The 2021-22 State Budget has delivered a $30.7 billion infrastructure program over the next four years, designed to continue a pipeline of infrastructure work beyond the current boom.
At the height of the pandemic last year, it was estimated the Western Australian economy would go backwards by 8.1 per cent due to COVID-19; instead WA has had the fastest growing economy, which has created significant local workforce and skills shortages.
It is evident that with the strength of the local economy, and with COVID-19 restrictions across the world, government projects are competing for the same resources as the private sector, including workers, equipment and supplies, adding to project pressures.
As a result, following extensive industry consultation and the Skills Summit hosted by the State Government in July, a review of the Asset Investment Program (AIP) was conducted to ensure a sustainable pipeline of works that promotes greater certainty, industry confidence, training and job security.
In respect to several transport projects, industry specifically requested some projects be smoothed out for these reasons.
As a result, the cross-government review, in consultation with industry, has resulted in
$506 million in 2021‑22 of infrastructure investment smoothed over the forward estimates and $565 million worth of investment being smoothed beyond the next four years.
As part of the AIP Review, several project schedules were adjusted to suit the current economic conditions, including:
- Casuarina Prison Expansion Stage 2 completion deferred from late 2023 to late 2024;
- Tonkin Highway Grade Separations – Welshpool Road and Hale Road – deferred 12 months, completion now expected in mid-2025;
- Tonkin Highway-Kelvin Road Grade Separation deferred two years, completion now expected in 2025‑26;
- Roe Highway-Great Eastern Highway Bypass including Abernethy Road – timing of works adjusted, no expected material delay to 2024 completion date;
- Manuwarra Red Dog Highway Stage 4 delivery timeframe extended one year (supporting Aboriginal employment), completion now expected in 2024-25;
- Great Northern Highway-Bindoon Bypass (new alignment) works deferred two years, completion now expected in 2026;
- Reid Highway grade separations at Altone Road, Daviot/Drumpellier Drive, and West Swan Road deferred one year, completion now expected in 2026;
- Balga TAFE upgrade deferred one year, completion now expected in mid-2024;
- Armadale TAFE campus deferred one year, completion now expected in mid-2024;
- Joondalup Light Auto Workshop deferred one year, completion now expected in mid‑2024;
- Albany TAFE upgrade deferred one year, completion now expected in mid-2024;
- Muresk New Trades Workshop deferred five months, completion now expected in early 2023;
- Thornlie-Cockburn Link deferred one year, operations now to commence in late 2024;
- Yanchep Rail Extension deferred one year, operations now to commence in late 2023;
- Port Hedland Spoilbank Marina deferred one year, completion now expected in 2022‑23;
- Geraldton Finfish Nursery deferred one year, completion now expected in mid‑2023.
The State Government has also allocated $15.6 million to establish a Major Projects Directorate in the Department of Finance to help drive a number of other infrastructure projects, including projects funded as part of the WA Recovery Plan and other important election commitments.
Source: Government of Western Australia