How Infrastructure Is Transforming Australia in the Wake of COVID-19

How Infrastructure Is Transforming Australia in the Wake of COVID-19

Lachlan Smith

Lachlan Smith

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Infrastructure Australia (the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor) has just released their Infrastructure Priority List for 2021 and there are a record number of proposed projects on the cards for Australia’s cities, regions and remote communities. Combined, 44 proposals represent a whopping $59billion in value for our economy. 

As Australia recovers from the economic impact of COVID-19, these nationally significant projects, which span transport, energy, water, waste, telecommunications and social infrastructure, will be critical in helping Australia bounce back from recession, with more than half of the opportunities benefiting regional communities.  

These infrastructure projects are considered nationally significant because they address and solve problems facing our communities and they provide opportunities for realising many social, environmental and economic benefits. This year, the Priority List focuses on 4 key themes:

1. Developing export gateways to support our international competitiveness

As we recover from the impact of the pandemic, investment in developing our export gateways will be important in boosting our economy and competitiveness of Australian businesses.

As an island nation, Australian businesses have always relied on our ports and related logistics chains to deliver exports to the rest of the world. But these ports face major logistical challenges as imports and exports continue to grow. 

Our ports and freight logistics must be well planned, efficient and sustainable to reduce barriers to trade, reduce transportation costs and support the growing needs of our community.

Many of the proposed projects in the next 5 years will look at developing our infrastructure for our export gateways, including preserving land for future roadworks and improving the ease of movement between areas of Australia for both people and goods.

As Australia’s investment in our ports continues to grow, FSC Range has been involved in many maritime projects. Find out more about FSC Range here

2. Investments in new sources of energy

Amid concerns over our reliance on soon-to-be retiring thermal generators, many of the proposed projects will focus on developing renewable sources of energy. This is the first time that renewable energy has been prioritised by Infrastructure Australia, which is a significant move forward for Australia. 

The proposed projects include the development of new grid-scale renewable energy generators, as well as the expansion of existing renewable energy zones to make way for new large-scale wind, solar and hydro.

Within the next 5 years, projects will focus on green hydrogen as a source of energy, because it produces no carbon emissions. Longer term, projects may look at other sources of renewable energy, such as distributed batteries and battery storage systems.

3. Water security

In the face of climate change, rising sea levels and a growing population, many projects will focus on improving our water security and improving ageing urban and regional water systems. 

Aside from drinking water, water plays a hugely important role in industry. Supporting infrastructure in this area will not only ensure we avoid rising water bills, but will also address the risk of severe water shortages in urban and regional areas.

4. Regional infrastructure for economic development, service quality, digital connectivity and digital health services

By November 2020, in response to COVID-19, more than 3.2 million regional and remote Australians had accessed telehealth services. Yet there continues to be a huge gap between urban and regional areas when it comes to digital connectivity and the quality of digital services. Many regional and rural areas have issues with accessing digital technologies, such as 5G.

Many of the proposed projects are set to benefit regional and rural communities, with projects focusing on developing digital infrastructure in these areas, as well as developing the roads and rails required for movement between our metropolitan and rural areas. 

5. Why technology is so important for supporting these projects

Over the next five years, there’s an estimated $246billion worth of work on the horizon, including major road, rail and mining projects across the country. This level of investment is unprecedented. Yet we simply don’t have access to the number of people we need to deliver these projects safely, sustainably and on budget. That’s why technology will play such an important role in the future of Australia’s infrastructure.

Technology will not only drive better and faster decision-making at all stages of a project, but it will also help to reduce projects costs, and drive more efficient and sustainable use of resources and people, ensuring the industry can deliver these projects safely and sustainably for the benefit of all Australians.  

FSC are investing heavily in technology to deliver projects better. Get in touch here to see how we can help you.

We’re pretty excited to hear about some of the major projects that will transform Australia’s roads, rails and economy over the next few years.

If you’d like any more information, or you want to chat about your own upcoming project, get in touch with FSC Group.

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