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Australian Infrastructure Industry News for January 2019

Posted by: Paul Harris
Industry News

Sydenham-Bankstown metro conversion receives the green light to go ahead

Planning approval for the conversion of the existing rail line between Sydenham and Bankstown has now been granted. As part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest Project, the railway will be converted into a modern retro standard and a new underground train line between Chatswood and Sydenham via the Sydney CBD will be implemented by utilizing the existing corridor from Sydenham to Bankstown. Work is estimated to begin early in 2019.
The John Holland/Laing O’Rourke joint venture has been appointed to undertake early works along the line where work will soon begin to upgrade, prepare and make all stations accessible. Future work will include upgrades to stations, tracks, signals and new designs for upgraded stations. Works at the Sydenham station to install a rail crossover will mean that Sydney’s existing train services will not be impacted by the conversion process.


However, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has criticised the project. Alex Claassens, RTBU state secretary, said: “This is just another example of this Liberal Government putting their own privatisation ideologies ahead of commuter interests. The construction of the metro line is just a permit for overdevelopment in an area that is already suffering from congestion, and the metro won’t help that at all. If commuters think it’s gridlocked now, it’s only going to become worse when this heavy rail is removed and privatised. Tax payer money would’ve been far better spent by upgrading and extending our current rail network, not ripping it up.”  Full story


$407m solar farm by Edify Energy approved in Griffith, New South Wales

Australian energy giant Edify Energy recently had their 275 MW solar project in Griffith, New South Wales, approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE). The project will be situated near Darlington Point and will consist of between 800,000 and 1 million solar panels. The project is worth around $407m and is expected to generate around 577 GWh of clean electricity each year to 130,000 households in New South Wales.
Clay Preshaw, DoPE Resource Assessments Director, stated: “The project has been assessed on its merits, under planning legislation and clear official policies to consider any potential benefits or impacts to the environment, the economy and the community.”
The project will employ around 300 people once the peak of the project is underway. According to a fact sheet released by the company, Edify Energy expects to provide local employment opportunities as part of the benefits of the project. The project will also contribute to the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target of 33 TWh of electricity production from renewable sources by 2020.  Full story


Australian energy trends could lead to a future of 100% renewable energy sooner than most people think

Energy trends in the Australian electricity system could lead the country to a future of 100% reliance on renewable energy sooner than most people think. This is due to more action being taken to reduce reliance on non-renewable sources of energy, the potential introduction of rental solar panels, community awareness of renewable energy projects and clean energy elections.
The Victorian and South Australian governments recently announced policies to provide over 50,000 rental properties with access to solar energy, marking small but meaningful steps towards a trend of solar energy usage. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency also funded $22m worth of renewable hydrogen projects. The 16 projects are aimed at driving down costs and to create a supply chain of renewable hydrogen-based energy.  Full story


$1B lithium processing plant by Earthworks commences

The construction of a $1B lithium processing plant by Earthworks in Western Australia has commenced. The project will create hundreds of jobs and provide many benefits to thousands of local businesses. Once completed, the plant is expected to be the largest lithium plant in Western Australia. The $1B development is owned by US company Albemarle and it’s expected to provide around 500 construction jobs with another 500 permanent positions at the plant once it’s operational.
Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said: “We know there is growing demand for lithium around the world and also locally, particularly in areas such as energy storage and this presents huge future opportunities for Australia’s lithium industry. We’re the world’s largest lithium producer and there is significant potential to grow investment in infrastructure at various stages within the value chain such as lithium processing.”
The Federal Government is also focused on supporting the development of the lithium sector. Matthew Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, said: “This is a huge opportunity for us. With the right policies we can advance our industry further up the value chain to become the world’s leading supplier of high-grade lithium components — creating new jobs and opportunities for Australians.”  Full story


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