The Victorian Coalition Government has released its 2011 Infrastructure Australia priority list which provides the platform to begin addressing Victoria's infrastructure backlog and delivering the infrastructure capacity to grow Victoria's economy and liveability.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the Infrastructure Australia priority list was part of the Coalition Government's broader infrastructure agenda and included city-shaping projects that could drive the next wave of productivity growth and enhance Victoria's liveability.
"The Coalition Government has introduced more rigorous processes for decision-making on infrastructure projects to get the delivery of major projects right," Mr Baillieu said.
"Major projects in the past have suffered from poor planning and project management failures that have resulted in completion delays and cost blow-outs.
"The Coalition Government has reviewed and enhanced the East West Link project to include a new stage that would connect the Eastern Freeway to CityLink and connect CityLink to the Port of Melbourne as well as the connection between the Port of Melbourne to the Western Ring Road.
"The new East West Link is a once in a generation project that would transform the way people move around Melbourne in a way not seen since CityLink and the City Rail Loop were constructed," Mr Baillieu said.
The improved East West Link would provide an alternative to the M1 corridor, remove traffic from Melbourne's inner-arterial roads particularly at Hoddle Street where the Eastern Freeway ends abruptly, and link industry in Melbourne's north, east and west.
Mr Baillieu said the Coalition Government was also planning major new rail links including an improved Melbourne Metro project.
"The Melbourne Metro project is a city-shaping project of a similar size and scale to that of Melbourne's City Loop 40 years ago," Mr Baillieu said.
"The Coalition Government has improved the project from two stages to one by planning to use a shorter tunnel to connect the northern and south-eastern lines. The new alignment to South Yarra will connect the north and west rail corridors with the south-east, via the Melbourne CBD.
"The project includes five new stations at Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain, and it is predicted that more than 140,000 passengers would board or alight trains at the five new Metro stations in the morning peak by 2030," Mr Baillieu said.
The new Metro line would allow the rail network to move an additional 25,000 passengers each hour.
Mr Baillieu said some of Victoria's existing infrastructure could be significantly upgraded and improved to increase the capacity of the rail network and reduce road congestion.
"The Dandenong Rail Capacity program would deliver additional metropolitan and regional train services and increase commuter capacity by approximately 11,000 passengers per hour," Mr Baillieu said.
The Coalition Government is committed to a program of improving and eliminating level crossings across Melbourne and regional Victoria to reduce road congestion, increase train reliability and improve safety.
"Level crossings contribute to road and rail congestion because trains need to slow down at various points across the network for safety reasons and road traffic needs to stop at these points to give way to trains. This is particularly the case as more train services are added to the system," Mr Baillieu said.
"Commonwealth funding will assist the Victorian Government to fast-track the necessary planning for the Removing Level Crossings project and enable more level crossings to be removed sooner."
The Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to undertaking a number of rail network expansion feasibility studies, including rail links to Doncaster and Rowville in Melbourne and the Rail Revival study that would deliver rail services between the regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
Mr Baillieu said the Upgrade Regional Passenger Lines project was focused on providing additional tracks and an electrified service between Sunshine and Melton, and track upgrades on the Ballarat and Bendigo lines.
The Coalition Government is committed to delivering the Avalon Airport Rail Link and is seeking Infrastructure Australia support to carry out the next stage of project development work.
Mr Baillieu said the Avalon Airport Rail Link would be an important part of developing Avalon as Victoria's second major international and domestic airport.
"The Avalon Rail Link will benefit Geelong and south western Victoria by increasing jobs and investment opportunities, improving goods and services supply chains, improving accessibility to national and international markets and supporting inbound tourism," Mr Baillieu said.
"Victoria has learnt from the lessons of the past and we know it is important to plan and build the rail link early in the development of this area to get the best value for money outcome.
"The Avalon Airport Rail Link has the potential to interface with the Rail Revival study, capitalising on the significant population catchments of most of Victoria's largest regional cities and the Goldfields tourism region," Mr Baillieu said.
The development of the Port of Hastings has also been included for the first time as a priority infrastructure project.
Mr Baillieu said the Coalition Government was committed to developing the Port of Hastings as Victoria's next container port to complement the Port of Melbourne and to relieve bottlenecks and congestion.
"In providing an alternative to the Port of Melbourne, the development of the Port of Hastings will generate competition flow-on benefits for the Victorian and national economies," Mr Baillieu said.
The Coalition Government is seeking Infrastructure Australia support for Commonwealth funding for transport corridor planning funding, which is required to prepare for construction of the first stage of the development of the Port of Hastings.
Other freight-related projects submitted to Infrastructure Australia include the Western Interstate Freight Terminal and Green Triangle road improvements.
Mr Baillieu said Victoria's infrastructure requirements to reduce congestion and increase capacity on road, public transport and freight networks were well known and understood by the community.
"The financial cost to address this backlog is now at a scale not experienced in Victoria for several decades and the investment required is beyond the capacity of even the best-managed state budget in the most favourable economic cycle," Mr Baillieu said.
"Commonwealth and private sector partnerships will also be essential to fully address Victoria's infrastructure backlog and achieve maximum economic and liveability benefits.
"The submission is one part of the Coalition Government's broader infrastructure agenda that includes projects which fall outside Infrastructure Australia's Reform and Investment Framework including schools, hospitals and other state-based service-orientated infrastructure," Mr Baillieu said.
The submission has been developed using Infrastructure Australia's Reform and Investment Framework and taking into account Infrastructure Australia's recent statements that it will only consider projects in excess of $100 million.
Mr Baillieu said the nominated projects were a practical and pragmatic response to Victoria's key infrastructure challenges and the Coalition Government was looking forward to working in partnership with Infrastructure Australia and the Commonwealth to plan and implement this exciting agenda.
"The submission requests funding support of $640 million to plan and begin delivery of a number of major new road, rail and port projects as well as projects to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure," Mr Baillieu said.
"The Coalition Government understands the limitations on expenditure announced by the Commonwealth and the government has responded by requesting affordable planning and development funding from the Commonwealth to ensure Victoria will have quality projects ready for capital funding when the funding environment changes."
Victoria's 2011 Infrastructure Australia submission is available to download at www.premier.vic.gov.au