Infrastructure Priority List Overview 

Infrastructure priority list

infrastructure australia, infrastructure pipeline, Infrastructure Priority List, infrastructure projects,


Infrastructure Priority List Overview

The Infrastructure Priority List provides a credible pipeline of nationally significant proposals for governments at all levels to choose from. It provides evidence-based advice to help decision-makers identify Australia’s spending priorities and deliver the infrastructure most needed by Australian communities.

It is developed using independent research, including data from the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and more recent research and submissions from state and territory governments, industry and the community. This year’s Priority List drew on 124 new submissions since the last edition’s release in August 2020.

With a record number of projects added to this years Infrastructure Priority List, we have outlined the priority projects of focus for future infrastructure in Australia.

High Priority Projects

M12 Motorway

Location: Western Sydney, NSW

The M12 Motorway will be a new 16 km dual carriage motorway and is part of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan. It will connect the Westlink M7 Motorway to The Northern Road, a major north-south corridor and undergo a significant upgrade as a component of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

The motorway will have two lanes in each direction, a central median allowing future expansion to six lanes, and interchanges connecting The Northern Road, Western Sydney Airport and the M7 Motorway.

The project will also construct several bridges:

  • Across Kemps Creek, South Creek, Badgerys Creek and Cosgroves Creek
  • Across the M12 Motorway
  • Across the interchanges and other local roads.

The existing bridge across Ropes Creek and Villiers Road will also be widened. The M12 Motorway also includes active transport facilities and connections. Local networks will be modified to connect across and around the motorway.

Sydney Metro: City & Southwest

Location: Northern, central and south-western Sydney, NSW

This proposal is the second stage of the broader Sydney Metro project. It is a new 30 km metro line extension from the end of the Sydney Metro North West line at Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour, through new CBD stations and south-west to Bankstown. This includes new 15.5 km twin railway tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham and an upgrade of the existing T3 Bankstown Line to metro operations.

The project includes new underground metro stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street and Waterloo, and new underground metro platforms at Central Station. The project will increase rail capacity through the Sydney CBD, improve capacity and reliability on the rest of the rail network, and enhance the wider transport network’s resilience by delivering a second Harbour rail crossing.

Western Sydney Airport

Location: Western Sydney, NSW

Western Sydney Airport (now Western Sydney International) will be a full-service airport catering for domestic and international passengers and freight services, initially with a single 3,700 m runway capable of handling all aircraft and facilities for 10 million passengers per annum. Construction commenced in 2018, and the airport is scheduled to open in 2026.

Western Sydney International will be developed in stages as demand grows. A second runway is projected to be required around the 2050s. In the 2060s, the airport is expected to accommodate approximately 82 million passengers annually and become one of the largest gateways to Australia.

M80 Ring Road Upgrade

Location: Melbourne, VIC

The project proposes to complete three sections of the freeway that have yet to be upgraded.

These are:

  • Plenty Road to Greensborough Highway (2.4 km)
  • Princes Freeway to Western Highway (7.9 km)
  • Sydney Road to Edgars Road (4 km).

The project would widen the existing road to a minimum of three through-lanes in each direction, with auxiliary lanes between interchanges where required and implement Intelligent Transport Systems infrastructure priority.

Construction of the Sydney Road to Edgars Road section has commenced and is expected to be completed in 2023. The Plenty Road to Greensborough Highway section is delivered as part of the North East Link project due to the interface between the two projects.

North East Link

Location: North-east Melbourne, Vic

The North East Link project would create a new 11 km connection (including 5 km of three-lane twin tunnels) between the M80 Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough and the M3 Eastern Freeway Doncaster.

The project also includes:

  • Approximately 2.3 km of upgrades to the M80 and approximately 9.7 km of upgrades to the Eastern Freeway
  • Five new interchanges
  • Around 10.6 km of new bus lanes
  • Upgrades to Bulleen Road
  • New walking and cycling paths.

Implementing managed motorway technology on the Eastern Freeway will ensure the freeway integrates effectively with the North East Link and keeps pace with increasing traffic volumes and changing travel demands.

Brisbane Metro

Location: Brisbane, QLD

Brisbane Metro will involve a set of infrastructure and non-infrastructure changes to bus services in inner Brisbane.

The business case evaluated by Infrastructure Australia comprised removing key infrastructure priority bottlenecks on the busway network, including:

  • Designating Victoria Bridge as a green bridge and removing general traffic
  • Constructing a new underground station and a tunnel
  • Using longer, higher-capacity Metro vehicles with faster and easier boarding and alighting
  • Revised service patterns to increase the frequency and truncate lower-use services.

The project will complement Cross River Rail by providing interchange between the bus and rail networks at Boggo Road and Roma Street.

Priority Projects

Inland Rail

Location: Melbourne to Brisbane via inland NSW

The project involves developing a freight rail line of approximately 1,700 km between Melbourne and Brisbane via inland Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Around 40% of the proposed route would be constructed as a new railway or converted from narrow gauge to dual gauge in Queensland.

The remainder of the route would utilise and, where necessary, upgrade existing standard gauge track in Victoria and New South Wales. The project will be delivered to achieve the service specification of a less than 24-hour transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane for the benchmark train, being a 21-tonne axle load, 115 km/h double-stacked and up to 1,800 m long train. Trains operating the service would have the capacity to carry up to 485 containers (TEUs) when the capacity for longer 3,600 m, double-stacked trains are introduced over time.

Parkes Bypass

Location: Parkes, NSW

The business case is for a 10.5 km western bypass of Parkes, including bridges over existing railway lines, connections to the Parkes Special Activation Precinct, and upgrades to local roads. The project has an estimated capital cost of $175 million (P50, outturn costs) and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The project forms part of a broader work program and is strategically significant as the final section to be completed before High Productivity Vehicles can use the entire highway. Upgrading the Newell Highway is recognised as a Priority Initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List. The project also strongly supports the NSW Government’s Parkes Special Activation Precinct. It will improve access to the precinct and enable freight vehicles to access the Inland Rail at Parkes more easily. The project is also likely to enable more freight vehicles to use the Newell Highway, competing with Inland Rail for freight movements.

Port Botany Rail Line Duplication and Cabramatta passing Loop

Location: Sydney, NSW

The project will provide the capacity required to meet forecast rail demand generated by the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, Enfield Intermodal Terminal, the St Marys Intermodal Terminal (from 2022), and future terminals, including a site planned near Western Sydney Airport. The proposed construction timeframe aligns with the design and construction of the Sydney Gateway (road) Project, located adjacent to Sydney Airport.

Prospect Highway Upgrade

Location: Sydney, NSW

The project will upgrade a 3.6 km section of the Prospect Highway between Reservoir Road and St Martins Crescent, Blacktown. The upgrade will provide a minimum four-lane divided road with a variable width central median strip. Dedicated bus lanes will be provided between Lancelot Street and St Martins Crescent. In addition to the capacity expansion, the proposal also includes upgrading or altering 11 intersections and widening or adding new pedestrian and cycling paths (shared paths).

More Trains, More Services

Location: Sydney, NSW

This project is Stage 2 of the multi-stage More Trains More Services (MTMS) Program to increase rail capacity across the Sydney network. MTMS Stage 2 will include enabling works on the T4 line, including:

  • additional turnback capacity at Sydney’s Central Station
  • new crossovers at Erskineville and Hurstville
  • station capacity upgrades and platform lengthening.

On the T8 Airport Line, the project will upgrade signalling, increase train maintenance storage capacity, and provide station upgrades and traction power upgrades. In addition to the track and rail improvements, 17 eight-car double-deck suburban trains and 30 New Intercity Fleet cars will be procured. It is expected that the project will result in more services to provide more regular and reliable services on the T4 and T8 suburban lines. 

Gold Coast Light Rail

Location: Gold Coast, QLD

To address these issues, the Queensland Government proposes extending the existing Gold Coast Light Rail line from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads. This project, known as Stage 3A, would replace existing bus services between Broadbeach South and Burleigh Heads with light rail services and implement a complementary urban renewal and economic development strategy in the corridor.

The strategic case for the project is largely dependent on the realisation of urban renewal and increased urban density. Furthermore, the strategic case depends on the project’s ability to shift travel from cars to light rail. This typically requires the support of a proactive mode shift policy since travel times will be similar to existing bus services, even though light rail services should be more reliable and comfortable for passengers.

Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade

Location: Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, QLD

The proposed project is located on the North Coast Line between Beerburrum and Nambour stations. The project involves duplicating the 20 km section from Beerburrum to Landsborough, extending existing passing loops between Landsborough and Nambour, route realignments, level crossing removals, station improvements, park ‘n’ ride expansions and supporting works. The proposed upgrade would improve both passenger and freight services’ efficiency and take pressure off the Bruce Highway.

Peak Downs Highway Realignment

Location: North-east Queensland

The proposed Walkerston Bypass project includes a 10.4 km realignment of the Peak Downs Highway, from west of Walkerston to the Mackay Ring Road at Stockroute Road. In diverting traffic (including heavy and dangerous goods transport) away from Walkerston’s main street, the new bypass will increase freight capacity, more direct connectivity for large vehicles, increased flood resilience, improved freight efficiency, and safety amenity benefits for the residents of Walkerston.

The project also creates an opportunity for urban expansion in the regional townships of Walkerston, Mirani and Ooralea under the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Regional Plan (2012). The project has strong strategic merit. It will improve connectivity in the region and directly support the benefits from Stage 1 of the Mackay Ring Road, which is nearing completion.

Armadale Road Bridge

Location: Perth, WA

The Armadale Road Bridge proposal includes constructing a bridge over the Kwinana Freeway, with grade-separated intersections between Armadale Road and Solomon and Tapper roads.

Two lanes in each direction for free-flowing regional traffic will be constructed from west of the Armadale Road/Solomon Road intersection to east of the Armadale Road/ Tapper Road intersection.

The project also includes:

  • North facing on/off ramps and two-lane collector-distributor roads on both sides of the Kwinana Freeway from Berrigan Drive to Armadale Road.
  • Modifications to the existing Armadale Road/Ghostgum Avenue signalised intersection.
  • Modifications to the existing North Lake Road/Midgegooroo Avenue signalised intersection.
  • The two-lane collector-distributor road adjacent to the regional traffic lanes between the Armadale Road/Solomon Road intersection and the Armadale Road/ Tapper Road intersection.

Bindoon Bypass

Location: South-west WA

The proposed Bindoon Bypass would reduce vehicle kilometres travelled by enabling triple road trains to travel along the entire length of the corridor, thereby avoiding the need to stop and decouple at Wubin.

The proposed project area is 66 km in total length, including 61.6 km of new highway and 4.4 km of improvements to the existing highway. There is strategic merit for the project given the Great Northern Highway’s importance as a freight link between Perth’s metropolitan area and Australia’s northwest.


Location: Perth, WA

The project will implement an Automatic Train Control system using modern, radio-based, high-capacity Communications-Based Train Control technology on all three line groups of the Perth metropolitan railway network.

The scope of this project includes:

  • Replacing the existing ‘fixed block signalling system with a ‘moving block Communications Based Train Control system
  • Replacing the life-expired Automatic Train Protection system
  • Implementing Automatic Train Operation
  • Implementing Automatic Train Supervision and Regulation to replace the existing Train Control System.

The project also includes constructing a purpose-built Rail Operations Centre, a backup Signalling Equipment Room and an upgrade of the existing Alternate Train Control facility.

Myalup-Wellington water project

Location: South-west WA

The proposed project is located in the southwest of Western Australia, approximately 200 km south of Perth, east of Bunbury. The project comprises several integrated above and below dam components targeted at reducing salinity in Wellington Dam and the surrounding area and increasing the efficiency of water distribution infrastructure.

Bunbury Outer Ring Road

Location: Bunbury, WA

The Bunbury Outer Ring Road comprises a 27 km, four-lane, grade-separated dual carriageway highway at the outer edge of Bunbury, connecting the Bussell Highway to the Forrest Highway.

The project also consists of:

  • Grade separated interchanges at Forrest Highway (near Australind), Raymond Road, South Western Highway North, Wireless Road (Waterloo interchange), Willinge Drive, Lillydale Road and Bussell Highway (north of Lakes Road)
  • Grade separation at river crossings, rail crossings and local roads, including Clifton/Paris Road, South Western Highway, Boyanup-Picton Road
  • Construction of local access roads
  • Extension of Willinge Drive to South Western Highway.

Eyre Infrastructure Project

Location: Eyre Peninsula, SA

The 2015 business case proposed to develop a deep-water port at Cape Hardy and a 148 km heavy-haul, standard gauge rail connection between the mine and the port. The proposed infrastructure would be available for other users (‘open access’), including grain exporters and other miners in the region.

The new rail line could potentially be connected to the National Rail Network. Infrastructure Australia recommended the business case as an Infrastructure Priority Project, subject to the mine development proceeding.

In December 2019, the Australian Government committed $25 million towards developing and constructing the first stage of the Cape Hardy port. The Australian Government notes the Cape Hardy project will bring together agriculture, mining, renewable hydrogen, green manufacturing and indigenous business into a multi-user, multi-commodity manufacturing and export hub in South Australia.

University of Tasmania

Location: Hobart, TAS

The project would relocate the University of Tasmania’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology from the existing campus at Sandy Bay to a purpose-built facility for education, research and training in the Hobart CBD.

University of Tasmania

Location: Northern Tasmania

The proposed $300 million program includes relocating existing campuses in Launceston and Burnie to new inner-city locations with state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. It also includes the delivery of new types of degrees and courses that better meet the needs of students and industry, including associate degrees, bachelor degrees and short courses.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Upgrade

Location: Canberra, ACT

The proposed project will include structural upgrades required to meet relevant design standards for load capacity, traffic lane width, safety barriers, and active transport corridor width. Upgrading the bridge will also extend the design life by 50 years.

Other benefits include travel-time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, emissions savings and safety benefits for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. The bridge forms part of the corridor for the Canberra Metro light rail network’s planned extension, which could include a separate structure between the spans.

Read the full 2021 Infrastructure Priority List here. 

© Copyright, Commonwealth of Australia

^ Back to top