The ACT Government’s updated Infrastructure Plan outlines their key priorities over the next five to 10 years, with new education facilities, healthcare and transport options at the fore.
The city’s ‘big three’ cultural and recreational infrastructure items – a new theatre, rectangular stadium and national convention centre – are all given priority in the document.
Between $100m and $250m is flagged for revitalising the Canberra Theatre precinct in the next five years, making it first cab off the rank.
A new rectangular sports stadium with a capacity of 25,000 and costing $250m-$500m, and a national convention centre, also priced at $250m-$500m, are flagged as longer term projects.
The plan mentions Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) at Mitchell as a potential space to house a future Canberra stadium.
“As EPIC is located on the light rail corridor, is also closer to the city centre and has larger sites available, it may be most beneficial to co-locate a new stadium with other exhibition and community facilities at EPIC,” it reads.
Healthcare facilities will be upgraded across Canberra to cater for the rapid growth in demand in recent years.
Current estimates suggest that between 2017-18 and 2031-32, the ACT’s public hospital admissions will rise by 53%.
Canberra Hospital will soon undergo significant expansion and renewal with the $500 million SPIRE project, while a broader campus modernisation program is a longer term project.
Improved and upgraded northside public hospital infrastructure and further expansion of mental health acute care facilities and services to meet demand will both be considered for funding over the next five years.
The future investments in education infrastructure outlined prioritise delivering new and expanded schools.
A key project is an entirely new CIT campus, with $100m-$250m appropriated to replace the existing CIT facility at Reid. Woden Town Centre is being considered as the location for the new campus.
A new high school at Kenny, Gungahlin; a P-6 School with Early Childhood in Whitlam, Molonglo; and Narrabundah College modernisation are all projects up for consideration in the next five years.
Walking, cycling and public transport are to take priority in the ACT’s future transport planning and investment.
Light Rail Stage 2, faster rail between Canberra and Sydney, and stronger freight links to better utilise Canberra Airport are all listed as priority transport projects over the next five years.
A spend of $150m-$300m establishing new bus depots in Tuggeranong, Mitchell and West Belconnen to support a zero emissions fleet is flagged as a longer term project.
Other longer term transport projects include: $250m-$500m on major intersection improvements in Gungahlin; $250m-$500m on infrastructure facilitating land releases for the new suburb of Whitlam in Molonglo; and $100m-$250m on Anzac Parade/Parkes Way grade separation.
The plan forecasts continued rapid population growth in Gungahlin, the Inner North and Molonglo.
It says the Molonglo region is now at the start of its growth curve and will add an estimated 25,000 people by 2029, while the Inner North’s strong growth will continue to accelerate as new housing supply is added along Northbourne Avenue and other parts of the CBD.