Draft WA State Infrastructure Strategy launched

The inaugural 20-year Western Australian State Infrastructure plan was launched on 21 July. Engineers Australia breaks down some of the recommendations and strategies set to shape investment decisions until 2042.
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In July 2019, the Western Australian Government established Infrastructure WA to provide advice and assistance to the state government on infrastructure needs and priorities for the short, medium and long-term.

Engineers Australia, as part of the Western Australian Infrastructure Coalition, played a role in advocating for and facilitating the creation of the independent statutory authority which has become Infrastructure WA.

One of Infrastructure WA’s primary tasks was to develop a state infrastructure strategy to cover a 20-year horizon, addressing future needs and emerging trends.

In 2020, as part of developing the strategy, Infrastructure WA released A Stronger Tomorrow –  State Infrastructure Discussion Paper and hosted a series of briefings and workshops as part of extensive public consultation.

Engineers Australia ran several workshops to inform our submission (PDF) to the discussion paper, including a youth forum co-hosted with the Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia.

Last week saw the release of the draft 20-year state infrastructure strategy, Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow. The draft provides a whole-of-state infrastructure outlook to ensure decision-making will be based on robust and evidence-based planning in a more holistic, collaborative environment.

The draft strategy addresses future challenges and opportunities and provides recommendations to maximise the value of every dollar spent by government. 

It also helps to provide businesses and industry with long term planning clarity by supporting emerging local industries, focusing on climate change, promoting the regions, and highlighting investment in training and education. 

Pathways to jobs, projects and programs that aim to improve services for Aboriginal communities and essential social services for all Western Australians are also included. 

The strategy provides 88 recommendations, of which around 75 per cent are non-build projects.

Infrastructure WA Chief Executive Officer Phil Helberg FIEAust CPEng acknowledged delivery of the draft would not have been possible without the collaboration from many of Western Australia’s business leaders, industry professionals, community representatives, government agencies, and trading enterprises.

“To develop a long-term outlook for the strategy, it has been necessary to review the current status of infrastructure planning and delivery in Western Australia as well as form a view on what the future needs and priorities of the state are likely to be,” Helberg said.

“We were lucky enough to be able to turn to many experts and professionals to test our analysis, and gain their valuable insight and feedback, and I would like to warmly thank them for their advice and support.” 

Helberg also noted consultation and advice from across the state helped to shape many of the central themes for the strategy.

“Themes that emerged during development of the strategy such as managing demand for infrastructure through early intervention, better coordinated planning through data collection and sharing and optimising the existing asset base before building new infrastructure underpin many of our recommendations.”

“There is also significant focus around helping to deliver improved health and housing outcomes, enterprise and opportunity for Aboriginal people, support for a renewable energy industry, diversifying our economic base, and addressing the impacts of climate change.” he said.

An eight-week consultation on the draft strategy is now underway, which includes more than 20 workshops and consultation sessions. Infrastructure WA will be visiting each of Western Australia’s 10 regions to discuss the draft as part of this consultation. Engineers are encouraged to register for the upcoming sessions.

Engineers Australia will be consulting with our volunteer technical groups and societies to inform our submission on the draft strategy. If you wish to contribute submission, contact [email protected]