What you need to know about WA’s first 20-year infrastructure Strategy

Last month a 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy (the ‘Strategy’) for Western Australia was tabled in Parliament. The long-term infrastructure plan titled, ‘Foundations for a stronger tomorrow‘, is the first of its kind in WA.

Premier Mark McGowan said the Strategy will be critical to planning, managing and delivering infrastructure over the next two decades.

“The Strategy will help guide decisions on where Government’s limited funds should be invested in order to maximise economic, social and environmental benefits for Western Australians over the long term,” he said.

Here’s more on how the Strategy will impact planning and investment decisions up until 2042.

State-wide consultation

The Strategy is said to be the result of over two years of research and consultation conducted by Infrastructure WA. A wide-range of stakeholders were consulted in the process, including government, community and industry groups.

Infrastructure WA Chairperson Nicole Lockwood said the recommendations will assist with building a stronger, more diverse and resilient community, environment and economy for people within Western Australia.

“The input from public consultation was rich, insightful and informed the content of the final Strategy, and I would like to thank the community for their invaluable contribution and input throughout its development,” she said.

Recommendations within WA infrastructure strategy

The Strategy outlines 93 recommendations relating to infrastructure planning and investment in Western Australia, covering key issues such as:

  • Climate change and transitioning to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Making improvements to Aboriginal wellbeing and empowerment.
  • Improving digital connectivity within the State.

“We are already responding to many of the recommendations including cutting State Government emissions by 80 per cent by 2030, investing in a new desalination plant, planning for Westport and investment in the Emergency Department reform package,” McGowan said.

Initiatives within the Strategy

The draft Strategy was released in July 2021. Since then, the State Government has revealed a number of initiatives and investments that deliver on the recommendations, including:

  • 2030 emissions reduction target.
  • Extra funding for Westport planning.
  • New desalination plant located at Alkimos.
  • Reforms to housing ad land supply (including build-to-rent).
  • A Remote Communities Fund of $350 million.
  • Port upgrades to Lumsden Point.
  • Collie Transition Plan.
  • Investment in Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements.

Benefits to Western Australians

The Strategy underlines the need to manage demand for infrastructure, while ensuring infrastructure assets in WA are maximised. The ultimate goal of the Strategy is to ensure funds are invested as effectively as possible, so Western Australians reap long term social, environmental and economic benefits.

“Importantly, the Strategy highlights just continuing to build infrastructure is unaffordable and unsustainable and there should be a focus on managing demand,” McGowan said.

What’s next?

The State Government has six-months (from the time of tabling) to prepare a formal response to the recommendations within the Strategy.

“The Government will now consider the Strategy and provide a response to each of the recommendations within six months as required by the legislation,” McGowan said.

“The advice from Infrastructure WA is not binding and the Government’s response will outline the extent to which each recommendation is supported.”

Find out more

For more information on the Strategy, including a full list of recommendations head here. You can also download the full Strategy here.

If you’d like support with planning and development in WA, our team is happy to assist you. We deliver evidence-based planning and environmental solutions to clients in a range of sectors, including mining, government, agriculture, renewables and tourism.

We have been working with clients in Western Australia, including those in regional areas, since 2002. Over this time, we have built strong relationships with local and state Government bodies, which enables us to navigate the regulations that influence decision-making, and ensure your application has every opportunity for success.

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