Fresh eyes on East West with shift at IA
Big changes at Infrastructure Australia mean the group is yet to form an opinion on Melbourne’s multi-billion-dollar East West Link.
Infrastructure Australia (IA) welcomed a new executive board just last week, after some reforms to transition it to an independent statutory body.
As a statutory body, IS says it will continue to provide expert advice to governments on major infrastructure projects and policy.
Acting CEO, Mr John Fitzgerald, says that while the previous IA board thought the East West Link had some merit; the latest project information will require a fresh look from the new board.
“The last Infrastructure Priority List Update in December lists the East West Road Link as a project with real potential,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“Since publishing that update, Infrastructure Australia has received a full business case for stage one of the project and assessment is currently underway.
“Once assessment is completed and proper consideration is given by our new board, we will again update our prioritisation of this project.”
Mr Fitzgerald signalled a warning against the possibility that a change in government for Victoria would see the project scrapped.
“Historically, incoming governments have honoured the contracts of their predecessors, and a divergence from this established approach could adversely affect investor confidence,” he said.
“I will certainly monitor any changes to delivery of the East West Road Link very closely, and consider any subsequent changes to investment practices when preparing advice to the IA board on future projects.”
Meanwhile, the change to a statutory body means Infrastructure Australia is in the market for its first CEO.
IA Chairman, Mark Birrell, said the new Chief Executive would have the opportunity to help shape the nation's infrastructure future.
IA was recently commissioned by the Australian Government to develop a 15 year plan on Australia's current and future infrastructure needs.
It will advise on means of financing, delivering and operating infrastructure, and ideas for better planning and utilisation of infrastructure networks.