Transport major contributor to QLD infrastructure spend

The Palaszczuk Government has released a state infrastructure report detailing $49.5 billion in infrastructure spending over the next four years, with around one-third dedicated to transport projects.

An update to the State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) for 2019 revealed that the Queensland Government’s underspend for the 201819 year was near zero, resulting in the state’s best performance in 10 years.

The update also stated that the government’s flagship Cross River Rail project will support an average of 1500 jobs each year during construction.

The government is working with a project consortium led by Pulse to help deliver the project.

Cross River Rail will deliver a 5.9-kilometre twin tunnel underground rail line with four new stations running from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills in Brisbane. Other major transport works include the delivery of three new Gold Coast train stations at Pimpama, Helensvale North and Worongary/Merrimac.

This investment is expected to contribute to various infrastructure plans, including “transformative transport and communications projects”. The Palaszczuk Government has been actively reducing its under-expenditure rates since 2015, according to Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.

“Since 2015, around 207,000 new jobs have been created for Queenslanders, and this updated SIP highlights there are plenty more on the way,” Dick said.

“60 per cent of this year’s infrastructure budget is being invested outside Greater Brisbane, where it will support around 25,500 jobs.”

CIMIC inks major Cross River Rail contract with QLD Govt

Contractor CIMIC has signed a deal with the Queensland Government on a tunnel, stations and development package for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.

CIMIC subsidiaries Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors and UGL will all be employed as part of a consortium (the Pulse consortium) on the public-private partnership (PPP). The works are expected to cost around $2.73 billion and will begin construction later in 2019. 

The consortium will perform tunneling works, build new underground stations and provide ongoing maintenance for the major South East Queensland infrastructure project. 

CIMIC Group chief executive officer Michael Wright said that the company’s integrated approach to PPP projects was based on its “end-to-end capabilities across a project’s life cycle”.

CPB will lead design and construction in a joint venture with UGL, Italy-based tunneling company Ghella, building and civil engineering company BAM International and fund management company DIF. 

Pacific Partnerships will provide 49 per cent of the equity for the package as lead sponsor, with Ghella, BAM and UGL to provide the remaining 51 per cent. UGL will also provide maintenance services on the project as a long-term partner for a period of more than 24 years.

“As Australia’s leading provider of mechanical and electrical works and rail maintenance services, we’re committed to working with the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority as a long-term partner and providing ongoing employment and business opportunities for the local community,” said UGL managing director Jason Spears.

CPB and UGL were also chosen by the Queensland Government to deliver the Cross River Rail project’s Rail, Integration and Systems package in April 2019.

Light rail proposed for Sunshine Coast Airport development

Sunshine Coast Airport has delivered a draft master plan for the development of the Queensland-based airport to 2040 that includes details for the creation of a light rail station.

The draft of the Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040 document was developed by Sunshine Coast Airport with key stakeholders and includes Sunshine Coast Council’s infrastructure plans under the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project (SCAEP).

The airport’s document includes plans related to the provision of a possible direct rail corridor from the city to the airport. Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Government are investigating “numerous options for rail access” to help minimise a reliance on motor vehicle access to the airport, according to the draft master plan.

The ongoing development of the new Maroochydore central business district, a 53-hectare greenfield site development expected to cost $430 million, is also hoped to bolster the attractiveness of the region for locals, businesses and visitors, with the airport serving as a “gateway” for this development.

“[Sunshine Coast Airport] is a strong supporter of the introduction of light rail to the airport providing a fast, clean and efficient link to Maroochydore and on to broader destinations within the region,” the draft plan read.

“Both heavy and light rail infrastructure is planned for the transformation of the region, and a connection to Sunshine Coast Airport is a critical link in the effective public transportation visions for the region.”

The report went on to stat that a prospective light rail service would provide direct flights to domestic and international destinations by offering seamless connections between Maroochydore CBD and the airport.