiple airport global cities? When thinking about the impact and potential of the Western Sydney Airport, there needs to be clear insight

into the political, socio-economic and environmental issues, both current and future, surrounding the airport, as well as a robust comprehension of how it connects to the rest of the city. Successful airports are nodes, not just for the spread of tourists and business travellers, but they collapse time and space in a way that connects their home region to a world of innovation, investment, goods and services. Western Sydney has long suffered a jobs deficit, with Deloitte’s Shaping Future Cities: Designing Western Sydney blueprint indicating that around

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SYDNEY BE A

SUCCESSFUL MULTI-AIRPORT CITY? by Theo Psychogios, Deloitte Access Economics Partner, Deloitte Western Sydney

With the forthcoming development of Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, Sydney will soon be joining the ranks of other thriving global cities who have adopted a successful multiple airport strategy. Or will it?

300,000 people commute east every day for work. While Western Sydney has been playing infrastructure catch up for several decades, significant efforts are now being made, both by the NSW Government and through private investment, to address this issue by leveraging the region’s competitive economic advantages and attracting more knowledge jobs to the west. Western Sydney Airport has the potential to plug the one in ten Australians living in the region directly into the frontiers of the global economy, but only if it is well connected with the

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region around it, both in terms of travel time and transport modes, including private, pool and commercial vehicles, rail, bus and freight connectivity. The rapid but high cost to weight ratio of air transportation makes air travel (in comparison to other forms of longdistance transportation) particularly useful in the transfer of anything that is fast moving, high value and low weight, such as ideas and knowledge transfer. A previous Deloitte study found a Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek would create over 30,000 jobs and $15 billion in economic output

by 2050. However, a north-south and east-west rail connection to Western Sydney Airport would catalyse further job generation on top of the identified 30,000 jobs. Rail links will open up connectivity to broader employment markets in the north west and south west of Sydney. As Western Sydney’s population passes the four million mark, people will demand higher order jobs closer to their place of residence. Western Sydney is already home to burgeoning industries, including advanced manufacturing, tourism and agribusiness, as well as some of the

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AIRPORT largest and most successful health and education precincts (HEPs) in Australia – with a new Westmead Innovation District also on the agenda. Planning for the airport must not be a separate exercise to planning for the future of Western Sydney. It will be critical to consider the existing potential of Western Sydney and the impact of the efforts underway to reduce the jobs deficit as well as the wider impact of the airport and airline operations on surrounding local businesses and industry. Airports are magnets for business and trade. They can play a major role in the location of corporate and regional headquarters, service companies and research and development facilities, and are critical to attracting conventions and trade shows. To create an environment in which people not only want to work and transit through, but also live and spend their leisure time, you need amenities – housing, educational institutions, cafes, restaurants, gyms, child care centres - and the place-making that ensures these amenities are attractive. The Western Sydney Airport is currently being designed as a secondary airport to handle local overflow from Sydney Airport, with the intention of not affecting the existing airport’s forward looking capabilities or opportunities to expand. But what does this mean for the potential of the new airport? Has it already been condemned to simply being Sydney’s “second airport”? Condemning Western Sydney’s “first airport” to this future may be premature, particularly given the paucity of analysis about how the new airport may reshape Sydney’s future economy and the role it will play in facilitating international trade and passenger movements through Australia’s largest growth economy. Given the choice, a domestic airline passenger will always choose the most conveniently located or easily accessible airport for their journey, with the less connected airport remaining unused. In the 2015 Top 10 global airport rankings, as voted by customers and compiled by Skytrax, not one US airport was featured. Perhaps it’s not surprising when you consider that of all US airports located farthest from capital cities, only two are connected by rail. We can also learn from the

(surprisingly frequent) failure of many second airports around the world, including Mirabel airport in Montreal. Mirabel was designed as the gateway to Canada for the Olympic Games around 40 years ago, but it now sits decaying and awaiting demolition. This can be attributed to a lack of economic foresight and planning, in particular, around capturing passenger traffic and connecting the airport to ancillary infrastructure – including a lack of transport links to the city’s business centre. International examples have demonstrated that in a major city with two or more airports, agribusiness and logistics and distribution are the key industries that have the potential to be unleashed by a well-planned airport. For example, the new Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba in Queensland has been a revelation for nearby farmers who, in 2015, started exporting high-value chilled Australian beef direct from the Darling Downs to Chinese dinner plates via air. Fully functional business precincts, triggered by catalyst projects in the retail, education, health and hospitality sectors, are also examples of sectors that are benefitting in multi-airport cities. With this in mind, planned future transport projects will be a critical component of establishing the land use planning foundations which will attract private investment to Western Sydney. The Western Sydney airport cannot solely be built as an overflow airport, with minimal supporting infrastructure and amenities making it an unattractive option for passengers. Sydney has a volume of local traffic large enough to support two airports and it should be planned that way. Similar to successful multi-airport cities, including Chicago, Dallas and Houston, Sydney’s airports need to focus on and support the needs of different market segments, making them both competitive yet complementary. To support this, and to make Western Sydney Airport an airport of choice, and not simply the last choice, it requires a transport network that efficiently serves local, city-bound and connecting flight passengers. A high-quality, networked transport system is a prerequisite for sustained

Theo Psychogios. economic growth and for maintaining competitiveness. This is especially true when depositing or drawing a large number of people to one location. Sydney’s public transport system was originally designed as a series of radially oriented rail lines emanating from Central Station. However, with the increasing number of people arriving in and departing from Western Sydney via the airport, together with the planned jobs growth, Western Sydney will need an orbital rail system offering fast, efficient connections, creating a network of cities and enabling Sydney to become truly polycentric. Policy makers and planners cannot understate the importance of understanding local needs and establishing a long term vision for what the airport can do for the surrounding region. Moreover, with the airport being a federal government initiative and supporting infrastructure primarily the responsibility of the state government, coordination of both strategy and delivery between tiers of government will be vital. Such a significant piece of infrastructure cannot be developed in isolation and must integrate its future with the economic and demographic prospects of the surrounding area. With Western Sydney booming, the airport has the potential to cement the region’s role as the engine room of the NSW economy and establish Sydney as a truly polycentric city. But in order to realise this potential, we must plan with foresight, collaboration and the ambition to ensure Western Sydney Airport is more than just Sydney’s ‘second airport’, when in fact it is Western Sydney’s first.

Shaping Future Cities: Designing Western Sydney http://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/future-of-cities/articles/designing-western-sydney.html 2 Economic impact of a Western Sydney Airport http://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/economics/articles/economic-impact-western-sydney-airport.htmL 1

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AIRPORT

by Bruce Byron, Independent Aviation Consultant

Aviation expert Bruce Byron highlights the constant evolution of airport safety standards, and argues that risk assessment must be a continuous process.

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he vast majority of Australian airports can trace their origins back to the decades of aviation activity in the first half of last century. In those days, airports were built on existing cleared farm land relatively close to the edges of existing urban development. Up until the 1960s, air travel was characterised by a certain amount of risk that was focused on the airport itself. Essentially, if an aircraft was going to crash, there was a good chance it would occur during takeoff or landing. Although planners probably took possible aviation growth into account, the realities of accidents meant most airports were allocated much more land than was required for supporting infrastructure and the business of getting airborne and back down again. In today’s environment of population growth, expanding urban boundaries and relative economic bounty, it was inevitable that pressure would mount for other uses of all that airport land. This is particularly the case for most of the leased federal airports adjacent to our largest urban centres. Unlike some decades ago when you only went to an airport to go somewhere or marvel at some new jet airliner, you can now go to an airport to visit a warehouse, office complex or shopping centre. You can even park your kid at a childcare centre on airport turf. But as those in the airport business know, you can’t build anything you like at an airport. Fortunately, apart from local planning requirements, new structures need to leave some room for the aircraft. Runways are protected from encroaching development by defined runway strips that extend up to 150 metres laterally from the runway centreline. Further out from the runway, and off extended centrelines, there are imaginary surfaces that slope up from the runway above which structures should not penetrate. All these defined limits are the standards that are imposed through legislation designed to protect aircraft and the 150 million passengers who take-off or land at an Australian airport every year. But the reality is that these standards are based on what was considered safe in the past. Like the technology that drives new aircraft development, these standards have evolved, and will continue to evolve, over time based on past experience. A bad outcome in aviation may well lead to a change in a standard, which may mean a change to possible infrastructure location and height. In many ways, the aviation industry hasn’t been good at predicting future risks and has relied on a purely reactive approach. A good example of this is the type of accident known as controlled flight into terrain. Although aircraft had occasionally been hitting hills for decades, the development of larger high speed jet aircraft being involved in this type of accident wasn’t anticipated to be the major problem that the statistics proved by the 1990s. As a result, major regulators, accident investigators and manufacturers put the issue in the spotlight. The result? Predictive terrain database avionic equipment fitted to all airline aircraft that has largely eliminated this type of accident over 20 years. This type of solution to one part the aviation system – aircraft equipment – has minimal impact of other parts of the system. There is increased cost of course, but there is no need to change aviation infrastructure as a result of this type of fix and associated imposed regulatory standard. But fixes to safety standards around airports are going to have knock-on effects. Although runway related accidents have always occurred, www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

accidents on airports, particularly runway excursions, are now shown to be one of the top five airline safety issues. This type of accident, notably the runway over-run, has been receiving increasing attention from leading aviation safety organisations, led by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Although runways have required a safety buffer of 60m at each end for decades, awareness of this type of accident led to a regulatory requirement for an additional Runway End Safety Area (RESA) of 90m some years ago. Despite the additional imposed standard, this type of accident didn’t go away, leading ICAO to recommend a RESA of 240m, in addition to the original 60m clearway. The US Federal Aviation Administration has moved to impose this recommendation as a firm standard only recently, although if the space is clearly not available the provision of a reduced length Engineered Materials Arresting System may be approved. This is a good example of a standard that seemed a good idea at the time being changed in response to real events. For an airport operator, this type of change to a standard is not quarantined to just one part of the aviation system. Clearly an increased RESA requirement may impact on existing or planned infrastructure development that, although considered ‘safe’ last year, may not be so next year. In the same way, it is possible that other defined airport safety parameters, such as obstacle surfaces, may be subject to imposed regulatory change if dictated by aircraft safety performance. The best way of minimising the impact of possible future changes is by taking a predictive approach when looking at hazards and associated risks of planned development at a particular airport. It sounds like extra effort and cost, but in fact such processes are required as part of an airport’s safety management system (SMS) that has been required at certified aerodromes for a decade. Although the safety standards detailed in regulations are designed to provide a safe outcome, they may be excessive – or inadequate – for a particular location. In the same way that mandating crash helmets for riders of quad bikes in agricultural operations didn’t address the risk to riders at commercial salmon farms who accidentally drove into a pond, risks are best assessed by looking at individual circumstances. Assessment of local terrain, water courses, existing development, prevailing winds and the performance characteristics of aircraft that use the airport will best define the hazards and associated risks. It’s called a risk assessment and should be the bread and butter of any good SMS. In the best case, it may provide the basis for a particular development. In the worst case, a development that proved to present an unacceptable hazard may indicate that an airport operator has not exercised the appropriate care and diligence that is also required under safety legislation.

Bruce Byron has held senior operational management and safety positions in three Australian airlines and spent over five years as Chairman and CEO of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. He currently provides consulting services to the aviation industry.

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BUILDING THE MOST EFFICIENT

RUNWAY SYSTEM

IN THE COUNTRY

Brisbane Airport’s New Parallel Runway is the largest aviation infrastructure project currently under construction in Australia. The $1.4 billion project commenced in 2012, and with Phase 1 of the project now complete, we spoke to Project Director Paul Coughlan to gain an insight into one of the toughest engineering assignments in the country.

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risbane Airport is Queensland's premier gateway, with more than 22.5 million passengers using the facility in FY16. Annual passenger numbers are expected to reach more than 50 million by 2034, and to accommodate this growth, Brisbane Airport needs to increase its runway capacity. The need for a second parallel runway was identified more than 30 years ago, and the footprint for it has appeared in Brisbane street directories for several decades. Our current runway system has almost reached capacity for a number of hours each day, and the new runway will double the airport’s capacity – allowing Brisbane Airport Corporation to manage air travel growth for decades to come. The New Parallel Runway (NPR) project involves constructing a 3,300-metre runway system located two kilometres west of and parallel to the existing runway. The NPR is the biggest aviation project under construction in Australia, and when complete will give Brisbane the most efficient runway system in the country. The NPR will help to ensure the continued economic strength of the rapidly growing South East Queensland region, providing the essential public infrastructure needed to respond to population growth and to underpin future commercial prosperity for the community. The new runway is the centrepiece of $3.8 billion worth of capacity-related infrastructure (including redevelopment of both the International and Domestic terminals) planned for the airport over the next decade. It has been estimated that this investment will add billions of dollars to the region’s economy and generate tens of thousands of jobs over the next two decades. SOILS AIN’T SOILS The project delivery team has just completed the Phase 1 civil works and reclamation for the NPR, which commenced in September 2012. Works included drainage, clearing works, adjustments to the 14/32 runway, and pumping of 11 million cubic metres of sand onto the site. Paul Coughlan, Project Director of the NPR, said the first phase of works, which took almost four years, was focused on addressing the extremely soft ground conditions on site, and developing the surface required to withstand the weight of some of the biggest airplanes in the world.

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“The very poor soils on site – we have deep alluvial channels, in excess of 30 metres, running through the site – presented significant engineering challenges, with the design of the reclamation to take out primary settlement, as well as managing ongoing differential settlement for a number of years after the runway opens,” said Mr Coughlan. “Our geotechnical engineering consultant, Golder Associates, has many years of experience in dealing with very soft alluvial soils including at Brisbane Airport. We invested the time and resources in undertaking an extensive ground investigation program. By having really good knowledge of the ground that we are building on, it greatly assisted us and our design consultants to determine the optimal reclamation strategy, and in the design of the aircraft pavements and the associated runway infrastructure.” Dealing with such soft ground conditions – described as having the consistency of toothpaste – resulted in a number of flow-on effects that required their own unique engineering solutions. “Determining an economical way to undertake the dredging reclamation contract was also challenging,” said Mr Coughlan. “We knew that we needed a very large dredge vessel to pump the distances required – between 5km and 8km. This required us to secure a pipeline corridor through a large sewerage treatment plant (off airport), as well as across the existing Brisbane Airport airfield. We also needed to make sure that the dredge could operate with minimal disruption to port operations.” While achieving these significant engineering feats, Mr Coughlan and his team also had to ensure that construction activities didn’t disrupt airport operations, airport tenants or passengers travelling to and from the airport. Ensuring that there were no detrimental environmental impacts was also a key consideration. “And with such a challenging project, developing the workforce to carry out the works is a significant task within itself,” added Mr Coughlan.

SHARING KNOWLEDGE According to Mr Coughlan, the benefit to the broader engineering community of undertaking a project such as this, with a complex and multi-staged delivery schedule, cannot be understated.

“The knowledge that we are obtaining through designing and constructing such a significant infrastructure project is really important, not just for airport engineering, but for other projects dealing with very soft soils, such as ports,” noted Mr Coughlan. “In terms of the airfield design, the construction of a major new runway such as Brisbane’s NPR is not a regular event across the world, and certainly not in Australia. The knowledge we are gaining with our project will be invaluable for the other runways that are being planned in the future at other airports.” Worthy of note for future airport construction projects is the structured manner in which the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has approached the design and delivery of the new runway. “We have developed a highly regarded reputation with government, airlines, Airservices and CASA for how well we have engaged with them to ensure that what we deliver meets the aviation industry needs going forward,” said Mr Coughlan. “BAC also has put a lot of effort in making sure the community and stakeholders are kept informed of what we are doing and why. There are many things that we have done, and are doing, that will assist other airport authorities, both in Australia and overseas, when planning similar large infrastructure projects.”

A CRITICAL PIECE OF INFRASTRUCTURE Brisbane Airport is a key driver in Queensland’s and the national economy, and according to Mr Coughlan, the NPR will cement the role this critical piece of national infrastructure plays. The wider contribution Brisbane Airport made to the Australian economy in 2012/13 has been assessed at $5.3 billion, and this figure is expected to grow to $13.4 billion by 2034. Brisbane Airport currently accommodates 29 airlines flying to 76 international and domestic destinations. A suburb in its own right, around 420 businesses are located onsite servicing a diverse range of industries offering services such as freight and aircraft handling, warehousing, transport and communications, manufacturing, research, property and infrastructure development, education and training, recreation, tourism, accommodation, leisure and retail. Collectively, these businesses employ more than 21,000 www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


AIRPORT people, a number expected to exceed 50,000 (the size of a regional town) by 2029. With expectation for the NPR to create a further 2,700 jobs at the peak of construction, Brisbane Airport is expected to support more than 88,000 jobs Australia wide by the year 2033/34. With passenger numbers expected to grow to around 50 million per annum by 2035, the NPR is an essential piece of infrastructure to cater for this demand.

Left. Paul Coughlan. Below: Phase 1 of the project was focused on developing the surface required to withstand the weight of some of the biggest airplanes in the world.

BUSINESS AS USUAL While there’s still another four years before the NPR becomes operational, Mr Coughlan said that when it is up and running, the travelling public won’t notice too many changes. “They will still travel to the same terminals, and their flight will be assigned to a runway depending on where they are travelling to or arriving from,” said Mr Coughlan. “If you are arriving or departing from northern or western airports, your aircraft will be on the new runway. For the other origins and destinations, your flight will be on the existing main runway. “Having two runways will certainly improve efficiencies for the airlines and there will be very minimal flight holdings in the air as pilots won’t need to wait for a landing slot.” For now, the attention of Mr Coughlan and his delivery team turns to Phase 2 of the project, the pavement and airfield construction, which is now underway. “I have a fantastic team and it has been so rewarding to see how they have faced up to the challenges so well and developed such skill sets,” said Mr Coughlan. “I have also personally enjoyed working with our many consultants, contractors, airlines and government agencies. “Designing and building new runways is rare and I feel privileged that BAC has put its trust in me to lead our team to deliver this $1.4 billion project. As an engineer, it really brings home why I became an engineer – to take on challenges and deliver projects that will benefit this great country of ours.”

In the next issue of Infrastructure, we’ll take a closer look at the works being undertaken during Phase 2 of the project as we interview a several Project Managers involved in bringing the project to life. www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

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UPGRADING AUSTRALIA’S

REGIONAL AIRPORTS 58

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Following a transition from local government to private ownership and the appointment of a new CEO, the Port Hedland International Airport in Western Australia’s north is aiming to become the country’s best regional airport. Here’s how CEO and Managing Director, Mitchell Cameron, plans to do it.

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ince the PHIA Group took over ownership of the Port Hedland International Airport from the local government in March 2016, there has been a number of changes. The airport has hired a new team, formed a Port Hedland International Airport Community Liaison Group, procured new contractors, updated its website and marketing, and has now commenced the first phase of the Capital Project upgrades. REGIONAL CHALLENGES New CEO Mitchell Cameron, who commenced in the top job in February 2016, is one of the driving forces behind these improvements, but he said they haven’t come without challenges. “The airport was transitioned from local government ownership to provide a better focus on core business. Commencing with an operational review resulted in streamlining systems, and a refocus of operations to provide improved safety and customer experience, to name just two outcomes. Continual improvement is the ongoing target,” Mr Cameron said. Mr Cameron said one of the challenges associated with the airport’s location has been the transition from construction to operation in Western Australia’s mining areas, and the effect this has had on the economy and the number of people travelling in the region. “While many have reported this change to be new news, it was well known that the construction phase would require more workers than operational activity. The issue has partly been that many had hoped the so called boom would continue and it seems some might have got their timing wrong,” Mr Cameron said. “Port Hedland International Airport is the only airport north of Perth to fly to interstate and international destinations. My task is to supplement our current passenger numbers. Put in simple terms, we need to fill the planes to keep them flying. The strategy is therefore to

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engage the enlarged Pilbara catchment area so more people utilise PHIA as their airport of choice.”

SWITCHING VIEWS ON AIR TRAVEL This push to change the thinking around air travel in Western Australia and the Pilbara region is the main focus for Mr Cameron moving forward and was one of the things that initially attracted him to the role. It’s also the motivation behind upcoming infrastructure upgrades at the airport. “The opportunity to grow the only international and nationally connected airport north of Perth was the key attraction. That idea has been developed into a campaign to drive an increase in passenger numbers. The initial campaign asks the question, "Where can you fly from Port Hedland International Airport on a Saturday?" “It’s quicker to fly from PHIA to Asia than it is to fly down to Perth then Asia, not to mention the fact that if you are actually wanting to fly to Asia, you have to fly back over PHIA – it does not make sense. Our Pilbara promotions have therefore been centred around this time saving benefit. “In addition, we have committed to spending $40 million on capital works by March 2021. Airport capital works should always start from the income earning assets – that is, runways, taxiways, airfield lighting, aprons, then terminal and front of house. Our current program is to review each of these assets with a view to allocating part of the $40 million capex in a medium term capex budget plan,” Mr Cameron said. Mr Cameron said delivering the $40 million capex program in the first five years of operation is the airport’s key priority. “These projects include preparing a new 20-year master plan and land use report for the site, reviewing and maintaining the airfield assets, and designing and delivering an airport terminal upgrade to the international standard for 700,000 passengers while the airport remains open and fully functional.”

CREATING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS Being able to engage and retain high quality staff is essential for all airports, but it can be more challenging for airports in regional and remote areas, as they have smaller populations. Mr Cameron said PHIA has made this work by transitioning a number of key staff as well as recruiting new team members. “Rarely do you have the opportunity to build a new team from scratch and I’m very happy to say that our team is working well together and already achieving some of the initial targets and strategic goals,” Mr Cameron said. Besides building internal relationships, Mr Cameron said a key to PHIA’s future growth is creating solid partnerships with airlines, including its two main carriers Qantas and Virgin. “Air travel is increasing around the world, especially in Asia. This is both an opportunity and challenge. “The challenge is that airlines have many options open to them, and with Asian air travel increasing at a far greater rate than local travel (which in some cases is consolidating), then convincing an airline to deploy their very mobile asset to your Australian regional airport over an Asian airport is a hard sell. The opportunity for PHIA is to present business cases to airlines to introduce new flights to provide better connectivity.” Mr Cameron said in the Pilbara, and at many remote airports, people have different travel choices. “They can choose to fly either from your airport or another airport; drive themselves, including to another airport to catch a flight that they could have caught from your airport; or catch public transport,” Mr Cameron said. “Our job is to work in partnership with the community to give them enough reason to choose to use our airport. The plans we have to develop the airport will see marked changes for the community in terms of facilities and air travel options.”

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PORT

UNLEASHING NEW


PORT

OPPORTUNITIES by Tim Pallas, Treasurer of Victoria

In September, Victoria sealed the deal on one of the most important transactions in the state’s history – the 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne. The significance of this $9.7 billion dollar deal and the positive effects it will yield for Victoria’s long-term economic and social wellbeing should not be understated. It will also provide a shot in the arm for the state’s already strong infrastructure pipeline.

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he Port of Melbourne lease is the biggest transport transaction in Australia’s history and an emphatic vote of confidence in the Victorian economy. The strength of this result underlines the continued high performance of the Victorian economy – we are the jobcreating capital, and the fastest growing economy in the nation. Leasing the port also reinforces the state’s position as the freight and logistics capital of Australia and will make our great port even better. But the deal means a great deal more for Victorians. The Andrews Labor Government promised to lease the port, remove our worst level crossings and create thousands of jobs, and that’s exactly what we are doing. The proceeds will also help fund vital infrastructure and other important transport initiatives that continue to improve our liveability and access to jobs, education, health and social facilities. Rural and regional Victoria will also directly benefit from this lease, with 10

per cent of the proceeds being invested in regional and rural infrastructure. That’s in addition to a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund that has been established that will help drive economic growth in our regions, boosting exports, helping our farmers, businesses and industries stay competitive. This new fund will provide concrete benefits to the many thousands of hard-working farmers and regional Victorians that depend on this important sector – and the lease of the port allows the government to provide valuable infrastructure linkages from paddock to port. The fund will be available for practical projects and programs that wholly benefit the agriculture sector, including transport, irrigation, and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns. Eligible applicants will include farm businesses, industry and agribusiness organisations, asset owners such as water authorities and local government. This government understands that agriculture and our farming families

sit at the heart of rural and regional Victoria, with our food and fibre industry contributing more than $11 billion to our economy and employing more than 87,000 people. We know that with the right support, there is an enormous opportunity for Victorian agriculture to capitalise on increasing demand from Asia’s growing middle class for our fresh, top quality produce. Currently, the Port of Melbourne is the biggest container and cargo port in the country, visited by more than 3,000 ships each year. The lease will make a great port even better, increasing efficiency and competitiveness, and reinforcing Victoria’s position as the freight and logistics capital of Australia. But most importantly, leasing the port means we can get rid of Victoria's most deadly and congested level crossings, creating thousands of jobs in the process. Whichever way you look at it, this is a great deal for all Victorians – and a boost to the infrastructure this state needs.


PORT

FUELING SOUTH AU PORT INFRASTRUC Despite BP dropping out of planned exploration in the Great Australian Bight, Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour has already received an infrastructure boost with Flinders Ports' new $8 million bunkering facility.

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eading South Australian port operator, Flinders Ports, teamed up with oil and gas company BP to establish a state-of-the-art fuel bunkering facility that would support BP's future exploration of the Great Australian Bight. Although BP announced it will not go ahead with its drilling program off South Australia’s coast, the upgraded facility has provided jobs for the local infrastructure industry and will allow vessels up to 120m in length to dock and refuel in Port Adelaide. While initially designed with BP specifications in mind, fuel bunkering facilities like this one are commonly used infrastructure at ports around Australia. Stewart Lammin, General Manager at Flinders Ports said, “We understand and accept BP’s decision not to proceed with their drilling program in the Great Australian Bight. Flinders Ports will continue to monitor the market for potential new customers that require bunkering as part of their port services.”

RE-ENERGISING AN UNUSED BERTH Maritime Constructions was awarded the construction contract for the project and began works in May 2016. Works included reactivating the existing berth, known as N-Berth, which had been mothballed for the last 10 years. Two new strong points made from primary steel and featuring fibre reinforced plastic for the walkways, were added to the current berth and the facility is connected to the nearby Largs North Terminal via two new underground pipelines. A dedicated bunkering pipeline is 1km in length and 300 nominal bore, with a platform supply vessel flow rate of 2,400L per minute. The bunkering facilities at Largs North

Marine supply base launch. Image courtesy of BP.

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PORT

STRALIA’S TURE Terminal also include new dedicated filling pumps with full automation, metering skid and bunker hoses.

SUPPORTING THE LOCAL INDUSTRY More than 20 local jobs have been created for the various stages of the project, including construction works and pipeline design. While previously vessels that needed to refuel in Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour were supplied by a fuel truck, this new facility allows several more vessels to dock and refuel in Port Adelaide each week. Mr Lammin said that not only had the new facility supported Port Adelaide suppliers, but it had also had positive flow-on benefits for the local economy. “New contracts are scarce so the upgrade of this berth is an exciting development and has provided a welcome boost for local suppliers and business confidence,” Mr Lammin said. The facility is expected to be complete in late 2016.

Aerial view of redevelopment works at N Berth Port Adelaide. Image courtesy of Maritime Constructions.

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PLANNING

PLANNING FOR POPULATION GROWTH: WE CANNOT BUILD OUR WAY AROUND IT In October, Infrastructure Victoria released its 30-year plan for the state, outlining the steps it needs to take to create the best possible future. Since its release, the draft strategy has been described as one of the most comprehensive infrastructure planning documents a government has ever had access to. Not only does it outline new build projects, it also focuses on upgrades to existing assets, changes to the way Victorian communities are structured, and the development of incentives to enact behavioural change. Following the release of this wide-sweeping document, we caught up with Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson to discuss some of the specifics of the recommendations. CAN YOU PROVIDE SOME BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE PROCESS INFRASTRUCTURE VICTORIA HAS GONE THROUGH TO DEVELOP THIS DRAFT STRATEGY? The draft strategy is a first for Victoria – it’s statewide, cross sector and looks at every aspect of infrastructure across nine sectors covering everything from education to transport, telecommunications, energy and justice. Throughout 2016, we consulted broadly and widely with stakeholders and the community, including two citizen juries, to develop the strategy. Firstly, to define the strategy’s objectives and needs, and secondly, to get feedback on more than 200 options to address these needs. We have now released the draft strategy for public consultation. We considered all available evidence and the feedback from the public. Where we found gaps, we also undertook our own assessments and commissioned research to help us assess these options, including transport demand modelling and cost-benefit analysis for major transport projects. We assessed each option against a range of criteria – considering the cost and contribution and the social, economic and environmental impact of each option. We also tested each option against different possible future scenarios. We now have distilled this into 134 recommendations. In developing our recommendations, we weighed up a range of factors but ultimately every recommendation is based on evidence.

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HOW HAS THE FEEDBACK FROM THE COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT BEEN SINCE THE RELEASE OF THE DRAFT STRATEGY? In developing the strategy, we have taken a bold approach and not shied away from tackling the hard issues – this means not every recommendation will be popular. What’s important is that we have looked at all available evidence, listened to the feedback and come up with a pipeline of initiatives that we think will create the best possible future for our state over the next 30 years. The strong interest in the draft strategy from all sectors validates our approach and we encourage all Victorians to take a look and tell us if we have our priorities right.

INCREASING DENSITY IN ESTABLISHED AREAS HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS A KEY STRATEGY VICTORIA NEEDS TO ADOPT OVER THE NEXT THIRTY YEARS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THIS IS SO CRITICAL, AND THE STEPS THE STATE WILL NEED TO TAKE IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS? We believe this is a key opportunity to shape the state’s growth by redirecting it and rebalancing it. Victoria’s population is set to continually grow, with the population expected to reach 9.5 million by 2046. Nearly 80 per cent of that growth is expected to be in greater metropolitan Melbourne. While Melbourne’s outer western and northern suburbs are already reaching capacity on their rail lines and roads, our evidence indicates that Melbourne’s inner and middle ring eastern and southern suburbs


PLANNING

The report advocates for major changes to transport pricing.

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Melbourne’s current airport link, Skybus, needs to be given more onroad priority, according to the report.

have capacity to accommodate more growth – particularly after Melbourne Metro and other transport improvements are completed. These areas are well-serviced by existing public transport, health and educational infrastructure, as well as green space. Medium density development should be sensitive to surroundings so it should be targeted along train lines and tram corridors and within walking distance to train stations. By allowing more people to live near existing infrastructure, we make better use of the infrastructure we already have, we reduce dependence on cars and congestion, and we encourage more active lifestyles, making the city more compact. To achieve this, we have recommended the state government partner with local councils to review planning provisions within the next five years.

THE DRAFT STRATEGY HAS SUGGESTED MAJOR CHANGES TO TRANSPORT PRICING, AND YOU’VE DESCRIBED THIS AS ONE OF THE MOST NEEDED AND MOST BENEFICIAL RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE REPORT. CAN YOU EXPLAIN IN MORE DETAIL WHAT YOU ARE PROPOSING WHEN IT COMES TO TRANSPORT PRICING, WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT AND THE EXPECTED OUTCOMES THESE CHANGES WILL ACHIEVE? Quite simply, we cannot build our way out of congestion. Our evidence shows a well-planned transport pricing regime will fundamentally transform the way our transport network functions and will have a more significant impact on congestion than any new road project. We know, for example, that up to one in five trips taken during afternoon peak hour are not related to work or

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education and could be made at another time. We also know that just a five per cent reduction in the number of cars on the roads at peak hour is equivalent to the reduction in congestion experienced during school holidays. Imagine the improvement we could achieve if just a fraction of those discretionary trips were made at another time of day? While some people see this as a congestion tax, we are proposing a transport network pricing scheme primarily to manage demand, and it could actually replace or reduce existing taxes and charges paid by motorists. We also are recommending a scheme that is holistic across the whole transport network, not just a road pricing regime. Further investigation is needed to design a system that is effective and fair, and this needs to be coupled with improvements to our public transport system so that when a pricing regime is implemented, our public transport network can cope with the increase in patronage.

THERE HAS BEEN SOME CRITICISM OF YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR THE USE OF VALUE CAPTURE MECHANISMS TO FUND FUTURE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, ALTHOUGH IN THE WORLD OF INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCING IT’S NOT A PARTICULARLY NEW OR CONTROVERSIAL FUNDING METHOD. HOW CAN WE CONVINCE COMMUNITIES? We have recommended that Victoria should look at using value capture more as a means to partially fund infrastructure projects in the future. Value capture is of course not a new idea – it was used to fund the city loop in Melbourne and recently has been used to fund London’s cross-city rail tunnel along with many other projects overseas.

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PLANNING The report also urges the government to work with councils to improve suburban density in inner-city and middle ring suburbs.

YOUR DRAFT REPORT RECOMMENDS BUILDING A RAIL LINE TO MELBOURNE AIRPORT. CAN YOU PROVIDE SOME MORE INFORMATION ON HOW THIS COULD BE ACHIEVED, AND THE TIMING FOR SUCH A PROJECT? We have recommended that an airport rail link should be delivered in the 15-30 year time frame. We have based on our assessment on the proposed Albion East alignment, but our evidence does suggest that there are expected to be significant capacity issues on this line in the future. We recognise this might require an alternative solution, which is why we haven’t proposed a specific route. This current proposed alignment also relies on Melbourne Metro being complete. Further work is required to consider the longer term reconfiguration of the rail network, but the objective should be to deliver a reliable and frequent service to Melbourne’s CBD and ideally continuing on to the south-east.

THE DRAFT REPORT ALSO RECOMMENDS GIVING SKYBUS A HIGHER LEVEL OF ONROAD PRIORITY. AT WHAT POINT DO YOU ENVISAGE MELBOURNE WILL HAVE THE DEMAND FOR BOTH SERVICES, AND HOW DO YOU PROPOSE THE TWO SERVICES TO COEXIST TOGETHER?

While we have looked at a range of value capture mechanisms – from betterment levies to property development – we recognise it isn’t a silver bullet and is unlikely to fund projects in their entirety, but it can help. However, we think it is sensible for property owners who stand to receive a windfall gain due to public infrastructure being delivered in their vicinity to make a small contribution towards the cost of that infrastructure.

NORTH EAST LINK HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS A PRIORITY ROAD IN THE SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THIS ROAD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CONTROVERSIAL EAST WEST LINK? All available evidence stacks up in favour of North East Link. The preliminary cost-benefit analysis of North East Link indicated this “missing link” has significantly greater economic benefits. North East Link would connect the Metropolitan Ring Road with the Eastern freeway, improving access to middle and outer metropolitan centres and the city, as well as improving freight efficiency. North East Link would also take traffic off congestion off some of Melbourne’s most congested roads, the north-south roads in the inner north. We haven’t ruled out the need for an east-west connection in the future, but the evidence does not support the need for this in the short to medium term.

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We believe upgrading the bus services and giving airport bus services greater onroad priority can help alleviate and delay the need for a rail link. In the longer term, however, we still foresee a need for a rail service. It is too early to tell whether both services would be required. There’s a focus on capitalising on existing infrastructure over new projects. The challenge is convincing governments, that love new build projects, that enhancing what we already have is a better investment of public dollars. We know that the challenges we face over the next 30 years cannot be solved just by building new things so we have looked at ways to manage demand and better utilise existing infrastructure as priorities. In many instances, these recommendations are far more cost effective than building something new but also deliver much wider benefits. It is our hope that the evidence that underpins our recommendations helps inform the public debate and political decision-making, and that evidence – which we’ve made available to the public – speaks for itself.

SINCE THE RELEASE OF THE DRAFT STRATEGY, HAS THERE BEEN ANY FEEDBACK WHICH IS CHANGING ANY OF YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS? IF ANY, CAN YOU OUTLINE SOME OF THESE? Consultation on the draft strategy is well underway and we are delighted by both the community interest in and response to our recommendations. It is too early to pre-empt what changes will be made as a result of consultation, before we deliver the final strategy to Parliament in December.

In the next issue of Infrastructure, we’ll review the changes in the final strategy released to Parliament, and we’ll speak to Victorian government ministers about their reactions to the report and where (and when) we can see new government investments being made.

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FINANCING

VALUE CAPTURE: IS THAT A LIGHT

AT THE END OF by Joe Langley, AECOM Technical Director – Infrastructure Advisory

The private sector is championing the value capture story, and pushing the government to climb aboard.

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alue capture funding for big infrastructure projects has been getting a lot of airtime in Australia’s mainstream media of late. And it isn’t because the Productivity Commission, Infrastructure Australia or a think tank has released yet another report pleading with federal and state governments to reform Australia’s inefficient infrastructure funding arrangements. The proponents this time are private sector Australian and international corporates. Big business is now willing to share both the benefits and the costs of major public infrastructure

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investments on the proviso that governments introduce legislative reform to make room for more equitable and market-based value capture funding arrangements. These private sector proposals are significant, and include: ♦♦ Sydney property developer Centurion’s proposal to build a fast rail service from Sydney to the Illawarra at a cost of $3.75 billion ♦♦ The BG&E consortium which is offering to build a new $8 billion metro line between Parramatta and Sydney ♦♦ Consolidated Land and Rail

Australia’s (CLARA) goal of a high speed rail network connecting Sydney and Melbourne via eight newly built, sustainable regional centres. The Federal Government has estimated the cost of the network alone to be $114 billion. While governments often move slowly and cautiously when considering new funding initiatives, the reluctance of federal and state agencies to make progress on funding reforms has been particularly persistent. This flies in the face of the weight of evidence from Australian governmentfunded studies, commissions and www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au


FINANCING

THE TUNNEL? business cases, combined with a long list of successful overseas projects that provide a compelling case for this funding method.

THE SMART CITIES PLAN Arguably the Commonwealth’s Smart Cities Plan has provided the catalyst for the recent flurry of private sector interest in value capture. The plan, released by the Federal Government in April this year, promoted value capture as a supplementary funding source for major transport and urban renewal projects. According to the plan, “value capture can accelerate infrastructure investment alongside urban renewal, and deliver benefits for households, governments,

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businesses and developers”. With the clear indication in the plan that future federal funding could be dependent on value capture, a number of forward-thinking developers have put forward proposals incorporating this method. Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian state governments are preparing value capture policy position and discussion papers. The city of Parramatta has drafted a detailed value capture funding policy for its central business district. With the federal election behind us, it’s time to revisit what value capture is, what it can do, and what we should look for in future government funding policies.

IS VALUE CAPTURE JUST A NEW TAX? At a basic level, value capture methods are designed to monetise and internalise the benefits of public investments, allowing public agencies to tax the direct beneficiaries of their investments. This means that some portion of the public tax revenues and property value increases that occur due to the public’s investment in, say, a new railway station, are pledged (“hypothecated”) to help pay for the station development. Contrary to what its detractors say, value capture does not introduce a new tax. It simply captures and shares some part of the uplift in tax revenues or

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Value capture is not a new tax – it simply captures and shares some part of the uplift in tax revenues or land values which result from well-conceived and implemented public projects.

land values above “business as usual” revenues, which result from well-conceived and implemented public projects. The concept is founded on the principle that users and beneficiaries should pay their fair share of the cost of infrastructure that they benefit from. The graph below illustrates how these revenues increase over time as a result of well-planned capital improvements. A portion of this incremental revenue is then earmarked to help pay for the project.

VALUE CAPTURE AND OTHER FUNDING OPTIONS The distinction between value capture and other funding methods has been lost or misunderstood in numerous instances in Australia. For example, the Gold Coast light rail project is sometimes described as using a value capture funding model because it applies a $110 per annum transport levy on all residential properties as a partial funding mechanism. However, residential properties that

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do not realise a net increase in value as a result of the Gold Coast transport levy are less valuable as a result of this charge. This doesn’t mean that the transport levy is a bad funding source or that it shouldn’t be used for the project. There are wider economic and community benefits that make levies worthwhile if they are used judiciously. It just means that the Gold Coast levy isn’t a true value capture method and doesn’t result in or capture uplift in value in every instance that it is applied. The Gold Coast transport levy is simply a new tax to pay for transport infrastructure. This distinction is important because all stakeholders acknowledge the need for new infrastructure investment, but some groups object to new measures to pay for it. For example, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) and Consult Australia support new funding methods that support major transformational urban renewal and transport projects and create new economic opportunities. Conversely, the Property Council

of Australia and the Urban Taskforce staunchly oppose value capture due to the fear that it will be misapplied by local and state governments. However, taking this funding method completely off the table could result in otherwise worthwhile projects being rejected due to a misunderstanding of how they could be funded.

A VALUE CAPTURE SUCCESS STORY Unfortunately, the flip side of the value capture debate rarely gets adequate scrutiny- when a small group of property owners and developers reap a windfall created by public infrastructure projects and land rezoning. The rezoning of the old industrial area of Fishermen’s Bend in Melbourne, recently reclassified for residential and commercial uses is one example of this. The rezoning was approved without a mechanism in place to share some portion of the resulting land value uplift to help pay for the planning and infrastructure needed to realise the site’s full potential. This is just one of many examples

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FINANCING

of homeowners pocketing two and three times the market value of their bungalows because of the happy coincidence of a new public transit project in their area. Increasingly, many stakeholders are rightfully questioning the equity of current infrastructure funding arrangements. Value capture methods provide ways of balancing the benefits and costs of public infrastructure investments among users, the general public and unintended beneficiaries.

THE OVERSEAS EXPERIENCE Value capture methods are being used in the UK, North America and Asia to help build transformative public projects without impacting the end value of subsequent residential and commercial developments. Australia could also benefit from this funding method. For example, a 2016 study by LUTI Consulting1 analysed the value created by transportation and urban renewal projects within the Sydney metropolitan area from 2000 to 2014. The study found that the average increase in land value within a rail station

catchment in Sydney was 4.6 per cent, but reached 48 per cent around the Epping to Chatswood rail extension due to better integration of land use, urban design and transport infrastructure. The findings support the principles advocated in the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Plan, which call for proactive measures to better integrate land use and transport planning.

AN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING SILVER BULLET? Australia lags other advanced economies in adopting innovative funding arrangements that are being used successfully in other countries. In its 2016 report on Australia’s economic future, Council for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) called on Australian governments to “involve innovative mechanisms for increasing the potential for private beneficiaries to contribute to [infrastructure] costs (on the user pays principal), in particular using value capture mechanisms2 Value Capture Roadmap3, a publication by Consult Australia and AECOM, identifies key success factors for Australian value capture programs, including:

♦♦

Comprehensive, long-term planning and funding ♦♦ Genuine and robust stakeholder engagement ♦♦ Precinct-based planning and funding ♦♦ Transparent and balanced governance frameworks ♦♦ Balancing of risks and rewards between public and private sector stakeholders ♦♦ Incentives to attract private investment and better design ♦♦ Recognition and incorporation of wider economic benefits ♦♦ A focus on project value rather than cost Value capture funding methods are not a silver bullet to Australia’s infrastructure backlog. However, well-planned and delivered infrastructure creates value that can and should be used to help offset the public’s cost of delivering it. Value capture provides a means of leveraging public investment to help close Australia’s infrastructure funding gap, and not increase the current budget deficit, surely that’s a good thing?

Source: AECOM LUTI and Mecone 2016, Transit and Urban Renewal Value Creation, Sydney Australia CEDA 2016, Australia’s economic future: an agenda for growth, Melbourne Langley, Joe 2015, Value Capture Roadmap, Sydney Australia

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2 3

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POLICY

USING TRANSPORT The Northern Territory Government has released major plans for its road network, aviation sector and regional transport industries, to help drive economic growth and connect people from across the state.

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he Northern Territory Government handles 22,000km of road, more than 220 bridges and 260km of shared pathways across the territory, which not only support residents but help facilitate the growth of economic markets. In order to maintain and grow opportunities in resources, agriculture, tourism and other trades, the territory needs a reliable transport network that connects to regional areas, which is why the Northern Territory Government has created three new transport strategies outlining a vision for the next four years.

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The transport infrastructure strategies are: 1. Roads and Bridges Strategy and Network Investment Plan 2. Aviation Industry and Services Strategy 2020 3. Darwin Regional Transport Plan 2016 The Roads and Bridges Strategy details major projects that will improve the territory’s road network and freight routes in the short and long term; the Regional Transport plan focuses on how land use plays a role in the future of public transport, roads and active-living in Darwin; and the Aviation Strategy explores the role of airports and air services in the territory’s tourism and resource industries.

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TO DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH

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THE TERRITORY’S TRANSPORT BACKBONE Roads and bridges are the largest component of the Northern Territory’s transport infrastructure and they play a key role in the territory’s economic development because it’s the most common way for industries to transport goods. Given the Northern Territory is also the closest territory to Asian markets, the road network is an important part of the logistics supply chain to transport goods from Asia to around Australia. The Northern Territory also has some of the most remote towns in Australia, making the road network a significant link from regional communities to big cities. The Roads and Bridges Strategy and Network Investment Plan has been created based on the results of the Regional Infrastructure Study which was undertaken in 2014 and 2015 to identify priority infrastructure investments. The projects outlined in this strategy are divided into five regions: Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and East Arnhem. In Darwin, major projects identified as priorities include road duplications, intersection works, road strengthening and widening, and the construction of new infrastructure. Some of the short

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term works (within the next five years) will occur on the Arnhem Highway, the Arnhem Link Road and Berrimah Road, while longer term plans include formation and seal widening on Kakadu Highway, and the construction of new links from Noonamah to Tiger Brennan Drive, and the North-South Arterial. In Alice Springs, planned projects include urban growth projects, pavement widening and strengthening, and new infrastructure. Upgrades to Larapinta Drive, Outback Way and Maryvale Road will occur within the next five years, while new links from Derry Downs to Ammaroo, and from Wingellina to Curtain Springs, are

planned over the next ten years. Major projects for the Katherine region will focus on roads associated with the Ord development area including Roper Highway, and works to the Victoria Highway, Buntine Highway and Buchannan Highway in the Victorian River area. The focus of the Tennant Creek region will be major cattle transport routes, including the Barkly Highway, Tablelands Highway and the Barkly stock route, while the aim for the East Arnhem region is to improve safety as the road standards in this region are generally lower than other areas.

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AN AVIATION GATEWAY The Northern Territory is set to become an aviation gateway for Northern Australia, as it has strong economic potential due to its proximity to Asia, and strong energy, defence and agriculture industries. The Aviation Industry and Services Strategy 2020 outlines four main goals for the sector: 1. The growth of international and domestic services 2. Use the development of the aviation sector to drive economic growth in the territory 3. Maintain or upgrade airport infrastructure to ensure it can support future development 4. Create policies and regulations that support the territory’s aviation growth The strategy proposes that to grow aviation services in the Northern Territory, the territory has to not only increase current services, but also pursue new markets such as China and New Zealand, as well as trial new domestic services including to Katherine and Tennant Creek. Methods to use the Northern Territory’s planes and airports to drive economic growth include exploring ways to maximise air freight capacity and infrastructure such as a possible cold storage facility at Darwin International Airport as well as expanding current aviation businesses including ones relating to defence. Improving airport infrastructure is also a key component for future growth and

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this strategy proposes that Northern Territory airports should remain open for business 24/7, the government should support the National Airports Safeguarding Framework, planning needs to be undertaken for future development of regional airports including Batchelor Airport, and remote aerodrome owners need to have increased support. In order for the Northern Territory’s aviation sector to grow, this strategy also outlines that the government should consider reducing the cost of security and processing that is placed on passengers, provide emergency rescue services at Katherine Tindal Airport, which will allow it to operate as an alternate runway for Darwin International Airport, and create new policies and regulations that will support the industry moving forward.

CONNECTING REMOTE COMMUNITIES Given roads and aviation are explored in detail in separate strategies, the Darwin Regional Transport Plan 2016 focuses solely on the Darwin region and how the government can integrate transport with land use to improve facilities for public transport, roads, cycling and walking. With Darwin’s growing population and increased infrastructure development challenges around congestion, freight demand, sustainability, safety, land use and the wellbeing of residents can occur.

This transport plan takes into account these challenges and explores future changes to Darwin’s transport use, such as a potential decline in car use and technical advancements in transport. This strategy aims to use land and the location of housing and jobs to help plan for future transport to encourage shorter trips and sustainable transport, develop Darwin’s road network to support the region’s economy, make public transport more efficient and encourage cycling and walking in the region. To achieve this, it proposes to continue integrating regional land use and transport plans, upgrade regional public transport networks, deliver the major road projects outlined in the Roads and Bridges Strategy, integrate transport modes such as bus stops, parking and cycling paths, and continue to encourage ‘active transport’ such as cycling or walking.

DELIVERING GROWTH These new transport strategies are part of the Northern Territory Government’s larger Integrated Transport Planning and Investment Roadmap that aims to create a framework for the territory’s transport needs moving forward. Improving the territory’s road, aviation and public transport infrastructure will not only support the current industries, but create opportunities for new growth in northern Australia.

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Big ideas forum

Paul Bannister Director, Innovation and Sustainability Energy Action

We have to face up to it: high speed rail is essential for Australia to be a competitive 21st century economy. Here are the top reasons why: 1. We need options other than car and plane. This is both a functional argument – more diversity of options would mean more choice in how we travel, which can only make for improved lifestyle – and an economic argument. Planes, as the only mode of fast travel, are essentially a duopoly. That’s scarcely an economic optimum. High speed rail would provide competition, and with competition drive innovation, better prices and better service. 2. Plane travel is bad for productivity. Any regular business traveller suffers the effects of hours spent getting to and from airports, as well as being unable to work for large parts of plane flights. Overseas, you walk to the high speed rail station in the middle of town, you can work as much as you like on the train, and then your journey finishes in the middle of your destination city; so the trip home is generally simpler. 3. For the planet. Planes and cars use fossil fuels, which drive global warming; this has to change sooner or later. High speed rail uses electricity, which can come from an increasingly renewable grid; it’s also much more efficient in terms of energy used per passenger km than cars – even if we’re all driving electric cars in the future. 4. The price of housing. High speed rail makes towns that were previously too far flung capable of being feeder towns for cities like Sydney and Melbourne. This immediately opens up the housing market and relieves pressure on big city house prices, as well as contributing massively to regional development. 5. Economic development. Development of high speed rail

is a major investment and will create many jobs over a long period, at a time when the economy seems to be permanently shaky. 6. Interest rates are at record lows. The macroeconomic intent of low interest rates is to encourage people to invest, so the government should lead by example. High speed rail is an investment in the future that will deliver huge downstream benefits for the economy. 7. We need the transport corridor. One of the objections to high speed rail is that, just around the corner, will be some new and better answer, so let’s not start now. But even if in 30 years’ time we are using maglev trains in evacuated tubes – or whatever – we will still need transport corridors. At the moment, we have years of work in order to create the transport corridor, irrespective of the technology that we put down it. Starting now with a known successful technology paves the way for the future, whatever it eventually looks like. 8. It only looks expensive. We are about to spend $50 billion on submarines. We are about to spend billions on a new airport at Badgerys Creek. Every year we spend billions upgrading ever more crowded roads. A high speed rail network will reduce the need for some of the current transport expenditure, and will deliver gains in economic productivity that will return as improved tax takings. It will pay for itself. So: high speed rail is possible, it will deliver enormous economic benefits both directly and indirectly, and it will transform how we live. All we need is for the current crop of politicians to wake up and think about what will really deliver the jobs and growth they’re all so fond of.

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In each issue of Infrastructure magazine, we'll be considering some of the biggest questions when it comes to public infrastructure in Australia. We'll be taking big ideas, key proposals and planned projects, and asking two experts to debate the pros and cons of the idea in question. For Issue 1, we're kicking things off with high speed rail, an idea Australian politicians and planners have had a long love affair with. Our experts answer the question: is high speed rail really a good idea for Australia?

Geoffrey Clifton Lecturer in Transport and Logistics Management The University of Sydney Business School

High speed rail: maybe, but not yet. There are many good arguments for high speed rail as a nation building exercise, a way to encourage people to relocate away from our crowded capital cities and a way to, potentially, reduce some of the environmental impacts of aviation. Unfortunately, there are as many reasons to say no to high speed rail, at least for the foreseeable future. Firstly, high speed rail is expensive. The exact cost of a proposed high speed rail line from Melbourne to Sydney is not yet known, but figures of $200 billion are being quoted in the media, or over $200 million per kilometre. This is on the high side by international standards, with projects in recent years ranging between around $80 million a kilometre (Taiwan) to $100 million a kilometre (UK High Speed 1). However, even this might be conservative, as construction costs are increasing rapidly with the cost to construct UK’s second High Speed Rail now projected to be $160 million a kilometre, almost double initial estimates. Furthermore, the Australian figure of $200 billion seems to include the cost of building new cities along the route, not just the cost of the railway itself. The second reason for being wary of high speed rail is the difficulty it will have in capturing market share. High speed rail has been very successful in the congested corridors of East Asia and Western Europe, where large conurbations are packed relatively close together. This is not the case in Australia where our cities are far apart and separated by not much except beautiful scenery. The optimal length for high speed rail seems to be around 500 kilometres (the length of the original Shinkansen, Madrid to Barcelona or London to Paris). Rail is quicker than flying over these distances because rail can drop you off in the city centre, even if planes are quicker in the air.

Finally, there is the problem of funding. Previous plans for Australian high speed rail have failed as governments have not had enough money to fund the expense. This can only get worse as budgets tighten and construction costs increase. The proponents of the CLARA project believe that they can use value capture to bridge the funding gap. This innovative technique effectively puts a tax on landowners alongside the rail line in order to fund the project, the idea being that the benefits from people wanting to live and work near the stations on the high speed rail line will be enough to cover the cost. Even though the advocates of high speed rail are confident that their value capture method will work, there is no comparable project which has been funded entirely from value capture and of course, there will only be value to capture if the benefits are large enough to drive travellers out of planes and cars and onto trains. So what is the potential for high speed rail? Globally, there is a growing market for commuting by high speed rail. We are already seeing this develop in the UK and on the (admittedly not very high speed) Washington to New York and Boston corridor in the US. These are people who live in one city but work in another, travelling maybe two or three days a week and working from home the rest of the time. Markets such as Albury to Melbourne or Canberra to Sydney would be ideal for this sort of development, particularly if new dormitory towns are built along the way. This is the market that the proponents of Australia’s high speed rail seem to be targeting, but whether there are enough power commuters prepared to live in Goulbourn and work in Sydney remains to be seen. High speed rail: maybe, but not yet.

Head to www.bigideasforum.com.au to share your thoughts. www.infrastructuremagazine.com.au

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FEATURES SCHEDULE March 2017

Deadline: 17 February 2017

June 2017

Deadline: 5 May 2017

Bridges

Signalling, tracking and control systems

Big data

Asset inspection and drones/UAVS

Road marking

Condition monitoring and maintenance

Tolling

Road surfacing and stabilisation

Urban transport corridors

Software, communications and connectivity

Road design

Investment and financing

Pits and poles

Skills and training

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TBC

Spatial & GIS DISTRIBUTION

Austroads Bridges

September 2017

Deadline: 28 July 2017

November 2017

Deadline: 6 October 2017

Tunnels

When infrastructure intersects

Asset management

Security and critical infrastructure

Mobility

Energy infrastructure

Sustainability

IoT & cloud communication

Land access

Cranes & heavy lifting

High speed rail

Excavators/earthmovers/plant

Safety and risk management

Construction standards and codes

DISTRIBUTION

TBC

Smart infrastructure DISTRIBUTION

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ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Arcadis ������������������������������������������������������������� 38

Hychem ���������������������������������������������������������� 27

Ausrail ��������������������������������������������������������������� 11

Infrastructure �������������������������������������������������61

Austroads Bridge Conference...................25

Marketing Made to Measure...................IBC

CR Kennedy Surveys �������������������������������������3

Taylors ����������������������������������������������������������������9

CR Kennedy Attachments...............31, OBC

Vermeer...................................................... IFC-1

CR Kennedy UAV ������������������������������������������51

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Infrastructure November 2016 Digital Edition  

The case for and against high speed rail, transport's automated future, how to make Sydney's second airport work, new models of infrastructu...

Infrastructure November 2016 Digital Edition  

The case for and against high speed rail, transport's automated future, how to make Sydney's second airport work, new models of infrastructu...