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New directorate to drive ACT’s major projects

Ian Bushnell 17 June 2019 18

Major Projects Canberra will deliver the next stage of light rail and other big pieces of infrastructure. Photo: George Tsotsos.

A new directorate will spearhead the delivery of significant infrastructure projects in the ACT from 1 July 2019.

Called Major Projects Canberra, the new directorate will deliver the Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre at Canberra Hospital, Light Rail Stage 2 and other big projects across the Territory.

It will be answerable to Chief Minister Andrew Barr, have an initial staff of about 140 but likely more as project delivery ramps up and could be based in Woden, although more scoping work needs to be done.

A Government spokesperson said it would be an expert infrastructure delivery team led by a Chief Projects Officer and reporting to the Head of Service and relevant Ministers.

“The Deputy Director-General of Transport Canberra, Duncan Edghill, will act in the Chief Projects Officer role while longer-term recruitment for this role is undertaken. The Chief Engineer will also play a key leadership role in the new body. It is likely there will be a series of roles advertised as some staff move between positions,” the spokesperson said.

It will be funded from existing resources, bringing together staff from Transport Canberra and City Services, Health and Treasury to centralise expertise across government to focus on planning, procurement and delivery.

The announcement comes as the Government prepares to release its 10-year ACT Infrastructure Plan in coming months, which will outline to the community and industry the city’s infrastructure priorities and emerging needs.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said $2.8 billion was committed to infrastructure projects over the next four years,

“As Canberra grows toward a city of 500,000 people, we are committed to investing in infrastructure that supports our community’s prosperity, liveability and social inclusion,” he said.

“Over the past few years we have stepped up our investment in services the entire Canberra Region relies on, with a new hospital and health facilities, new and expanded local schools, and integrated public transport options including the first stage of light rail.”

An artist’s impression of SPIRE, Canberra Hospital’s new surgical and emergency centre, expected to be completed in 2023-24.

Master Builders ACT, which has been calling for a long-term infrastructure plan for some time, welcomed the announcement of a dedicated delivery body for the Territory’s major projects.

CEO Michael Hopkins said the combination of it and the infrastructure plan would enable builders and contractors to gear up their businesses to be part of those major projects and hire more staff or train up existing employees to cope with the extra work.

It would also improve the ACT’s chances of attracting Federal Government funding for projects, by outlining its vision for the city and its needs.

With the current clamour for a new city stadium from the Raiders, Brumbies and some sections of the sporting community and media, a long-term plan would also prioritise Canberra’s needs and avoid piecemeal development.

“What a long-term infrastructure plan allows us to do is to map out the order and sequence that all of these priorities could be delivered in,” Mr Hopkins said.

“It’s not a question of a theatre or a stadium, over the long term we want a theatre and a stadium and light rail and a whole range of other infrastructure but until we move to a position where we’re planning our infrastructure over the longer term, we’ll otherwise end up in these sort of discussions around short-term priorities and that’s not the most effective way to deliver major infrastructure.”

Mr Hopkins called on the Government to release a draft infrastructure plan for public consultation so industry and the community could have input before it was finalised.

He said it was important that the social and community infrastructure the city needed was not forgotten.

“So it’s not only about the roads and bridges, and water pipes and sewer pipes but also the schools and the parks and open space and community facilities that are needed,” he said.

He also said the plan should also coordinate with the broader Canberra region on cross-border infrastructure.

“This is just part of Canberra maturing into a global city. We need to be planning our infrastructure over a much longer time frame, we need to be thinking about how we’re going to deliver these mega projects, because that’s what Canberra needs if it is to keep on growing  at the rate that it has been over the past five or ten years,” Mr Hopkins said.


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19 Responses to New directorate to drive ACT’s major projects
maxblues 3:31 am 18 Jun 19

The fact that they are putting this ‘Directorate’ together AFTER building the Gunga tramline, means that they made a multitude of mistakes (that they hope will remain a secret for a long time).

David Jackson David Jackson 11:57 pm 17 Jun 19

Its official, the inmates are running the asylum

Peter McArdle Peter McArdle 8:40 pm 17 Jun 19

There used to be such a “directorate”.

It was known as the National Capital Development Commission (aka NCDC).

Will this “directorate” be as competent as the NCDC or will it just pander to vested interests?

Paul Dowden Paul Dowden 6:48 pm 17 Jun 19

Will Rob Sitch be the first Director?

Iaian Ross Iaian Ross 6:48 pm 17 Jun 19

So, Directorates will manage ongoing costs that another Directorate will implement?

Those Directorates will essentially be phoning in what they want to this central Directorate to implement?

Why?

letterboxfrog 6:42 pm 17 Jun 19

"Nation Building Canberra."

Alan Rose Alan Rose 6:39 pm 17 Jun 19

They should build a tunnel for the light rail to woden

Louellyn Violet Louellyn Violet 6:37 pm 17 Jun 19

Yeah adding more people to the chaos, that’ll work

Yuri Shukost Yuri Shukost 6:22 pm 17 Jun 19

New stadium.

Pat Somers Pat Somers 6:19 pm 17 Jun 19

It will be awesome to see and hear the comments when construction begins on Stage 2...we are laughing now in Stage 1! Completed! Suffer Southsiders! Hahaha!

Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 6:15 pm 17 Jun 19

If the government is considering cutting down the trees on Commonwealth Ave, they need to re-think and find another route! After reading the report in today’s CT they have lied to the Govt committee regarding the age these historic trees live to. ACT bureaucrats said the trees were too old and would only live another 5 years max. In fact the experts report stated they would live 15 to 40 years! However many new trees the government are planting will not replace these beautiful old trees. When they stripped Northbourne Ave of the lovely trees, they created a barren landscape & it should not be repeated!

    Gerard Dwyer Gerard Dwyer 6:33 pm 17 Jun 19

    Andrea Lloyd, I'm the first o e to love trees. But I love native trees. Those eucalypts were not local, they were branch droppers and dangerous. What type of tree are the next ones to get chopped? I haven't looked, though I should have.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 8:07 pm 17 Jun 19

    Gerard Dwyer they are some of the first trees planted in Canberra, Cedars. They were planted around 1921 by Charles Weston.

    Dory Johns Dory Johns 8:13 pm 17 Jun 19

    Have you noticed that everything this ACT govt wants to destroy they claim to be past its use-by date. They say it loud and often and people don’t check the veracity of their claims. On the basis of their logic the Sydney and Melbourne buildings are well overdue for demolition. That would solve the dilemma of who is actually responsible for the external maintenance.

Anthony Gillies Anthony Gillies 6:05 pm 17 Jun 19

Heh heh!

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