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WA infrastructure plan has a 20 year horizon

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Infrastructure Western Australia has presented the McGowan State Government with a list of 93 recommendations and initiatives as part of the state’s first infrastructure strategy.

Called ‘Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow’, the strategy is the result of two years of work by Infrastructure Western Australia, which was created as an election commitment by the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs, which includes an approach to infrastructure planning designed to “provide greater certainty and maximise the value of public investment in infrastructure.”

The strategy maps a 20 year vision for planning and investment decisions and was tabled in the WA Parliament in early August.

‘Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow’ is underpinned by six strategic opportunities and 10 strategy objectives, divided into broad infrastructure types categorized across seven themes and nine sectors.

Core themes include managing demand for infrastructure through prevention, early intervention and pricing, and improving the quality and consistency of strategic infrastructure planning.

Other core themes are addressing climate change, optimising the existing asset base, identifying major projects and implementing data sharing.

The six strategic opportunities identified for WA are:

  • A global location of choice
  • Value-adding for strategic commodities
  • Approaching the technology frontier
  • Transitioning to net zero emissions technologies
  • Promoting and leveraging Aboriginal cultural heritage and enterprise
  • Serving the emerging consumer class

The recommendations have a strong focus on digital infrastructure, urging a “digital first approach” to all stages of the infrastructure lifecycle and the elevating the state’s focus on digital transformation and connectivity infrastructure.

It puts sustainability at the core of decision making, and recommends regional infrastructure models which are “more responsive” to the changing needs of communities across the state.

Chair of Infrastructure WA, Nicole Lockwood, said the recommendations were aimed at building a “stronger, more diverse and resilient community, economy and environment.”

She said the organisation would continue to look at how it could “add value” to key agencies implementing aspects of the strategy so as to achieve a successful outcome.

Some action has already been taking on some of the recommendations after a draft of the strategy was released in July.

These include the plan for transitioning the regional city of Collie from coal fired power generation, a whole of Government 2030 emissions reduction target, the creation of a $350 million remote communities fund, and a reform package for emergency services.

Premier Mark McGowan said the Government was also acting on other recommendations, including a goal to cut government emissions by 80% by 2030, investing in a new desalination plant, and planning for the Westport future port project.

He said the Government would respond to all of the strategy’s recommendations and respond to each of them within six months.

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